今日は dear readers. Or for those who don’t read kanji, here it is in hiragana: こんにちは dear readers. Or for those who only read the latin alphabet: Konnichiwa dear readers. ORRR for those, like me, that don’t understand a word of Japanese: Hello/Good afternoon dear readers! One thing you have to know, you don’t have to read, speak or even understand Japanese to cook this delicious Mahi Soba Noodle Stir-Fry and bring this wonderfully exotic culture into your kitchen and onto your dining table. It is super easy, takes less than half an hour and should absolutely be eaten with Japanese style chopsticks. Yes, there is a difference between Chinese and Japanese chopsticks. Chinese chopsticks tend to have a wide ending and Japanese chopsticks tend to have a finely pointed end. Both can be easily found in any Chinatown or online if your city doesn’t have a Chinatown. If you buy better quality ones they will last you a lifetime. I found these gorgeous red ones in Montreal’s Chinatown and felt like eating absolutely everything with chopsticks when I got them. Aren’t they b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.?
Now an entirely different fact: Japan’s female life expectancy is 87 years!! And thus ranking number 1 in the World Health Statistics for 2014. 87 folks! As an average! EIGHTY SEVEN! Why do you think that is? Well, I am absolutely convinced it is because of their extraordinary diet (if they omit any Western fast food chains and eat a traditional Japanese diet). They tend to eat a lot of fish and a lot of fresh vegetables, fermented foods and nutrient-packed seaweed. Japanese also stay active until their legs can’t hold their weight anymore. This in my opinion is beyond important as well. There is no “I-finally-retired-will-sit-in-front-of-TV-for-the-rest-of-my-life” kind of attitude in the elderly. Staying active doesn’t necessarily mean to exercise it just means moving a lot. I am a fairly slim person but I eat considerable quantities of food. Many people cannot believe how much I eat when they see me eat and then ask for my “secret”. They probably think I eat only salads and go to the gym every day. Well, I don’t! So here is my secret to each and everyone of you because it isn’t a secret at all really. I don’t like to be starving hungry but I also don’t like junk food. I’d rather stay hungry a little than eat at a fast food restaurant. When I eat junk food I have this weird psycho feeling that my veins are being blocked and that I will eventually get a heart attack. I know, I am very psycho in this aspect because I know nothing will happen to my body if I eat junk food every once in a while but I just can’t stop my head from playing with my mind. I literally get tachycardia from eating junk because I believe my veins are being blocked and my heart has to pump harder to get the blood to continue flowing. Yes, you are allowed to frown and yes, you are allowed to roll your eyes here and now. So for the most part (because, there are exceptions, how would I know otherwise that junk food wants to kill me) I eat real food. And for me real food is simply anything that is not overly processed. That is the only restriction my “real food definition” has. No artificial and overly processed things. Other than that, I eat absolutely everything and I am not a picky eater so I mean it literally I eat almost everything…Ummm, no, I’m lying. I don’t eat insects. I’ve tried a couple but I don’t think I will again, like ever. Now in respect to exercise, I don’t like to exercise…on purpose. What I mean, is I think there is nothing more boring than going for a run or going to the gym. I mean, I wish I’d like it because then I wouldn’t only be slim but would also have a nicely formed body but I just don’t have the discipline for that and I don’t care enough about that six pack. However, I am very “active”. I “move” a lot. And by that I mean, I don’t have a car, so I don’t drive anywhere. As long as it takes less than 30 minutes to walk somewhere I won’t take public transport unless it’s like -30 °C outside. I will always choose to walk and I walk fast. I don’t like walking slow even on a Sunday in the mall and I wish people there would move faster, too. I don’t wait to have a long shopping list to walk to the store. If I need something for a specific dish I am cooking I will walk to the store and buy it and if later I notice I ran out of milk I will walk to the store AGAIN. I hardly ever sit down (if not working for the technical part of the blog, big exception). I am always “doing” something. Be it cleaning or rearranging the closet or cooking, oh and more cooking, and more cooking, and moooore cooking. And I go out with my kids to the park (weather permitting) to just chase them around a bit or push them in the swing. I feel like I always carry around extra weight with me. Be it a million bags from the grocery store or just two kids, a bicycle and a tricycle, because, yes, my kids kind of expect supermom to be as strong as The Hulk and carry their ride-ons AND them, too. This is the only secret. If you don’t like to exercise you don’t HAVE to. You just have to eat clean and real and moooove and stay active like most of those elder Japanese ladies and that way you will for ever and ever stay slim ;) For now, you can WALK to the closest (or farthest?) Asian Store, buy your ingredients and CARRY them home in a backpack for extra weight. Start cooking and after all that “exercise” you can sit down for 15 minutes to enjoy your clean, real food Japanese meal…or if you have kids, stand up every 3 minutes to help them with this or that, and get water, and then pick up a couple noodles from the floor and then bring one to the toilet and then bring them a toy to convince them it’s better to stay seated and finish lunch before going to play and then finish your cold meal standing in the kitchen while washing a few dishes at the same time because soon it’s time to leave for the park. Gosh, I think I really have to introduce some eating rules here *sigh* One thing I can promise you, your heart will have an easy time pumping your blood and your mind will be at ease, lol.
Mahi Soba Noodle Stir-Fry
- 2 Tbsp chilli oil (olive oil if children are eating)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 spring onions
- 2 large carrot
- 10 oz mahi mahi filet (300g)
- 7 oz shiitake mushrooms (200g)
- 7 oz soba noodles (200g)
- 10 oz edamame in pod (300g)
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 6 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Jalapeño pepper
- Shell edamame. If frozen, thaw under cold water, then shell. Set aside.
- Peel carrots and cut into thin long pieces.
- Bring about 12 cups (3 liters) of water to the boil.
- Wash and chop spring onions separating white and green parts.
- Wash and dry mahi mahi filets and cut into small dice.
- Do not wash shiitake mushrooms, just remove dirt with paper towel and remove hard part of stem.
- In a wok or large pan heat chilli oil (olive oil) over medium high heat.
- Water in pot should be boiling by now. Throw in soba noodles and set timer for 3 minutes.
- Once oil in wok is hot, add white parts of chopped spring onions, garlic and carrots and stir-fry until carrots start to slightly bend (they should not be soft, just staaarting to become soft).
- When timer goes off, add edamame to noodles and set timer for another 3 minutes.
- When carrots are softish add mahi mahi, shiitake mushrooms, fish sauce and soy sauce and toss everything around so fish and mushrooms cook evenly.
- When timer goes off, try a soba noodle, if it requires further cooking set timer for one more minute, if not drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
- Shake colander to make water drain completely then add cooked noodles and edamame to wok and toss around so it takes on the sauces' flavors for maybe 30-60 seconds.
- Remove from stove, add sesame oil and toss one last time and serve immediately.
- Garnish with Jalapeño pepper rounds if desired.