Pan seared salmon: Trial 1

I bought a piece of salmon fillet from Fairprice about a week back, so it seemed like a good time to try my hands on cooking it. As far as possible I avoid any recipes that require baking because I would like to somewhat master stove cooking before moving on to the oven (also it would mean one extra appliance to clean).

Pan seared salmon requires two components: the salmon fillet, and the pan sauce. For the former, I followed instructions here till the point where both sides of the fillet were cooked. I skipped the sake, and opted to drizzle the pan sauce on top of the plated fillet instead of directly in the pan.

For the pan sauce, I followed a garlic soy sauce recipe found here, which asked for the following:

  1. 2 cloves chopped garlic
  2. 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 1/4 cup water
  4. 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  5. 2 tablespoons brown sugar

As part of my latest mantra to not further choke up the pantry with new items, I replaced the lime with lemon and the brown sugar with granulated (white) sugar. The pan sauce turned out quite well! The lemon taste was a little unsettling, but in a good way. All in all a very good sauce recipe.

Stray observations:

  • I seared the salmon skin side first. After 4 minutes, I flipped it over and found to my horror the skin was completely charred! Luckily it was easily removed, and the meat under the skin was cooked to perfection. So I surmise either the fire was too strong or I should have flipped after 3 minutes instead.
  • I tried to find the most even salmon fillet, but the best I could manage was one with a fat end that tapered off at the other end. The inner meat at the fat end was not cooked evenly as the rest of the fillet, but it was still cooked nonetheless.
  • Had problems with thawing again. Had to do another water bath. Why can’t I get this right?!
  • Most of the angmoh recipes opt for lemon butter sauce. I don’t have dried parsley, so I went with garlic soy sauce instead. I shall try lemon butter sauce one day, maybe with cod fillet.
  • Angmohs seem to like crispy fish? I’ve been watching their salmon videos on YouTube and their fillets always turn out drier and crispier than Asian versions. It seems to me they are overcooking, but what do I know.

Butadon: Trial 1

Mondays have become the designated late dinner day of the week because A has badminton with his pals and I have recently signed up for yoga classes at the nearby community club. We reach home at around 8pm, so homecooked dinner has to be quick and simple.

This week I decided to serve butadon (pork rice bowl) and chilled tofu. I feel bad subjecting A to chilled tofu whenever I’m too busy to cook anything else, but it really is the easiest to prepare. 😦

I thought I should start recording down my experiments, so I’d know where and how I can improve, so here goes:


Ingredients for butadon (and chilled tofu)

  1. Cooked rice
  2. Shredded cabbage
  3. Scallions
  4. Pork slices
  5. Pork marinade
  6. Egg (as a topping)
  7. Tofu
  8. Sesame dressing

Directions

As much as possible, I followed the directions on this YouTube video. The problem though was that my yoga class started at 7pm, so I had to do most of the preparatory work before I left for class. I did the following:

  1. Cooked rice: As per clockwork my trusty Zojirushi rice cooker always displays 57 minutes, so I started cooking at about 5:45pm. Many people do not know this but once the rice is cooked you need to toss it around in the pot to prevent clumping before you use the “Keep Warm” function. The rice was ready at about 6:45pm, I tossed the rice gently by bringing the rice to the centre, and then left the lid on.
  2. Shredded cabbage: This was the first time I was chopping cabbage, so I had some difficulty finding the right method. Eventually I managed to shred half a cabbage, I gave it a 15 minutes ice bath, drained and then stored inside the fridge.
  3. Scallions: Chopped, rinsed and then stored inside the fridge.
  4. Pork slices: Brought it down from the freezer to defrost since noon, at about 5pm I realised it was still rather frozen, so I sealed the pork slices in a Ziplock bag and gave it a water bath. When it was thoroughly thawed, I poured the water away, and then left the pork slices on the counter (still in the Ziplock bag)
  5. Tofu: I also prepared the chilled tofu by draining the excess water out. I wrapped the tofu with two layers of kitchen towels, placed it on a plate and stuck the plate in the fridge. Balanced a packet drink on the top of the tofu (well to be exact, on top of the kitchen towel) to help press out the excess water.

When I returned home at 8pm, I did the following:

  1. Pork marinade: I had bought a bottle of butadon marinade, so it was a matter of following instructions. Simply add water to marinade, and it’s done!
  2. Pork slices: Cooked the pork slices and then marinated them as per the video above.
  3. Eggs: I wanted to try onsen tamago, but given the lack of time and the high failure rate, I decided to do soft boiled eggs instead. I’ve gotten pretty good at it! In my previous trial I followed this recipe which recommended 7/3 minutes, but upon advice from the sister, I changed the timing to 6/6 minutes instead and the eggs turned out perfect!
  4. Plating the butadon: I scooped rice into a bowl, topped it with the shredded cabbage, followed by the pork slices, and then some scallions. I decided to serve the eggs separately.
  5. Plating the tofu: I removed the kitchen towels, sliced the tofu into cubes, drizzled sesame dressing and topped with scallions.

Stray observations:

  • Half a cabbage was too much for 2 persons! I ended up with a bloated stomach because cabbage causes bloating 😦
  • I have yet to master the art of thawing. I would like to be able to thaw perfectly without resorting to a water bath.
  • I feel somewhat hypocritical using store bought sauces (the pork marinade and the sesame dressing), but it’s just too much effort starting from scratch
  • I followed the pork marinade instructions to the T but somehow the pork didn’t turn out as brown as I would have liked. Something’s not quite right, I shall figure it out.