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epicure 31 August 2010
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How does one master modern Japanese dishes? It’s easy when you have ex-Nobu alumni, executive chef Shigeru Akashi giving pointers.

The conventional way to cook gyozas is to just deep-fry them until fully cooked, but Akashi says preparing them this way will only make them lose the juiciness you get from steaming. His secret? Cooking it thrice¾once in water and twice in oil. This is done by pan-frying the wrapped gyozas in a non-stick pan, then steaming them in the same pan, and when the water has evaporated, frying the little bundles again, by drizzling sesame oil into the pan.

As sugar tends to burn more quickly when cooked over direct heat, Akashi says melting the shiromiso, sugar, sake and mirin ingredients over a bain marie for a seabass marinade is best, as the paste will not burn so easily during cooking. The delicious mixture can be used for other meats like kurobuta pork and as a topping for steamed bean curd, or to sauté eggplants.

But don’t skimp on marinating time, he says. Two days is needed to marinate the seabass to achieve the classic ‘taut’ texture associated with miso marinated fish. The long marinating time also ensures that the seabass fully takes on miso’s mellow and sweet flavours. “After two days, the high water content will be drawn out by the salt in the miso paste, and the miso flavours are steeped in,” says Akashi.

A tip from the chef: to get rid of fishy smells, sprinkle salt over the seabass, chill the fish and then wash off the salt. This works well for salmon or cod fish too, especially the frozen varieties. “

Excerpt from September issue of epicure.

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