May has offered an occasional hint of the summer to come – a time for enjoying the great outdoors. Be it a garden BBQ, a picnic or an open-air concert, why not serve some of these wonderful cocktails and canapes with a Japanese twist.
We’ve found three great cocktails which all make use of Yuzu. Now a gastro-favourite, yuzu is a citrus fruit from Japan that’s about the size of a tangerine.
It has a wonderful fragrance but is noted for being sour and tart. Yutaka has created Yuzu Citrus Seasoning – perfect for use in cocktails and recipes that call for yuzu.
Yuzu & Ginger Cocktail
- 6 ounces gin or vodka
- 1 tablespoon Yutaka Yuzu
- 2 tablespoons ginger syrup
- 1⁄2cup honey (or sugar)
- Fresh ginger root & mint leaves to garnish
- Place all the ingredients bar the ginger root in a cocktail shaker. Shake shake shake…shake shake shake…shake then pour into a glass filled with ice and garnish with thinly sliced ginger root and mint leaves.
Sparkling Yuzu Lemongrass Lemonade Cocktails
Inspired by Yusho, Chicago, Illinois
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 lemongrass stalk (rough leaves removed, ends trimmed, and stalk sliced crosswise)
- 2 oz vodka
- 1 oz lemongrass simple syrup
- 1 oz fresh clementine, or mandarin, or tangerine juice
- ½ oz Yutaka Yuzu
- Clementine, mandarin or tangerine slices for garnish
- Splash soda water or ginger beer
For the lemongrass simple syrup: combine the water, sugar and lemongrass in asmall saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Whilst boiling, stir until the sugar dissolves then set aside until the syrup tastes like lemongrass and has cooled (about 10 to 30 minutes).
Strain and set syrup aside.
For the cocktail: combine vodka, 1 oz simple syrup, clementine, mandarin or tangerine juice and yuzu in a cocktail shaker. Add enough ice to fill the shaker halfway, seal, then shake until cold (about 15 seconds).
Place a few ice cubes in a tall glass, add the clementine, mandarin or tangerine slices, then strain the cocktail mixture into the glass. Top with a splash of soda water or ginger beer and serve.
Yuzu Whiskey Smash
- 4 wedge(s) lemon
- 6 mint leaves
- 1 oz.Yutaka Yuzu
- 2 oz. whiskey
- 8 oz. glass
- Garnish with lemon, mint sprig
- Chill serving glass.
- Place ingredients into bottom of mixing glass and muddle.
- Fill mixing glass 2/3 full of ice and pour remaining ingredients in order listed.
- Cap, shake and strain into chilled serving glass.
- Add garnish and serve.
So, you’ve got the drinks sorted, now it’s time to whisk up some really easy canapes to serve with them, keeping to the Asian theme. Yutaka offers a range of store cupboard essentials, perfect to have on hand to spice up recipes. It also does some wonderful frozen products like edamame beans, which are what our first recipe calls for.
SERVINGS – 2
- 227g Yutaka frozen edamame in shells
- 1 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tsp chilli paste
- 1 tbsp Yutaka Miso
- Prepare edamame according to instructions. Transfer cooked edamame to a big bowl.
- Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add garlic and chili paste and cook until combined and fragrant. Add miso and mix all together for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and pour the spicy miso mixture over the edamame and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Baked Tofu Bites
- 1 (pack Yutaka tofu
- 1/4 cup Yutaka soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Yutaka rice wine vinegar
- 1 dash Yutaka miso
- 1 tablespoon Yutaka white sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavouring
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a non-stick baking tray with oil.
- Slice tofu into 1/2-inch slices, and gently press excess water out. Cut sliced tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
- In a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, maple syrup, ketchup, vinegar, and miso. Stir in sesame seeds, garlic powder, black pepper and liquid smoke. Gently stir tofu cubes into sauce. Cover, and marinate at least 5 minutes.
- Place the tofu on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn tofu, and bake until the tofu turns golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
Tempura Salmon with Wasabi Mayo & Radish
- 2 teaspoons Yutaka wasabi paste
- 150g (1/2 cup) Japanese mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon Yutaka rice wine vinegar
- 1 bunch radishes, trimmed
- 1 pack Yutaka tempura batter mix (see note)
- 180ml (3/4 cup) cold soda water
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 4 Yutaka nori sheets
- 4 x 200g pieces salmon fillet, pin-boned, skinned
- Vegetable oil, to deep-fry
To make wasabi mayo, combine wasabi and mayonnaise in a bowl. Set aside.
To make pickled radish, stir sugar, vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Cut radishes into julienne (matchsticks; alternatively, coarsely grate radishes, then squeeze out excess moisture). Place in a bowl, add vinegar mixture, then toss to combine.
Place tempura batter mix, soda water and sesame oil in a bowl. Using a fork, stir until just combined. Trim nori sheets so their width equals the length of salmon pieces. Wrap a sheet of nori around each salmon piece, then trim ends to leave a slight overlap. Seal joins with a little batter. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow nori to soften slightly. Cut each piece widthwise into 6 slices.
Preheat oven to 80C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat to 180C (or until a small spoonful of batter immediately floats and sizzles). Dip a salmon slice in batter, drain excess, then lower into oil. Working quickly, repeat until there are 4 pieces in oil. Fry for 45 seconds or until pale golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on lined tray. Transfer to oven to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining slices and batter.
Place tempura salmon on a platter. Top each with a small spoonful of wasabi mayo and pickled radish to serve.
Of course, for really easy canapes, you could opt for Yutaka’s frozen range of gyoza dumplings and their new sweet mochi cakes.