Being Dad-alone with 2 kids on a rainy Sunday requires a few things in order to keep the ship on an even keel and a good, quick lunch is right at the top of the list. An easy to prepare and universally accepted lunch is crucial. Good, fast food to fuel the afternoon's shenanigans.
One of the quintessential Japanese fast food options - and I'm excluding the McTeriyaki and all conquering Colonel from the conversation here, as they are clearly not locals - is a beef over rice bowl called 'gyuu-don'. Restaurants serving this beef bowl, such as Yoshinoya and Sukiya, are as part of the fast-food fabric here as revolving sushi and noodle bars and the staple dish is pretty easy to throw together at home. Plus, it's a sure fire hit with the scallywags, which is a huge tick in the plus column for mine.
Foreground:Gyuudon, with pickled ginger. Background: Miss with 'Why the hell is he taking a photo of his lunch?' look on her face.
It really is stupidly easy to make which is a saving grace when, (as mentioned) it's howling outside, it's twelve o' clock and you have two under 4's gnashing their teeth and demanding their rations.
First, 2 sliced onions and 2 cups of boiling fish stock infused water for 5 minutes. Then add the magic potion of 5Tbsp of soy sauce, 3Tbsp of mirin and 1tsp of sake, mixed with 2Tbsp of sugar, and the beef (this should be finely sliced sukiyaki style loin beef... mmmmm, finely-sliced-sukiyaki-style-loin-beef). That's it, that's all. Cover it and simmer for another 5 - 10 minutes and you're good to go.
The Holy Trinity of Japanese cooking: soy sauce, mirin and sake.
Aussie beef. Good.
15 minutes from go to whoa. Miss not yet convinced, it would seem.
The proverbial cherry on top though is the pickled ginger - which we're blessed to have a steady supply of thanks to my MiL. This stuff is so good. It's root ginger, which is pickled in salt and a blood red Japanese herb called shiso. It gives the dish a kick that a mule would be proud of and eating gyuu-don without this would be like eating a Jimmy's mince and cheese without a squirt of Watties - i.e. Just not the same!
Red Gingery Goodness.
Too tempting for little fingers to resist! Fair enough, too.
Thankfully the end result was a hit with the locals and any possible mutiny was postponed for now. The rainy Sunday afternoon sailed a helluva lot more smoothly thanks to this little number, and I'll definitely be calling on it again soon.