I have a friend who believes everything in life runs on a circular pattern. She says one thing will often lead us in a circle to another. I think I kind of had that experience today:
My friend M sent me a message on Facebook today that kind of made me chuckle. She asked me if I have come up with a recipe that recreates the sauteed longbeans we had a Kinjo Sushi House for her birthday. Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways. Last year I made a recipe for a work potluck called Japanese Mum's Chicken. It's delicious and the chicken is cooked in a soy sauce based mixture that eventually becomes a rich thick glaze that coats the chicken with deliciousness. My friend D asked for the recipe about two weeks ago so she could make it for her boyfriend and I forgot to send it to her. So this afternoon I sent it off to her through Facebook (I am on Facebook way too much when I have a weekend to myself!). And I after I had sent it, I kept reading and re-reading the recipe.
Why? Because it got me me thinking that the longbeans M and I had at Kinjo were in a very similar glaze. I figured the beans had more sesame oil and garlic in their glaze than my chicken recipe...and that there was some ginger incorporated into the glaze that wasn't present in my chicken recipe. But I figured I could play with the glaze/sauce and see how I did. I had a huge bag of fresh green beans (they are my favourite vegetable and any time I see them in the store, I buy at least a pound) in the fridge, just waiting for me to do so something with them....why not coat them in soy/sesame/garlic/ginger goodness.
So to start with, here's the chicken recipe:
Japanese Mum's Chicken
8 chicken drumsticks, skin on ( the skin is important for flavour, and is so tasty to eat!)
1 cup water
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
1 small hot chili pepper, slit open, seeds removed
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove any scum that rises to the surface. Increase the heat, turning the drumsticks frequently in the liquid, and cook until the liquid has reduced to a sticky glaze. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter, remove the garlic clove and chili from the liquid, and spoon the glaze over. NOTE It's a glaze rather than a sauce, so there's not a whole lot of it.
My tweaks: I replaced the chicken drumsticks with 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
I used red pepper flakes (about 1/2 tsp) instead of a fresh chili pepper. I also then left the breasts in the pan, put them in the fridge, and then sliced them up and served them cold at the potluck....they were yummy. I have done them for the Beau as an entree, and they are just as delicious served hot. And this recipe is good for making sticky delicious chicken wings too!
By the way, I would never make and serve these recipes together at the same meal...even using reduced sodium soy sauce, there's too much sodium in one sitting for me (and you too no doubt). But I played around making the sauce a couple of times until I thought I was pretty close. I figured out right away that I didn't need the water, and that the beans will cook very nicely in the glaze. I steamed a half cup of rice, seared scallops and did the beans. I also made a very simple salad of spring greens dressed with a very light sesame/ginger dressing to keep with the oriental theme. Yummy.
M, I think these are pretty darn close to the Kinjo beans:
Sauteed Green Beans
(I didn' t have long beans, so I just used regular green beans...just as good)
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
3 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Place the green beans in a large saucepan or pot with one inch of water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 3 minutes, 4 minutes tops - they should still be very firm and bright green. (well blanched is the effect I think works best). You could steam them in steamer as well...just keep them very very tender-crisp.
In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, grated ginger and sugar; set aside. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it starts to brown. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and beans. Let the beans and glaze simmer uncovered for a couple of minutes until the sauce reaches the consistency of a glaze. Watch it carefully to ensure it does not burn. The beans should be cooked until just tender, so if they are cooked to the right "doneness, " but the sauce is not a thick glaze consistency, remove them and let the sauce cook to a rich glaze. Then add the beans back to the pan to coat them in its yummy goodness. Transfer the beans to a serving dish and pour the glaze over them.
M, you will have to try this and see if I am close to Kinjo's beans. I hope so!! You had no idea when you sent that message that when I sent my response that I hadn't cracked it yet, but was working on it...that I mean that quite literally!!!!