Last night we had friends over for dinner. Preparations started at about 7:00 AM and continued non-stop until they arrived at around 3:00 PM. For some reason I thought it would be fun to fix a Japanese + dinner. My friend is 1/2 Japanese and her son more Japanese than haole (Caucasian or foreigner) and is visiting from the Mainland. Keith, my sweetie, took over most of the culinary recipes as I’ve never cooked anything like these foods. I did make manapua a couple of days prior to the party just as a trial run…not too bad. So, I got up and first made the manapua dough which is a bread type dough that is a tiny bit sweet. Keith worked on the inside pork which is usually shredded with caramelized onion and a BBQ-like sauce. While the bread is rising and rising I watch as Keith does his thing in the kitchen. For him this is “old hat”. Dim Sum, yeah! (a variety of little bite-sized filled wonton thingys)–he made a filling for the Su Mai which is like a steamed dumpling using wonton wrappers with pork and shrimp. Then the filling for the Hakka–another steamed dumpling with just the pork and then the filling for the Gau Gee which is a triangular shaped wonton that is crispy fried…sooooo yummy. Then, because we were also having tempura we had to peel the shrimp and butterfly them, cut up the vegetables. While he was doing this I made Creme Brulee. I know, I know, not Japanese, but I like it! While the custard was cooling in the fridge I started getting the dough ready for the filling. Together we rolled the dough out into little 4×4″ (or so) squares, plopped the BBQ pork into the center, folded the dough over the filling, pleated around in the circle. This is then placed seam side down on a square of parchment paper. It is plump and round and smells heavenly. As you can see, someone tested before even steaming! Who would’ve done that? Lastly Keith made Miso soup and Sum Choy which is a lovely Chinese vegetable (well, what’s a little different Asian food thrown in?). It is such a bright green and has a bright flavor seasoned with a little oyster sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
So, at 4:00PM we sat down to a sumptuous dinner. It is such fun. We each have our own little rectangular Japanese plate, chopsticks and access to all the little things coming out of the steamer and “Fry Daddy”. The battered shrimp was the best I’ve ever had–crunchy and flavorful! Everything was perfect. When it was time for the dessert, Keith got out his torch. Thus, the Creme Brulee got its sugar glaze that gave a good “crack” when broken with the spoon to get to the custard. When the evening came to a close, we were all full and so satisfied
Labor intensive but all in all a marvelous fun meal that everyone enjoyed.