Wednesday, June 13, 2012

For the love of Umeboshi

I'm not exactly the kind of girl who eats pickles out of a barrel, but I've had a friend or two over the years who would. The problem was that I hadn't met the right pickle. It's like dating advice, if you have to work at a relationship when you're dating, you need to move on. If you haven't met the right pickle, let me introduce you to Japanese pickled plums, umeboshi. If you like pickles, this should be easy.

This recipe is a variation on what I made at Nansai Sensei's Cooking Class. I'm so going to miss her and that class which admittedly I have dreaded from time to time because it is a bit exhausting to cook in another language and to feel five steps behind all day.

It combines the taste of shiso and umeboshi with mochi and cheese. I used Tillamook Cheddar cheese to make mine. What doesn't taste better fried? It's about portion control and if you are going to eat something, well, this is worthy of the calories, but eat it while it's hot, mochi hardens as it cools. It compliments a cold brew nicely too. In Japan, shiso and umeboshi are a taste combination found in lots of things from fried fish to sushi which I take as a sign that it is an enduring and appealing taste. Consider trying this.

I have come to love umeboshi so much that I plan to plant an ume tree in Ohio to insure a future supply. Last summer I called my husband before he departed Japan to join us for the summer festivities in the States saying, "Please bring me umeboshi." They look like wrinkled blobs, but they pack a wallop of taste. I can't live without them. Recipe is in the cookbook.

Idatakimasu I humbly receive,
Kim
Umeboshi Japanese Pickled Plums- remove the pit & chop

Shiso Perilla leaves
Umeboshi Japanese Pickled Plum chopped into a  paste
Layer shiso, mochi, cheese, & umeboshi paste in an egg roll wrapper
Mochi Harumaki Spring Rolls
The ones at cooking class look better but they have red pepper in them.


Mochi Harumaki Spring Rolls
from Aki Nansai

Flour, ~1 Tbsp
Water, ~ ⅓ cup
Spring roll wrappers, 10
Kirimochi Dried Mochi bricks, 5, cut each block in half lengthwise
Shiso Perilla Leaves, whole or cut into fine strips and soak in water, drain before using
Cheese, cut into small rectangles ~1” x 3” (2.5 x 7 cm) Tillamook Cheddar works well
Umeboshi Japanese pickled plums, 4 pieces, seeded, chopped
Fry oil

Mix flour and water to make a slurry with a glue like consistency and use as a sealant for each spring roll. Set up an assembly area.  Layer into bottom ⅓ of each spring roll wrapper (1) shiso, (2) mochi, (3) cheese, and (4) a dab of umeboshi paste. Using the spring roll package for guidance, roll up the wrapper, fold in the sides toward the center, and use the flour slurry along edges to form a seal. In a heavy pan, heat oil over medium heat. Fry the spring rolls at 350ºF (170ºC) for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain onto rack or paper towels. Serve warm as the mochi hardens if it sits too long.