Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spicy Sashimi with Umeboshi on Crispy Renkon

Have you ever had renkon chips? Renkon is lotus root. The only time I remember eating renkon when I was little was on New Year's Day--my grandmother said it was traditional--you ate it "so you can see the future". Renkon is also in nishime and umani--but I've never had it fried and crispy. Namiko Chen over at Just One Cookbook has a great tutorial on making renkon chips. If you want to cook anything Japanese, you can most likely find it on Just One Cookbook.


My daughter sent me this photo of a dish she was eating at the restaurant Nobu, in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, and wanted me to try to make. I had no idea of what it tasted like--which was probably a good thing--it made me use my imagination. What would I WANT it to taste like?

My imagination led me to shiso and umeboshi, my favorite Japanese flavors and another favorite flavor, jalapeños--the result is this Spicy Sashimi with Umeboshi on Crispy Renkon.

You might remember this package of Butsugiri (cut in pieces) Wild, USA Sashimi--like the one I bought at Marukai for my Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice post. The cost was under $5 for less than a quarter of a pound. Be sure to ask the man behind the counter which packages are ahi tuna.

Spicy Sashimi with Umeboshi on Crispy Renkon

Makes approximately 20 pieces

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. ahi butsugiri tuna, diced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon umeboshi paste
1 teaspoon to 1/2 finely minced jalapeño pepper
20 shiso leaves
1 teaspoon shoyu

1 piece fresh renkon
1 teaspoon vinegar
oil for frying

optional: kaiware (daikon sprouts) for garnish

If you have umeboshi at home, you can finely mince into a paste 1 whole umeboshi. If you don't, my suggestion is to buy the umeboshi paste in the red tube--it's a lot smaller portion than the umeboshi paste in the larger, clear bottle. In my Stuffed Chicken Rolls with Shiso and Umeboshi post, I explain umeboshi a bit further.

If you don't care for the umeboshi taste, you can simply mix the jalapeño with some thinly sliced green onions, sesame seeds and a teaspoon of sesame oil and shoyu.
I diced the butsugiri tuna pretty small and mixed it with 1/4 teaspoon umeboshi paste and 1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeño. The ume taste wasn't apparent (to me) with such a small amount, even though the umeboshi paste is strong, so I added another 1/4 teaspoon of umeboshi paste and then added 1 teaspoon of shoyu (soy sauce). 1/2 teaspoon umeboshi paste gives it a subtle ume taste--if you like umeboshi, I'd add 1 teaspoon total. 

My husband doesn't like too much heat, so I took the seeds and veins out of the jalapeño and only added 1 teaspoon, but if I was making it for my parents who love jalapeños, I'd add half a jalapeño, seeds & all.

Refrigerate the sashimi until ready to use.

This is fresh renkon.

I bought this at Marukai market, and this is how it was packaged. 

If you can only find this poached, processed renkon, it works too, but it doesn't come out quite as crispy.

I peeled the renkon, but Nami doesn't. I peeled it because that's how I was taught, but you really don't need to peel them when you're frying them.

Slice the renkon thinly, about 1/8 of an inch, put the slices into a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, adding 1 teaspoon vinegar to keep the renkon from turning brown. I tried slicing them with a mandolin kitchen tool, but the slices came out broken. I'm going to have to work on my technique.

If you buy the processed renkon, there's no need to soak them.

Drain and blot the excess water from the renkon slices with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

Heat oil over medium heat until about 350ºF and fry renkon slices until crisp.

Fry them until they're hardly bubbling, that's when they're crispy--like making tortilla chips. The fresh renkon will turn a golden color and the packaged renkon will come out more white. Be sure to try one--so you can tell if you're frying them until they're crispy.

These are the fresh, fried renkon chips, sprinkled with furikake nori. They make a great snack.

This is the difference between the fresh on the left, and the packaged renkon, on the right. This one I sprinkled with himalayan salt--skip the kelp granules--I thought it was my bottle of aonori!

