Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Homemade Meyer Lemon Ponzu

In japan, we often use ponzu as a sauce for many dishes such as hot-pot, tofu, gyoza, salad, hamburg, steak, grilled chicken, pickles, and so much more.

We can buy ponzu sauce at the Asian supermarket or sometimes even the local supermarket, but I still prefer to make my own homemade ponzu. I enjoy the fresh taste and I know it has healthy ingredients. It is difficult to get our hands on fresh yuzu so I use Meyer lemons as a substitute. Meyer lemons have a beautiful fruity scent and are less sour than regular lemons (Meyer lemons are cross between lemons and oranges). We can make delicious homemade ponzu using Meyer lemons.
Meyer Lemons as Substitute for Yuzu

You can add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of olive oil to 2 tablespoons of homemade ponzu, mix well and you have a nice refreshing salad dressing.

Homemade Meyer Lemon Ponzu

·      120ml of strained Meyer lemon juice (about 3 Meyer lemons)
·      60ml to 120ml of Mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
·      120ml of soy sauce
·      3 to 5 inches of “Kpmbu” Kelp
·      3 to 5g of bonito flakes (put bonito flakes in a tea bag)

*If you like sour, then use 60ml of Mirin, otherwise use 120ml of Mirin. My family prefers the 120ml of Mirin version.

*Remove the “kombu” kelp and bonito flakes after one night. This can be stored in a sterilizer jar in a refrigerator for up to 2 months.

1.     In a jar or bowl, put all the ingredients, and mix well.

2.     Leave it for few hours or overnight before using.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Meyer Lemons as a Substitute for Yuzu

If you are familiar with Japanese food, I am pretty sure you have heard about the citrus called Yuzu. Yuzu has a very aromatic rind that wakens up the senses. We often use the rind to brighten up the flavor of our dishes and to enjoy the pleasant fragrance it brings. The yuzu juice has a fruity scent but the taste of the plump is rather tart and tangy, so it is sometimes used to add an acidic touch to meals. The most common ingredient using yuzu juice is ponzu. Ponzu is a delicious citrus-flavored soy sauce that has many uses. We can get ponzu at the Japanese or Asian supermarket or sometimes even at the local grocery store.

One day, I happened to come across Meyer lemons while grocery shopping and their fruity fragrance immediately reminded me of yuzu. It is a little less sour than yuzu but still fruitier than regular lemons. Since that day I have been using Meyer lemons as a yuzu substitute. Since we can’t get yuzu easily around here I have been recommending my cooking students to use Meyer lemons for yuzu as well. Meyer lemons are in season during the winter. But good news is that these days we see them at the supermarket all year round so it’s not too difficult to get them. Whenever you find yourself craving a dish with Yuzu, remember that you that you have access to a great substitute.

I’ll be introducing a delicious homemade ponzu recipe that uses Meyer lemons instead of yuzu. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Kabocha Soup

Kabocha is a variety of Japanese pumpkin. It looks very similar to Buttercup squash, typically found in western supermarkets but they taste quite different, so don't be fooled! Kabocha is naturally sweet and has a texture that's a bit like sweet potato. In Japan, we usually eat kabocha as a side dish. I especially love kabocha that's been simmered in soy sauce and sugar, but its equally scrumptious in a salad (like potato salad), creamed into a soup, or tempura-fried.

Kabocha soup is very popular in Japan, because it’s very rich and creamy, but mild enough in flavor for everyone to enjoy. You can serve this soup warm or chilled depending on the season. It would make a perfect Thanksgiving side dish!

Kabocha Soup

·      ½ a kabocha squash (about 1.5lbs)
·      1 onion
·      1 tablespoon of salted butter
·      1 tablespoon of olive oil
·      480ml of vegetable broth
·      240ml of milk
·      60ml of heavy cream

·      some salt

1.     Cut kabocha in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

2.     Cut the kabocha into 1.5 to 2 inch cubes and remove the skin.

3.     Chop onion coarsely.

4.     In a pot, heat up the butter and olive oil, add the chopped onions, and sauté until tender.

5.     Add the kabocha and sauté about two minutes.

6.     Add vegetable broth and simmer until the kabocha is soft.

7.     Turn off the heat and puree with a blender or hand blender until smooth.

8.     Add milk, heat up the mixture, and add salt to taste. Finish by adding heavy cream and remove from the heat just before it boils.

9.     Serve into a bowl and drizzle a little heavy cream to garnish, if you like.