Friday, September 2, 2011

Coping with the exchange rate

I went to my local Japanese market today and was floored by the prices of ready-made sauces and dressings from Japan.  For a small bottle of sesame sauce, the price was over $6.50.  Ouch!!  Dollar yen exchange rate is certainly making everything from Japan that much more expensive now.  I think 100 yen is hovering around $0.76 right now.

I wanted to make a fried rice recipe I saw on Japanese TV.  Nothing too different about the recipe except it used sesame sauce in lieu of soy sauce or oyster sauce for flavoring fried rice.  Never had sesame fried rice.  Have you?  Often sesame sauce along with ponzu sauce are used for shabu shabu and other ohitashi which is boiled, steamed, or grilled vegetable simply dressed with soy sauce or other sauces.

Sesame sauce is not hard to make and my version is a little different in that it also has a smidgen of rice vinegar. This sauce keeps for at least a month in the refrigerator.  Speaking of a refrigerator, I have to show you sometime how packed mine is with all the sauces, pickles, condiments, etc.  I make lots of homemade Japanese pickles and they keep forever.  That means, my refrigerator is forever packed haha.

Japanese Sesame Sauce

6 T white sesame seeds
1 T sesame paste or tahini
3 T soy sauce
1 C dashi
1/3 C sake
1 T mirin
1 tsp sugar
2 T rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hichimi togarashi or red pepper flakes (optional)

Toast sesame seeds in a frying pan until you hear 4-5 pops. Remove from heat. Grind sesame seeds in a mortor or a coffee grinder until partially ground.  Do not over grind.   Place in a bowl.

Add all the seasonings and mix thoroughly.  You may have to use hand mixer or blender to combine if sesame paste is not mixing well.  Place the mixture in a microwave and cook off alcohol for 15 seconds. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to keep.

Here I am lightly dressing steamed green soy beans with the sesame sauce as ohitashi.

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