Posts Tagged ‘yuzu’

When only Japanese ingredients will do

Since the tragic events in Japan in March, there have been some difficulties with the export of Japanese foodstuffs to the EU.  This is mainly due to some very strict legislation which has been put in place to ensure that all food which leaves Japan is safe and unaffected by the radiation that leaked at the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

While current stocks in the UK seem to have lasted well so far, and a number of products have been sourced elsewhere, there are some specialized products which are in short supply and are likely to go out of stock very soon.  This has highlighted the fact that sometimes there is just no substitution for Japanese products.  Here are some of the things which are difficult to replace:

Aojiso dressing – a Japanese vinaigrette which captures the essence of the green shiso leaf; both the aroma and the flavour. 

Kizami wasabi – a Japanese relish made from grated wasabi (the real wasabi; no horseradish supplemented here) and fresh wasabi leaves which have been pickled in soya sauce.  This makes a lovely, subtler alternative to wasabi as an accompaniment to sashimi and sushi but also complements beef and I enjoy it on tofu too.

YuzuYuzu juice – with a flavour somewhere between lime, lemon and orange, this is a citrus fruit in its own right which cannot be satisfactorily replaced.  While lime juice can be used as a substitute for it in recipes, the dish is just not quite as exciting as when yuzu juice is used.

 Yuzu kosho – literally translated this means “yuzu pepper” but this does not do this product justice as it is a green chilli paste with the addition of yuzu so you have a combination of spicy green chilli and the lovely citrus notes of yuzu.

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Matcha and Wasabi ice cream flavours

The notion of fusion cuisine has led to many interesting and intriguing flavour combinations and I was very pleasantly surprised at Hotelympia today when I decided to brave a taste of wasabi ice cream.  The reason I say “brave” is that the last time I tried a wasabi flavoured ice cream it was not the most pleasant of experiences.  The manufacturers had fallen into the trap of using horseradish as a substitute for real wasabi and there were chunks  of what I can only presume to be horseradish and an unpleasant spicy aftertaste.  This, together with the fact that there was no evidence of the delicious aromatics of wasabi, made it a complete let down.

However, the wasabi ice cream produced by Pole Sud and distributed by La Compagnie des Desserts, was a completely different experience.  They have successfully captured the full, delicate flavours and aromatics of wasabi without any of the harsh spiciness that horseradish has.  That, combined with the lovely, creamy consistency of the ice cream makes it divine.

It was hardly surprising that their matcha ice cream was a complete hit as well.  Once more they bring to life the full range of flavours in green tea encapsulating the sweet, grassy notes as well as the astringency and bitterness. 

Pole Sud prove that they appreciate quality ingredients and understand the flavours of those ingredients as well as how to bring them to life in their ice creams.  I should imagine that they will demonstrate the same high culinary skill throughout their whole range of ice cream which also includes azuki, black sesame and kumquat and their yuzu sorbet.