Part 1 : Blue Dragon soy sauce, two packs of tofu & one cup of mirin
Soy sauce, tofu and mirin are a necessity for Japanese cuisine, therefore I have a lot of them in my pantry. The most useful way to use up mirin is making a sauce that I can use in many dishes. Happo Dare literary means "eight-directions sauce" and is made of 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part sake, 1 part mirin and some sugar and you can use it for many dishes. You make a large batch and save it in the fridge and use it for a marinade for chicken, over a fried fish, over blanched vegetables, for a braised pork or a sauce for any kind of stir-fry. If you have imagination, the use of this sauce is endless.
Teriyaki Chicken Wings
Over the weekend, I made a batch of happo dare and I used it for oven baked chicken wings tonight. I took out some of the sauce and added a little more mirin, sake and left over Blue Dragon brand soy sauce* to make a teriyaki sauce (teriyaki sauce has the same amount of soy sauce, sake and mirin plus a few tablespoons of sugar). I also added some garlic paste, cayenne paper and black pepper for kick. Marinate chicken wings for an hour and put them in the pre-heated oven. I dipped the chicken wings in the sauce several times while they were in the oven to make a perfect caramelized coating. Finally, sprinkle some sesame seeds on the top.
* Blue Dragon brand soy sauce : I don't like this brand because it is very sweet and thick for typical Japanese cuisine. I bought about 6 bottles when I moved here at the local super market (that's the only brand I found that time) before I received my favorites that I shipped from the US. Since it's much sweeter, it is perfect to use for sweeter dishes like teriyaki and I can reduce the amount of sugar. I also used this soy sauce for a Chinese braised pork belly dish and it was a good match.
Silken Tofu and Leek in Japanese Soup
I also made a tofu and leek Japanese soup. To make the soup base, combine dashi (fish stock from bonito flakes), soy sauce, mirin and sake. Next add tofu and leek and slowly cook for 30 minutes until the tofu soaks up the soup. Put some hot chile powder on top and serve with a bowl of rice, of course.