Flounder simmered in Japanese broth カレイの煮付け

japanese cake

I do not think I ever made this dish before. Probably because I somehow associate this dish with being ill as a kid. This was the first solid food my mother served me when I was recovering from some GI ailment. My mother thought this dish was the most mild flavored, easily digestible and highly nutritious food she could serve to speed recovery. All this is probably true but I can’t imagine feeding this to an American kid just getting over a tummy ache.

I bought too much fluke (flounder) which I used in my matsutake dish. I thought about making  menier or grilled or fried flounder but I decided to make this dish. One of the reasons I chose this dish is because I had extra kelp broth left over from when I made matsutake rice.

The different Japanese and English names for flatfish are numerous and confusing. I usually associated the Japanese name “Karei” カレイ 鰈 (The left symbol which makes up this kanji letter is “fish魚” and the right symbol is “leaf葉”) with sand dabs and “Hirame” 平目 (meaning “flat eye”) with flounder or fluke but I am not sure this is a correct association. A classic Japanese recipe calls for small sand dabs or karei for this dish so that the whole fish with skin on is simmered in broth (see image below). The skin adds a slightly slimy texture which, I suppose, the Japanese like but I only had previously skinned and boned fillets of flounder.

Broth: Again, this is typical Japanese seasoning combination. I used kelp dashi, sake, mirin, and soy sauce (2:1:1:1). If you like you could add sugar (up to 1 tbs) to this. You must add enough slices of fresh ginger (3-4 thin slices) to add a good ginger flavor to this dish. I placed the seasoning liquid in a flat wide pan like a sauté pan so that the fillets are in a single layer and covered with the seasoning liquid. I gently simmered it for 10 minutes. Since this was a fillet, I did not bother with “otoshi buta” 落とし蓋 but instead, I covered it with a piece of kelp while the fish was cooking.

I served the fish with the kelp on the bottom (as decoration, just becase I had it) and boiled asparagus. I had to admit, this is not one of my favorites but it has a nice gentle texture and the taste of fresh ginger. Oddly, I am already feeling better.

Here is a more classic image of “Karei no nituske” カレイの煮付け(http://www.jf-net.ne.jp/kagyoren/image/santi/12-6.jpg

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