Okay, so if two guys in culinary school get together to smash some limes and garlic, that doesn’t quite qualify as a “par-tay,” but it was a lot of fun and the result was very, very pleasing – yuzu kosho.
What is yuzu kosho? It’s an aromatic paste, similar to Thai curry paste, which is made from citrus zest, peppers, salt, and garlic. It’s somewhat labor intensive, but incredibly flavorful. We found that the flavors were not only bold and pleasing, but sustaining – they really had staying power on the tongue. We got the idea from a trip to Austin’s noted restaurant Uchiko, which is the home restaurant of Top Chef winner Paul Qui. They use quite a bit of Yuzu.
Yuzu kosho is a traditional ingredient from Japan, and is typically made from yuzu, a hard-to-find citrus. Yuzu is like a combination between a tangerine and an orange. Without Yuzu, you can use a ratio of several limes for each lemon. I have tried fresh Yuzu, and it’s not so special that NOT having it is a major problem.
Below: Lime zest, ready for processing.
Below: The zest, garlic, salt, and peppers were pounded into a thick paste.
Below: We rolled some mango with the yuzu kosho, cilantro, and the sushi rice.
The mango rolls with yuzu kosho were amazing! The zesty lime, peppery chiles, and pungent garlic combined beautifully with the tender, sweet, and ripe mango. On top of it all, the colors all worked together perfectly. The cilantro added a layer of flavor that took it to a sublime level. Paul Qui would be proud.
Below: Avocado nigiri with yuzu kosho. Wow! We had trouble getting the rice to stick together, so these rolls tended to fall apart. More research is needed!
Below: Just for fun, here are the avocado nigiri from Uchiko.
African Stir Fry
I also tried a African stir fry with collard greens, peanut butter, and sweet potato. I want to learn more about African techniques and flavors, and figured this would be a great start. I got the recipe from Christy Morgan’s book, Blissful Bites. Chrisy is a graduate of The Natural Epicurean! She signed my copy of the book, and I wrote about it here. I need more practice with the recipe, but the colors and flavors seem to work quite well.