All right, so, let’s talk about a really good Japanese dish. Shogayaki (show-gah-yah-key). I love it. You might love it. You might wanna try it.
Shogayaki means grilled/cooked ginger. Seriously. Shoga = ginger; yaki = grilled/cooked. For the students of Japanese reading, yes, this is the same yaki in “yakitori” (grilled chicken) and “kushiyaki” (stick-grilled food), and “teppanyaki” (food cooked on a hot plate).
This is one of those comfort food dishes that I think is a great introduction to Japanese food. It’s quick, integrates one of the key “sauces” in Japanese cooking, and is something that I think a person looking for a totally doable Japanese dish could try with (relatively) little fear at home.
A really common way to do shogayaki is with thin-cut strips of pork. Most American supermarkets will sell pork chops (which are quite thick). For optimal shogayaki action, thin cuts are best (like, maybe 2-3 mm). Paper thin is awesome. If you can’t find anything this thin at your local supermarket (and don’t have a butcher that can cut you thin strips), you could always give this a try with a regular pork chop (it won’t quite be the same, but you’ll get the idea).
Shogayaki utilizes some of the most basic Japanese ingredients: mirin, sake, soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger. Fresh ginger is best, grated together with the sauce. Use equal parts of the liquids (2 tbsp mirin, 2 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp soy sauce), a pinch of sugar (go with around 1 tsp), and about 1 tbsp freshly ground ginger. Mix it all up.
Next, with your pork, dust the tops with a little bit of flour. Then hit them with a bit of salt and pepper on each side. Done. Really.
Heat the pan up on medium high with a bit of oil (vegetable or canola oil is good) and pop your pork slices in. If they’re thin, they’ll cook quickly. You want them to get just brown on one side. When they reach that point, turn them over and dump the sauce into the pan right along with them. Again, they’ll cook rather quickly (maybe 2 minutes, tops), so use a pair of tongs and move them to a plate and tent them. I then like to let the sauce cook down just a little bit.
This is a dish you can serve with rice and cabbage and miso soup (if you’re feeling Japanese). It’s really easy, really delicious, and, like I said, a great introduction to a basic Japanese dish (and basic Japanese sauce)! I love it and it’s one of those things I go to when I want something comfort-foodish but fast, without feeling the guilt of devouring something heavy. I hope you enjoy!