Whee! Japan is fun. Japanese food is also fun. And I am slowly, slowly immersing myself, like at the swimming pool. I'm probably in up to about my ankles so far.
So yes... I'm working for a company that apparently pays pretty poorly, but it's still the most money I've ever earned, because it is full-time work, plus through the company I've met a heap of great people, plus the company organises housing and car lease, and places for me to teach, and a bit of extra security for when I do stupid stuff or if something goes wrong. So I don't mind too much about the pay.
The foreigner community is great, too. I'm probably at just the right age to appreciate the sort of stuff that happens... one such being a cooking club, whose inaugural session I was lucky enough to attend.
We made nikujaga, which means 'meatpotato' or maybe more like 'meatpota' because 'potato' is 'jagaimo' ... and which is better than its name. My next door neighbour calls it Japanese soul food.
And I made it tonight! OISHIIIIII!!!!! (delicious/yum)
I also made the kind-of-pickled cabbage/cucumber salad that we made at the cooking club, and it was also oishii. Cut some cabbage and cucumber. Put on a bit of salt and maybe a tiny bit of granulated dashi. Squash a bit.
Nikujaga - serves 2 people
200g sliced beef (or pork)
1/2 carrot (I used 1)
Snow peas (if you can afford them. I didn’t bother.)
1 cup water
½ tsp granulated dashi
1 ½ tbsp sake (we had US tablespoons, i.e. 1 tbsp = 15ml)
1 ½ tbsp sugar
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
Peel the potatoes and cut into 8ths.
Blanche snow peas. Set aside. (Or just chuck them in a minute before the end, that’s what I would do.)
Slice carrot into rolling wedges. Cut the onions in half. Cut each half into 3 wedges. Cut the meat bits in half.
Fry meat until brown. Add carrots, onion and potatoes. Cook until potatoes become opaque.
Add dashi, water, sake and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, covered.
Add soy sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes or so to reduce the soup. Add snow peas and cook for about another minute.
Serve with rice, and cabbage salad. Itadakimasu!