Back to the sashimi--Take the sashimi mixture out of the refrigerator, taste and adjust seasoning--I added a little bit more shoyu. Put the crispy renkon slices on a shiso leaf and put a generous teaspoon or two of the sashimi mixture on the renkon--dividing the sashimi mixture amongst the 20 pieces. Garnish with daikon sprout tops.

Itadakimasu!

***

Remember the vegetables I planted in my Maple Miso Dijon Salmon post? They're growing--and I've planted more. This is cabbage. It's small, but I think it's ready to pick.

We've been eating the kale--picking off the leaves as needed. We did that with the romaine, too. The romaine is finished--it grew really fast since we've been having such hot weather for winter, but we still ate a good amount of romaine.

I didn't have a lot of success with my cauliflower. I was expecting to get big, nice heads--like I see in the grocery store--but they were small. The hot weather made some of them look like they blew up!

I've got some new vegetables going--this is swiss chard.

 Arugula. It's got a nice, spicy peppery flavor--delicious!

I just planted some broccoli. Maybe we'll get some cooler weather and it will grow nicely. My mom grew broccoli and she said the taste was incredible.

This one is collards. I wonder if it will get HUGE like the collard greens in the store.

We planted this little tree last year. I was afraid it had died--it's never a good idea to plant fruit trees in the grass, they'll get too much water--but there didn't seem to be a place in the non-grassy areas, so it got planted there. It bloomed! I was worried that the flowers wouldn't get pollinated--the person that helped me at San Gabriel Nursery where I bought it said that it needs an apricot tree nearby for pollination--but my apricot tree still isn't even budding. NONE of my other fruit trees are budding yet. I kept thinking I should have gone to the nursery to get some branches of apricot trees that are blooming to put next to my little tree for pollination like they advised. But I didn't.

But look! There are 5 small fruits! HOORAY!
There must have been an apricot tree blooming somewhere in my neighborhood. This tree is a Japanese UME tree--someday I'm going to be able to make my own umeboshi!

***


Spicy Sashimi with Umeboshi on Crispy Renkon

Makes approximately 20 pieces

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. ahi butsugiri tuna, diced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon umeboshi paste
1 teaspoon to 1/2 finely minced jalapeño pepper
 20 shiso leaves
1 teaspoon shoyu

1 piece fresh renkon
1 teaspoon vinegar
oil for frying

optional: kaiware (daikon sprouts) for garnish

1. Dice butsugiri tuna and place into a bowl. Add umeboshi paste, jalapeño and shoyu. Mix gently. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Slice renkon and put into a bowl of cold water with 1 teaspoon vinegar if you are using fresh--skip this step if you are using poached renkon. Pat slices dry with paper towels.

3. Fry in 350ºF hot oil until crisp, drain on wire rack.

4. Take tuna mixture out of the refrigerator. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place crispy renkon on a shiso leaf and top with a generous teaspoonful of tuna mixture. Garnish with kaiware (daikon) sprout tops if desired.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the kind mention, Karolyn! This is so pretty, and I know it's delicious too! I've never used renkon no mizuni for frying - thank you for sharing your experiment!

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    Replies
    1. Like Nami, I've never used anything but fresh renkon for frying! I'm pleasantly surprised, my next move is to try the pre-sliced renkon! I don't have a food processor, mandolin, or even a good knife, so I'm excited. When I made fried renkon it was a bit of an ordeal to slice them. The pre-sliced renkon might be too thick however.

      I love how your presentation blows the restaurant's plating out of the water. I love the shiso leaves underneath them. Extra tasty, and makes it even prettier.

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  2. Interesting recipe, i used to served deep fried lotus root chips with pan fried fish or scallops,
    this is a great appetizer!!
    beautifully photographed too!!!

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  3. Nice ~ Would love to see this submitted to FoodFotoGallery.com so I can share with all my foodie friends :)

    ReplyDelete