If there is a single dish from this book that makes the most regular appearance on our dinning table, it’s this one.
We will often cook a bunch of spinach early in the week and just leave it in the fridge.
We have boosted soy sauce always to hand and the bonito flakes live in the pantry. From that starting point, if we need an extra dish for the table, this can be ready in less than a minute!
PREPARATION TIME 5 MINS
COOKING TIME 5 MINS
- 1 bunch spinach, washed and soaked in a sink or large bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes
- 1 tbsp Boosted Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp bonito flakes
1 Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Place the root and stems of the spinach into the water and hold for about
10 seconds. Then, using a pair of chopsticks, push the leaves under water and cook for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse in cold
water. You can keep the spinach whole in the fridge, soaking in a bowl of cold water, for up to a week.
2 When ready to eat, remove the spinach from the water and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Cut off and discard the
roots, and trim the stalks and leaves into 5cm pieces. Stack the pieces in a bowl, pour over a little Boosted Soy Sauce and scatter
with bonito flakes. Soaking the spinach in cold water before cooking allows it to refresh and open up, like a bunch of flowers might, allowing any dirt between the stalks to wash out into the water.
Boosted Soy Sauce
I use this soy sauce in place of normal. Light soy sauce for absolutely everything. It’s lighter and less salty, but has a richer and more balanced flavour.
MAKES ABOUT 750ML
PREPARATION TIME 5 MINS
COOKING TIME 10 MINS, PLUS 1 HOUR STANDING
- 150ml sake
- 100ml mirin
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 500ml light soy sauce
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- Handful of large bonito flakes (about 5g)
1 Place the sake, mirin and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Flambé with a blowtorch, match or lighter and allow to burn until burned out. Add the soy sauce and mushrooms and bring back to a simmer. Add the bonito flakes and turn off the heat. Allow the sauce to stand for 1 hour, then drain through a muslin-lined sieve. Store the sauce in an old clean wine bottle or soy sauce bottle in the pantry.
Like most umami-rich foods, this boosted soy sauce improves with age. I usually make a triple or quadruple batch and keep it in a big sealed jar in the pantry. When stocks are getting a little low, I just make a new batch and top it up. It will keep indefinitely.
The Carousel thanks Adam Liaw for this recipe from his book The Zen Kitchen.