Sake & Food Pairing
Besides wine, Sake is my favorite drink (adult beverage, I meant). So when SakeOne (One of very few American sake makers. I think there are only 4…) contacted me, I was thrilled. They were going to send me a box of their premuim sake. Heck yeah! I will trade in food for sake anytime!!! My gosh, I was pleasantly surprised by it’s taste. So pure and clean! (If you see the term “Ginjo” anywhere on the label, it means ‘Premium’ where at least the outer 40% of the rice gets milled away – protein/fat is removed for it’s best aromatic flavor. Also those fatty acid causes a hangover. So ginjo sake=no hangover!
First, I chilled the bottles to 44-47’F. Those ‘hot’ house sake we drink at a sushi restaurant, it aint’ Ginjo. Heating up sake is to mask it’s yucky flavor.
Now time to call up some friends, cook and drink Sake!
:: fine prints ::
This pairing is totally based on my own taste palate and judgement…not the standard pairing principles. In other words, these are all about what tasted good to me!
Black Kale & Mango Salad
It paired wonderfully with Crispy clean dry Sake (SakeOne’s Silver & Diamond). A slight hint of cumin brought out spicy note of ‘Silver’ it also brought out tropical fruity tone of ‘Diamond’! It did turn on my appetite for the evening.^^
1. Black Kale: Stalks removed and leaves thinly sliced
2. Drizzle with olive oil and ‘massage’ with your hands till it starts to soften and smell like ‘bananas’
3. Add a pinch of cumin, salt and pepper.
4. Add sliced mango
My favorite Japanese dish! It’s a simple hot tofu dish served in dashi broth. Although sake pairs amazingly well with non-japanese food, I think fruity and sweet sake compliments ‘Umami’ rich dish. Fruity and sweetness of ‘Ruby‘ balanced well with salty yet earthy dashi broth.
1. Cut the tofu into a rectangular pieces about 1″ thick.
2. Pat dry them well with paper towel.
3. Make broth: 2 cup water, 1/2 cup dried bonito flakes, 2 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 1/2 Tablespoon mirin.
Gently boil all the ingredients – then strain to remove dried bonito flakes.
4. Lightly dust tofu with cornstarch and deep fry until barely golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
5. To serve: Pour the hot broth, add a few fried tofu cubes and garnish with sliced nori paper (Use scissors to cut it) and chopped green onion.
Roast pineapple with creme fraiche with pistachios
It paired wonderfully with Dry & crispy sake. (SakeOne’s Silver and Diamond ). Mellow and dry sake cut some of the sweetness of the dish and apple and mellon tone of ‘Diamond’ extuanuated pineapple flavor.
1. Cut medium-riped pineapple lengthwise into 8 wedges and place them in a oven proof baking pan.
2. Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 Tablespoon honey, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 teaspoon salt and drizzle the mixture over pineapple wedges.
3. Roast at 350’F for 15 mins.
4. Place the pineapple on a plate, drizzle with remaining juice. Add spoonful of cream fraiche (or your can use sour cream) and garnish with chopped pistachios and mints.
Strawberries with aged balsamic vinegar and cacao nibs
My favorite flavor with creamy nigori (unfiltered) sake was strawberries and chocolate! Acidic strawberries cut some of the creaminess of the nigori sake and oh boy, dark chocolate tasted even better with it.
1. Slice strawberries
2. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar, spoonful of whipped cream and some cacao nibs (or shaved dark chocolate)
Cherry- braised pork with creamy leeks and fennel
I paired this dish with their Organic Jumai Ginjo. Medium bodied and dry yet has some fruity tone…It kind of made the flavor much more layered and complex.
1. Season pork shoulder (1.5 lb) with salt and pepper.
2. In a Dutch oven, brown the pork in 2 tablespoons of the oil all sides. Remove the pork; pour off the fat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the pot. Add the chopped celery, carrots and 2 onions and cook until golden, 15 minutes. Add the 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 cup wine and 3 cup chicken or beef stock; bring to a boil. Add the pork and 1/4 cup dried cherries, cover and braise in the oven for 4 hours.
3. In a skillet, mix 2 tablespoons of the oil with the sliced fennel, leeks and onion. Cover and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add tiny bit of cream and simmer until thickened. Add the pecorino cheese and chives, and season with salt and pepper.
For those lucky people who live in Oregon, please go visit their tasting room, enjoy their wonderful sake, and tell them I sent you. Hopefully I will get another boxful of goodies….:) ….. Something about Oregon, it’s air, rain and terrain…makes the best sake!
Does anyone like ‘Portlandia‘ on IFC? Oh my gosh, hilarious. It’s my new favorite show. Now I have one more reason to visit Oregon…..
‘Kanpai’ to Oregon and all the sake lovers out there! xoxo