Year: 2014

Shiso Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe) Spaghetti

This summer, I ate at Basta Pasta in NYC, which is a restaurant that makes pasta the way that it is made by Italian restaurants in Japan. Although many of their dishes are classic Italian, there are a few surprising dishes that top Italian pasta noodles with a mixture of Japanese and Italian ingredients. In other words, it is Japanese-style spaghetti; in Japan this is called wafu pasta or wafu spaghetti since wafu (sometimes also spelled wafuu) means “Japanese-style”. As JustHungry.com explains, this style emerged in the 1970s when “essentially, things that are usually eaten with white rice were mixed into or put on top of spaghetti and other [Italian] pastas”. The resulting flavor combinations are a fun and unexpected mix, which strangely go well together. Advertisements

Onigiri Burger

Mos burger is a Japanese fast food chain which offers Asian-style fast food. Instead of hamburger buns, several of their “hamburgers” are enclosed by rice pressed into a bun shape. When I was in Taiwan, I went a to baseball game; Mos burger was one of the stands in the stadium so I got to try them. I was disappointed in the taste of their fillings, but I was captivated by the idea of a rice bun for a hamburger, so I wanted to make my own version. My “onigiri burger” or “rice burger” is loosely inspired by Mos burger; however the flavorings are quite different than what Mos burger offers and I chose to season my rice with furikake, which is a Japanese condiment that is often sprinkled on top of rice. These onigiri burgers are a messy but fun and satisfying dish. The recipe below offers two variations: one made with a hamburger patty and one made with thinly sliced leftover roast pork. You could also experiment with other meats or fillings–Mos burger offers several …

Taro Chips and Sweet Potato Chips

Taro chips uses the same technique as making potato chips and sweet potato chips, but there are a few additional details that should be pointed out. Taro skin and the liquid it emits contains an irritant that makes some people itchy, so try not to touch it. If it bothers you, use a plastic bag or plastic gloves when handling it and wash your hands after handling raw taro. Taro must be eaten fully cooked; it is toxic when raw. Taro skin should be peeled off before the taro is eaten; depending on the recipe the skin may be peeled when it is raw or after it is cooked. Discard the skin; taro skin is not eaten. The Chinese variety of taro (also called “Bun Long”) is best for taro chips; other types of taro don’t work as well. Choose a mature taro (not “baby taro”) which is a few inches wide (example, second example). This type of taro has purple fibers when cut crosswise. Source: Taro Chips (inspired by University of Hawaii’s recipe) Source: “Fingerling or Sweet Potato …

Salmon, Salmon Eggs, and Scallop Chirashi

Chirashi means “scattered sushi”. It is usually presented as sushi rice and other ingredients mixed together or as sushi rice topped with a decorative arrangement of ingredients. Displayed here is sliced raw salmon, raw scallops, salted salmon eggs, and shiso (full leaves and julienned). To make ikura: Gently rinse salmon eggs (0.15 lbs) in cold water (be careful to not break the eggs). Mix with 1 tsp sake and 1 tsp usukuchi soy sauce with the drained salmon eggs (normally the soy sauce and sake would be heated until simmering to reduce the alcohol and then let to cool before mixing with the eggs, but since this is such a small quantity of sauce this small this isn’t necessary). The salmon eggs can be eaten right away but they will be better if you let them marinate for half a day. If you are luckily enough to find a sack of salmon eggs instead of pre-separated salted salmon eggs, you can prepare them like this. To make this chirashi bowl, rinse sashimi-quality fish and sashimi-quality scallops briefly in cold water …

California Roll

From about December to April, it is Dungeness crab season in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. I usually eat my first boiled crab of the year simply cracked at the table and plain except for quick dip in apple cider vinegar or brown rice vinegar. It’s hard to resist–when it is in season the seafood section of supermarkets in this region feature large displays of freshly cooked crab on ice, ready to eat. It makes an effortless meal. Later in the season, I like to make dishes that feature crab. One of my favorites is California rolls since it is comfort food for me; they were the first type of sushi that I tried, and I ate them often when I was a teenager before I would try raw fish. Source: “Classic California Roll”, “Master Recipe for Sushi Rice”, and “Sushi Vinegar Dressing” from “The Sushi Experience” by Hiroko Shimbo. I think these rolls are best when Sriracha mayonnaise is included in the roll. The sauce brings out the flavor of the crab, similar …