If my math is right, I ended up making 62 different Japanese dishes. Wow! Here they are:
Noodles, Soups, and Noodle Soups:
Miso Ramen (plus Chashu, Soy-Marinated Eggs, and Ramen Stock)
Kare Udon with Katsu
Negamaki (Note, these fell apart terribly so I didn’t actually end up blogging them)
-Ramen is kind of a hassle to make (not entirely news to me since I’d done shio before, but still). Definitely spread out the labor over a few days if you can.
-Matsutake mushrooms, lotus root, and tofu rule. Also, Japanese breakfast is my favorite breakfast.
-Not surprising: that noodles and soups were the most frequent dishes to show up in the rotation. Somewhat surprising: that I ended up making five types of Japanese pickles and four types of curry.
-I knew dashi, mirin, soy, etc. were important to Japanese cuisine but perhaps didn’t understand what core building blocks they were to so many dishes.
-Great sources for recipes: Just One Cookbook (probably my #1 resource), my cookbooks “Japanese Soul Cooking” and “Tokyo Cult Recipes” (I have other Japanese cookbooks, but these were the best), and Harumi’s “Japanese Mini Kitchen” series on NHK. I made a handful of Serious Eats and Japanese Cooking 101 recipes, too, and worked in a few other sources as well.
-MVP Dishes: The dishes I actually made multiple times during the challenge: kara-age, nishyoku don, tuna tataki, Japanese salt pickles, grilled shitakes (once by John), Japanese breakfast, ponzu salmon, dashi. My overall favorite recipe, though, was probably the tantanmen. The omurice was also a show-stopper.
-Least successful recipes: Miso-marinated salmon (eh), Green tea rice (we didn’t really eat it, though I bet there’s a better recipe out there), negamaki (fell apart).
-My Japanese pantry and fridge have reached epic, yet ridiculous proportions (“well, of course I need two different colors of sesame paste, OBVI”). I also am now the proud owner of everything from a daikon grater to multiple drop lids, thanks to my husband who encouraged this hobby (especially during the Christmas season).
-Dishes I really wanted to make but didn’t get around to it (yet!): croquettes (though John made them one night), tako yaki (I even bought the pan!), somen, kaki age. I’d hoped to work on my rolled omelet, which I haven’t really mastered yet, but never got around to it. I didn’t make much in the way of sushi (though I’ve done maki rolls a few times before this year), but I honestly find it a hassle so I’m not shocked that I slacked here.
Such a fun challenge! I definitely discovered that Japanese cooking will remain a hobby long after 2017.