Fusion Spaghetti for Morning Sickness (or a Light and Healthy Meal for Anytime)

IMG_20180226_184725.jpg
Nothing says fusion food like shiso on spaghetti! Or in this case my substituted mint.

This post was written originally way back in February or March, when I was in the early stages of pregnancy. But, since it was early, I wasn’t keen on posting about it on the internet. This week I’m at 33 weeks, so no more worries about everyone knowing!

So, the other day I was browsing around the bookshelves at my local Japanese bookstore. And by local I guess I mean all the way downtown in the somewhat Asian part of town. Anyways, while I was browsing I stumbled upon a guide in Japanese for pregnancy. It was so cute! It had tons of cute illustrations and color coded bullet points. But what most impressed me, was that it had specific recipes aimed at pregnancy tummy troubles such as morning sickness, bloating, and constipation.

This really impressed me because all What to Expect When You’re Expecting has to offer is a suggestion to eat 6 times a day healthily. A search of the internet turns up all sorts of wacky things for morning sickness food: steak, mac and cheese, ice cream. And while food aversions can vary greatly from person to person, I find it hard to believe that the puking women out there really want a giant steak for dinner. However, obviously I can’t know, since I only have my own experience to go on.

This recipe starts really simple for the super sick feeling (the original recipe from said pregnancy book), but you can build it up and add more depending on how much and what kind of food you can handle (or for the non-pregnant people in your life). I have nausea, but no barfing (so far), so my stomach may be able to handle more than yours.

Fusion Spaghetti

serves 1-2, 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Basic version:

spaghetti for 1-2 people

salt

pepper

Extra virgin olive oil (be careful that it hasn’t gone rancid!)

Fresh shiso, mint, or basil chiffonade (aka thin strips)

1 Fresh beefsteak tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces

Optional add ons:

Black olives

Seasoned tuna:

1 can of tuna packed in oil (138 grams or 5 ounces. My can listed 2 weights, this is the “fish” weight)

1/2 Tablespoon mirin

1/2 Tablespoon white sugar

1 Tablespoon usukutchi soy sauce (can substitute 3/4 Tbs. normal soy sauce)

First: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain immediately. In a mixing bowl add olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Top with tomatoes and shiso (or your chosen herb).

If you want more substance: Open the can of tuna and try to press as much excess oil out of the can as possible. Heat a frying pan to medium and add the tuna directly (no need for extra oil). Add the mirin, stir it around, and let it sizzle for a while. When it starts to look a little flaky, and less like a big wet mess, add the sugar and stir. After 30 seconds to a minute, add the soy sauce. Cook until it looks a little bit flaky and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat. Add desired amount of olives and tuna to your spaghetti. Bon Appétit!

IMG_20180226_184713.jpg
Nutritious and light! In hindsight I probably would have used less olives 🙂

Rice and Broth Soup: For when you need some gentle food

IMG_20180225_190938.jpg
A gentle, nourishing broth

Want to be amused? Right now, search Pinterest for “light meals.” While half of these will indeed be light, the other half will be filled with things like fried sweet potato balls, 3 cheese ravioli, and stuff with kale. Now, I guess kale is “light,” but it’s not exactly gentle, nor what I want to eat when I’m feeling queasy! Which I was today. After some stomach upset involving some really rich food I was hungry, but wanting something gentle for my tummy.

I’m not sure if this dish really has a name, but there are several variations of rice with added liquid in Japan (probably with added tea is the most well known). This recipe evolved as I was making it, so some of the directions here call for a lot of “season/add ingredient” to taste. Which honestly, I think is preferable if your stomach is feeling off. Your seasoning preferences may be different than normal.

Basically: yummy broth + glutinous rice + gentle toppings. It was really good! My husband, who was feeling super healthy and fine also enjoyed this!

Ingredients note: I call for “water that you’ve boiled chicken in” or dashi. Why not chicken broth? Because western chicken broth is made with a lot of aromatics like onions, cellery, carrots, etc. I wanted to use the chicken water as a substitute for dashi, which is made with only fish and seaweed. (as an aside, Japanese chicken broth also has aromatics, but they’re different.) Depending on what kind of dashi you use, you could easily make this entire recipe vegetarian.

I also chose to do a 2:1 ratio of Japanese white rice to mochi rice so it would be extra sticky, and I could use the extra rice to make a sweet snack. You could definitely use normal Japanese white rice.

Rice and Broth

Serves Two, 20 minutes to make

Ingredients:

For the broth:

500 ml water that’s had chicken boiled in it, or dashi

Soy sauce

Usukutchi soy sauce (optional)

white sugar

brown sugar (optional)

for the rice:

2:1 ratio of Japanese white rice to mochi rice, cooked normally

for the sweet omelet:

2 eggs

1/2 tsp usukutchi soy sauce (can substitute normal)

1/2 tsp sugar

4 Tbs chicken water or dashi

1/2 tsp mirin (can substitute white sugar and a little water)

additional toppings:

nori

green onion, thinly sliced

sesame seeds (optional)

First: Set aside 4 tablespoons of dashi and bring the rest to a boil. Add sugar and the two soy sauces until you like the flavor. I probably added about 4 Tablespoons of mostly white sugar (some brown), and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce. I recommend adding everything 2 tablespoons at a time if it scares you to eyeball it. The broth is now done.

Second: Using chopsticks (or a fork) beat the egg ingredients until one uniform color (no egg whites separate from the yolk). I think it’s better not to use a whisk, to avoid frothy bubbles. Lightly oil a pan using a paper towel to make sure it’s thoroughly covered.

You now have two options: rolled omelets, or thin strips. Thin strips are easier.

Pour the egg batter into the pan and swirl it around until the egg has spread out to touch all sides.

For strips: Wait until the eggs have “set” and the top is glossy, but no longer liquid and mobile. Turn out onto a cutting board and slice into strips.

IMG_20180225_190700.jpg
These are the sliced version. WAY easier in my opinion! And easier to keep moist!

For a rolled omelet: As soon as one side has finished cooking, roll the omelet on itself to create a tight roll. Remove from heat and using a kitchen towel, paper towel, or sushi roller, roll the omelet tightly and let it sit in this shape for a minute or two. Remove and slice into rounds.

IMG_20180225_190637.jpg
Here you see the rolled version. Mine aren’t perfect. Ideally there should NOT be a dark line where it was rolled. But still yummy!

Third: If you have an electric stove, place the nori directly on the turned off (but still hot) burner until it has shrunk in size, and darkened in color. For gas, turn the flame on medium, and use tongs to hold the nori above the flame.

Fourth: Place toppings on top of rice and ladle a little bit of broth over it. Enjoy!

IMG_20180225_190758.jpg
Before adding broth
IMG_20180225_190938.jpg
After adding broth and sesame seeds. Time to eat!

 

Bonus recipe:

Smoosh the left over rice up with a spoon or rice scoop until it clumps together a bit. Using hands moistened in water, loosely pack the rice into small balls. Combine kinako powder and white sugar (to taste) in a separate tupperware. Toss the balls in the powder. This is essentially ohagi minus the sweet red bean paste in the middle (which you can buy in a can and add if you want!).

IMG_20180225_195534.jpg
Yeah, there’s no getting around the fact that these are SUPER ugly! But they make a light and sweet snack.