We ended last year on a quiet note. A much needed getaway, far from work and obligations. It wasn’t far away but we stayed in a quiet, tranquil Japanese inn called Shizuka Ryokan near Daylesford.
For a few days, we relaxed ourselves entirely. Bush walking, bathing in mineral water, wandering around in different stores. Most of the time, we were happy to read and reflect quietly in the room overlooking a private Japanese style garden.
Food, we did indulge ourselves. Trips to the Lake House have not disappointed unlike its cousin the Wombat Hill cafe. But the meal I like the most is the Japanese style breakfast. Although the salmon seemed a bit heavy for morning meal, the meal itself was nourishing and comforting. I love miso soup for the morning with rice. A few salad dishes were healthy and wholesome. Such a great start for the day.
Coming back, renewed, I continue that simplicity philosophy in food preparation. I remember a really nice, simple soy bean dish simmered in sweet soy sauce I had a while back. Traditionally, black beans are used, and it is a Japanese New Year dish called Kuromame. The version I made has an additional warm tone of ginger.
The beans are sweet, savoury and have that wholesome ‘al-dente’ bite to each piece. This is a kind of small dish you can offer in everyday Asian style meal. Serve it as you would serve pickles I say. The following recipe makes quite a bit, and we have enjoyed it for a few days.
Simmered Soy Beans with ginger and soy sauce
based on a recipe here. This dish has a long cooking time, but it’s really simple to make.
150g dried soy beans (or black beans)
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
A pinch of salt
A piece of thumb-size ginger, cut into three large pieces
Wash the beans and soak them in warm water for 3-4 hours.
Drain and simmer the beans in a pot with a lot of water and the pieces of ginger until cooked through (2-3 hours). The beans should be soft with a bite.
Now add the seasoning and continue to simmer with the lowest heat possible until most of the liquid evaporates (1-2 hours). Check the beans – you don’t want them to be mushy but wholesome and ‘al dente’.
Serve at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container for around 4-5 days.