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Monday, October 11, 2010
In perennial sunny Singapore,we don't get to witness the wonders of changing seasons. We miss out the thrills of watching leaves budding from bare branches, the harvesting of raspberries followed by strawberries and blueberries(not sure if I get the sequence right)in spring, the abundance of stone fruits and grapes in summer and the dawning of figs,chestnuts and clementines in winter... As I do get to travel quite extensively for work all over Asia, I have become quite accustomed to ask my colleagues 'what is in season now?'. As such, I have programmed at the back of my mind... to look out for Alfonso Mangoes in India in April- May, Strawberries in Japan/Korea in January, Peaches and grapes in Japan/Korea in August.
Then of course, we are lucky to be in the 'middle' of the globe - hence when the northern hemisphere starts to bundle up for winter, Australia and New Zealand wake up to pour in their vibrant spring/summer crop for us to enjoy... So now, it is Strawberries bumper time, thanks to imports from Australia!
It was more than a week ago before I left for Sydney that I spotted these plump and beautiful chestnuts from Japan. They have been left in the fridge all this while and I knew that I cannot afford to dither any longer, lest they all start to perish away. I chose to use them for a basic dish that I felt would least alter the taste of the chestnuts. Kurigohan or Chestnut rice is a simple Japanese rice dish that is simply seasoned and cooked with chestnut. I had wanted this to be a simple one pot dish for dinner and decided to add a little more flavour to it by mixing in some deep fried silver fish.
My Japanese friends would probably reprimand me for contaminating the simple sweet taste of the Kurigohan with shots of strong flavour from the silver fish but for my Singaporean taste buds, the combination worked out well and I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner...
(Roasting chestnuts though, was not fun. I did not know when to take the chestnut out of the oven and once it was out, I burnt my fingers trying to peel off the shell.... I would just use ready cooked chestnuts when I cook this next time...)
Silver Fish 100g (Deep fried in oil until golden brown.Drain)
Japanese short grain rice 320g(I used short-grained brown rice)
Short grain glutinous rice 150g (soaked in water overnight)
Dark Soy Sauce 2 Tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Mirin 2 Tbsp
Dashi Stock 500ml
1. Use a knife, etch a cross on the flat portion of the chestnut.Roast chestnut in oven at 220C for 20 mins with etched face up. When roasted, the etched lines will split and 'flower'.
Peel off the shell while the chestnuts are still hot.
2. Wash short grained rice and glutinous rice over running water. Place rice in a rice cooker. Add dashi,soya sauce,salt and mirin. Add roasted chestnut and cook in rice cooker until done.
3. Before serving, sprinkle with sesame seeds (typically, black sesame seeds are used, I used white sesame seeds).
4. Serve with a spoonful of crispy silver fish.