Most people think the Japanese eat sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Fact is, most of their diet is something entirely different. Like iri iri pan pan for example: rice, beef, eggs and peas. It's a super easy dish which has an undertone of sugary sweetness crashing with the crunchy peas. - Served very hot it would be an ideal winter lunch in a log cabin far up in the central snowy Honshu mountains.
I found the recipe in my fave Japanese cookbook by Naomi Moriyama which I've talked about before in my Japanese Diet post. If you want to cook more Japanese stuff, go get it now, it's such a basic, easy and inspiring book.
Here's what you need:
IRI IRI PAN PAN
Serves 4 people
1 spoon of raps or rice oil
6 large eggs
2 tsp sugar
A little salt
500 g finely ground low fat beef
2 spoons of sake
1 spoon of sugar
1 spoon of soy sauce
A pinch of salt
8 sugar peas
1 liter of steamed white or brown rice
Start by cracking the 6 eggs into a bowl. These are not very large actually, but it's what I had in the fridge. I'm still waiting for my parents' new chickens to start laying big, organic delicious eggs (the old ones were eaten by the local fox. That's life out in the country side).
Beat well with the sugar.
Add a spoon of oil to a small pan/casserole, over medium heat.
When the oil's warm and flowy, pour the beaten eggs into the pan.
Start stirring immediately and keep stirring for 2 minutes or until the eggs start getting firm.
Add the salt and stir again, still on medium heat.
Whip until it's evenly warmed/fried in small pieces and remove from heat. Done!
Let's do the meat now. But before we fry it, I'm gonna mix the wet stuff. Always good to prepare for later when the kitchen is steaming and your hair catches on fire due to messy operations.
So, two spoons of sake:
One spoon of soy sauce:
And one spoon of sugar:
Stir well and set aside.
Now, rewind back in time to where you started to beat your eggs. You should be starting on the meat as well so you can serve your dish completely warm and freshly made and not wait 10 minutes for the get to finish while the eggs are getting cold.
I tried to remove the on sale sticker as I thought it looked cheap and embarrassing... but hey - a good deal is a good deal, right? This meat was fresh and on sale for $5 for 400g.
Looks good and meaty! I don't think I've had beef for several months... I'm slowly becoming a vegetarian without realising it.
Add a spoon of oil to a now larger pot on medium heat.
Add the meat.
Stir well with a wooden spoon.
And add the soy mixture--if you can find your way through the steam, that is.
A nice smell hovers around in the kitchen. Lava pit.
I add some black pepper since Japanese cooking can sometimes be slightly invisible in taste. Moriyama-san from the book would scratch the tastebuds off my tongue with a steel brush in pure female fury, but I'm Danish and need flavour.
Almost there. Stir while cooking to avoid meat sticking together, you want evenly cooked bits.
While the meat is simmering, boil the sugar peas to remove any unwanted pesticides or bacteria.
Chop into long slices.
By now you should hopefully have prepared freshly steamed rice in your rice cooker. But since I eat rice for all meals 3 times a day I can't be bothered to wash, rinse, cook and steam rice every single day. About three times a week I steam as much as I can fill into my rice cooker and then I wrap the whole batch in plastic wrap and stick it into the freezer.
For every meal I just take one rice brick from the freezer, remove the wrap and place it in a plastic microwave friendly container.
If I keep the wrap on it will melt into the rice due to the extreme heats. And if I pour the rice in a Japanese ceramic rice bowl from the beginning, the bowl will crack after a few weeks again due to the fast and furious temperature changes during the nuking.
Ok, all part dishes should be ready now, let's assemble the troops.
Each guest/family member/invisible make believe ghost friend should have a good, well-proportioned bowl.
First, place rice on the bottom of the bowl. Even out the surface with a wet, wooden spoon.
Place eggs on one side and beef on the other.
And then finally the sliced sugar peas in the middle.
Delicious! Sweet, soft and crunchy--and perfect for a basic meal for yourself. If served for guests I'd recommend very small portions as it's a very filling dish.
Mastering this recipe means to have all the four parts ready to combine into one dish while it's all warm and steaming. That's basically how all food should be served. There's nothing worse than friends serving you a lukewarm dinner.
Since this recipe was for 4 people, I ate half of the dish above for lunch and will save the other half for dinner later. There's even some eggs/meat left, so I'll freeze that too for another day.
For dessert: coconut/lemon cupcake.
ALWAYS leave room for dessert.
Life is just too short to not eat dessert.