Using canned food creatively

Using canned food creatively
PHOTO: The Japan News

Canned foods are convenient for people living alone because they keep well. It's possible to conjure up palatable dishes when combining canned foods with regular ingredients and household stocks, such as onions.

With this in mind, cooking expert Ryuta Kijima offers some advice.

If you live alone and are busy at work and with hobbies, you might not have time to buy ingredients - even when you have something specific in mind that you want to eat.

I suggest cooking dishes whose ingredients don't require much shopping time.

It's possible to prepare main dishes using canned meat or fish combined with regular stocks such as onions and potatoes - and what's more, the canned foods are often preseasoned as ready-to-eat products.

If you want to add a twist, it's better to bring out the flavor of the canned food.

For example, if it is flavored with soy sauce, I recommend further seasoning the dish with soy sauce.

Because the juice of the canned food can work as bouillon or seasoning, you can easily create a richly flavored dish simply by adding a small amount of salt or soy sauce.

However, the strength of flavors differs depending on the food manufacturer, so the amount of salt and soy sauce specified in the recipe here is "adequate" or "a little."

I advise sampling to taste and adding salt or soy sauce little by little until you think it's right.

Canned foods are also useful emergency supplies, so I recommend stocking up on them. If you regularly cook using canned foods, the skill you cultivate may be of use during times of crisis.

Kijima's favourite recipes

Oyakodon rice bowl with canned yakitori chicken and egg

1. Cut a quarter of an onion into 7-8-millimeter slices in the direction of the fibers and lightly beat two eggs.

2. Put the sliced onion and 100cc of water into a small frying pan and cook on medium heat until bringing to boil. Add all the meat and juice from a can of yakitori chicken, cover with a lid and simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Add an adequate amount of soy sauce and mirin and then add the egg, pouring in a circular motion. Cover the pan and turn off the heat.

4. When the egg is half boiled, place the contents of the pan over the rice.

Stir-fried corned beef with onion

1. Wash a potato with the skin on, wrap it in cling film and heat in a microwave oven at 500 watts for 3 minutes. Turn it over and heat for another 1-2 minutes until a skewer can be easily inserted about halfway into the potato.

2. Cut a quarter of an onion into 7-8 millimeters slices in the direction of the fibers. Cut the potato into 1-centimeter semicircular slices.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the sliced onions. Pan-fry them until soft, then add the canned corned beef, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Add the potato and mash lightly while frying. When the meat and the potato are mixed well, add a small amount of salt and coarsely ground pepper.

Pot-au-feu with canned mackerel

1. Cut a quarter of an onion into comb-shaped pieces and cut one-eighth of a cabbage in half horizontally.

2. Put the canned mackerel, onions and cabbage into a pot and boil in just enough water to cover the ingredients over a medium heat.

3. Once boiled, place a lid over the pot and simmer for 7-8 minutes.

4. Add a small amount of salt and pepper and serve in a bowl with whole-grain mustard on the side.

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