The Zen Kitchen by Adam Liaw is published by Hachette Australia, $49.99
THE JAPANESE TERM FOR THIS STYLE OF MARINATING FRIED FOODS IN VINEGAR
IS NANBANZUKE, WHICH MEANS ‘SOUTHERN BARBARIAN’. IT’S A TERM THAT WAS USED
TO REFER TO THE PORTUGUESE SAILORS WHO CAME TO JAPAN TO TRADE AROUND THE
16TH CENTURY AND INTRODUCED THEM TO DISHES LIKE ESCABECHE AND TEMPURA.
IT MAY NOT BE A POLITE TERM, BUT THE STYLE IS DELICIOUS.
SERVES 4 PREPARATION TIME 20 MINS COOKING TIME 15 MINS, PLUS 15 MINS MARINATING TIME
150ml Bonito Stock (page 30)
100ml rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 small carrot, cut into fine matchsticks
2 thick spring onions, cut into fine matchsticks
1 stalk celery, cut into fine matchsticks
1 dried red chilli, cut into rings
500g salmon fillets, scaled and pinboned
2 tbsp potato starch or cornflour
About 2 cups oil, for shallow frying
1 Combine the stock, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar and stir to
dissolve the sugar. Transfer the vinegar mixture to a deep tray and
scatter with the vegetables and chilli.
2 Cut each salmon fillet into thirds lengthways. Dust the salmon
pieces lightly in the potato starch, shaking off any excess.
3 Pour oil in a frying pan or saucepan to a depth of about 1cm
and heat to 180°C. Fry the salmon pieces in batches for about
3 minutes each side until cooked through. Transfer each batch
directly from the oil to the vinegar mixture as it cooks and place
a few of the soaked vegetables on top of the salmon. The salmon
pieces don’t need to be completely submerged but it does help
to turn them occasionally and you may want to prop up one side
of the tray to collect the liquid at the other side. Marinate the
salmon for at least 15 minutes and serve.
This is also great as a preparation for chicken. Just cut the pieces
quite small and shallow-fry them in a little more oil.
THIS STOCK IS MADE BY SIMPLY INFUSING WATER WITH THE TASTE OF DRIED BONITO FLAKES.
MAKES 750ML PREPARATION TIME 2 MINS COOKING TIME 10 MINS
20g bonito flakes
Alternatively, instead of straining, you can wrap the bonito flakes in a small piece of muslin and tie into a parcel before adding to the boiling water.
1 Bring the water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan. Add the
bonito flakes and boil for 2 seconds. Turn off the heat and allow
the bonito flakes to sink to the bottom of the pot without stirring.
Carefully skim any scum from the surface of the stock then strain
the stock through a muslin-lined sieve. Cool to room temperature
then keep in the fridge for up to a week.