Pitas

pitasPita bread is another type that is not commonly found in Japan. They are available at import stores, etc., but are quite expensive. However, they are not hard to make, so give it a try!

Ingredients (makes 8 medium-sized pitas)
3 cups (390g) flour (Japan: use bread flour / 強力粉)
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar/honey
2 tsp yeast
1-1/4 cups (300mL) water
2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

If using active dry yeast, mix the yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup of the water, warmed. Let sit 5 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients.

If using instant yeast, you can just mix all the ingredients well.

Knead for a few minutes until soft and no longer sticky. Let dough rise for 90 minutes in a warm place.

Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and let rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out each ball into a 6-inch (15cm) circle. Bake at 200C / 400F for about 5 minutes. The pitas should puff up, but if they don’t, it’s fine! You can still cut them open with a knife to stuff them.

Asian Pulled Pork

pulled porkI developed this recipe from the idea of a pulled pork with Asian flavors, and adjusted my recipe until I was happy with it. This pork takes a long time to cook, so it must be done on a day when you’ll be at home; or it would certainly do well in a slow-cooker, though I haven’t tried that yet. I always use pork loin, as it is a relatively cheap cut of meat in Japan, but I think any cut would do as long as it’s not too fatty..

Ingredients
300g (10oz) pork loin
salt and pepper
1 tsp each canola and sesame oils
1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
360mL (1-1/2 cups) green tea (I normally put a teabag in my measuring cup, fill it with hot water, and steep for a few minutes.)
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1/4 cup brown sugar (if you prefer your pork less sweet, use half this amount)
1 tsp rice vinegar

Instructions

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat the oils in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Place the pork loin carefully into the pan and sear, turning it carefully until it is browned on all sides.

Add all the remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer on very low heat for at least 3 hours. If too much liquid evaporates during cooking, add some water. By the end, most of the liquid should be gone.

When ready to serve, cook uncovered on high heat for a few minutes. The pork can also be refrigerated after the 3 hour cooking time and then reheated on the stove on medium-high heat.

You can eat the pork however you like – add it to a salad, on top of rice with some veggies, or in a wrap – our favorite. I’ll write another time about how we make our pork wraps.