reishabu, mk II: twice as nice.

i’d like to think most food bloggers would agree that often times, your first try is never your best.  some of the great food bloggers i read regularly don’t try to pretend they are perfect.  when they botch a meal, they write about how they botched it and what they will do next time.  mistakes, after all, are how we learn to cook.

after all, what is the point of writing recipes if you can’t revise them?  if you really love a food, i find the best thing to do is to cook it often and gradual refine it.  evaluate the recipe and isolate the parts you like and the parts you don’t.  replace some ingredients to make it more cost effective, faster to cook, or more impressive in appearance.

i’ve talked about reishabu as one of my favorite salads of all time on pmk (you can find the mark I recipe here), and as such i owed it to myself to give it another go.  normally, i just make a large portion for myself, but on this particular occasion, i happened to be making dinner for six people on a particular hot summer night a few weeks ago.  the response was overwhelmingly positive.

reishabu, mkII

you’ll need:

  • garlic
  • kaiware (a.k.a daikon sprouts)
  • four stalks of green onions
  • a quarter of a large daikon
  • ponzu
  • mizuna (a.k.a japanese spider greens)
  • shabu pork
  • half an onion
  • green perilla (a.k.a. shiso)
  1. bring some lightly salted water to boil in a medium pan, and add your pork.  try to keep the shabu from balling up while it boils.  it shouldn’t take very long to cook all the way through.  once finished, drain the water and put the pork in a colander.  once drained of water, put some ice, salt, and water into a large metal bowl.  place the pork in a smaller metal bowl and set it afloat to chill.
  2. cut your veggies.  start by cutting the base off of the bundle of japanese spider greens and cutting the bunch into one inch long segments.  make sure to evenly distribute the stalk and leaf portions across each plate.
  3. peel the garlic and the onion.  slice the onion as thin as you possibly can (it should be pretty close to transparent).  cut the base off of each clove of garlic and slice them into about one millimeter slices.
  4. add some oil to a pan, get it nice and hot, and fry yourself some garlic chips.  make sure to stop them from overlapping or you’ll end up with some garlic that is crispy and some that is just oily and soggy.  evenly distributed garlic makes for evenly fried chips.  once finished, remove them from the oil and set them on a few layers of paper towels.
  5. wash the kaiware, get as much water as you can out of them, and then slice off the root base.
  6. peel the daikon and use an oroshi board (or large fine grater) to grind the daikon into a bowl.  make sure to do this in a circular motion to get the best flavor.  once finished, try to drain as much water as you can out of the ground daikon.
  7. add ponzu to replace the water you drained and mix with a spoon.  give the oroshi-ponzu a taste while you do this to make sure it has your desired level of saltiness.
  8. place four leaves of shiso pale side up on the cutting board.  remove the stems and fold the stack in half three times.  use a sharp knife the cut the leaves into super thin ribbons.  while you are at it, cut the base from your green onions, fold them twice, and chop them as thin as you possibly can.
  9. assemble the salad.  on top of your mizuna, add a layer of kaiware, onion, chilled pork, oroshi-ponzu, green onions, shiso ribbons, and garlic chips (in that order).
  10. revel in the glory that is reishabu.

note: ponzu has all kinds of varieties.  some are made with fish-based dashi, some are made with a stock made from seaweed, and still others are infused with yuzu.  i like to use the shiso-infused ponzu, but make sure you know what you are buying before you decide to use it.  it can completely change the flavor of your dish if you aren’t careful.

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