At this moment, I do not have access to my pots, pans or to my pantry as we are currently in temporary accommodation. What I have is only some essential things such as soy sauce (of course!!), dashi powder, cooking sake and sugar, which I think allows me to cook decent things.
And…, my boss (the kind one) gave me a packet of Shio Koji.
As I have written about it in my blog previously, Shio Koji is one of my “super foods” – which is not only for its nutrition but also for its versatility (please see here for more detail).
That made me cook something different from the usual suspects, and even allowed me to come up with this new salad idea!
This strawberry dressing is a little bit sweet as well as a little bit savoury – as the result of a touch of Shio Koji. It is a perfect salad for hot summer days!
Since Shio Koji can be purchased in the Japanese shops in Perth, I assume that it can be found in other cities. If you have a chance to find it, I recommend you to get and try it 🙂
Ingredient: For Salad 200g Salad Leaves 210g Traditional Bocconcini- cut into 4 1 Lebanese Cucumber -diced 1/2 Onion - finely chopped
For Strawberry Dressing 250g Strawberries - washed and hulled 1/2 tablespoon of Shio Koji 1/2 tablespoon of Sugar 1/2 tablespoon of Lemon
Method : For Strawberry Dressing 1. Place all of the ingredients for dressing in a small pot. Heat the pot over medium heat with the lid on. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low.
2. Keep cooking for about 15 minutes or until the strawberries become very soft, while stirring and mashing the strawberries occasionally.
3. Remove it from the heat. Place the dressing in a clean container and cool it down in the fridge.
For Salad In a salad bowl or plate, place salad leaves, bocconcini, cucumber and onions nicely. Just before serving, pour the strawberry dressing over the salad.
You might feel “strange” or even “modern” when you hear that I use a well-know Middle Eastern food – Tahini in Japanese cooking.
In fact, roasted sesame seed paste is called “Neri Goma” and is commonly used in Japan. Apparently Neri Goma has a nuttier flavour than Tahini as sesame seeds for Neri Goma are roasted longer than for Tahini…. Well.., from my point of view (taste), they taste pretty much the same.
We often use Neri Goma to make Sesame Dressing. This dressing is very versatile and matches with both vegetables and most meats proteins (beef, chicken, pork and tofu). It can also be used as a dipping sauce for Japanese Hot Pot (Nabe). The bonus of my recipe is the measurement – very easy to remember!
Middle East and Japan might be far away, but I like the fact we enjoy the same food in spite of the distance.
1 Tablespoon of Tahini (hulled)
1 glove of Garlic – minced
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Dark Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil
Place tahini in a bowl. Using a whisk, stir all other ingredients one by one into the tahini. Mix them very well until the dressing becomes smooth.
Koji is a grain (such as rice, soybeans and barley) that is inoculated and propagated with the Koji culture, which is a microbe. It is natural and used to make common Japanese ingredients such as soy sauce, miso and mirin etc….
Shio Koji is a mixture of Koji, Salt (Shio in Japanese) and water and is a very versatile seasoning. My mother introduced Shio Koji to me as a “current trend” in Japan several years ago. Since then, Shio Koji has been my trustworthy partner in the kitchen. When I feel something is missing, it is the time when Shio Koji comes up. Taste of Shio Koji itself is very salty and strong, however, when you use it as a seasoning, it brings the dish to the next level. I feel, somehow, Shio Koji helps other ingredients to produce the own umami.
I added it into my yogurt dressing this time. I think that Shio Koji smoothes the flavour by cutting the harshness of plain yogurt and lemon juice. I found Shio Koji in my local Japanese food store in Subiaco if you would like to try it out.
Ingredients (Serving 4)
5 small Beetroots (or 4 big ones)
1 Carrot – shredded
1 Tomato – roughly chopped
1 Red Capsicum – rough chopped
½ Onion – thinly sliced
4 Tablespoons of Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
½ Tablespoon of Shio Koji
1 clove of Garlic -finely chopped
½ Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
Roast Beetroots – Pre-heat oven to 230 ◦C. Wrap beetroots with alfoil individually and place them into the oven. Bake them for 45 minutes or until they are cooked.
While roasting the beetroots, chop all of the salad ingredients and place them into a large bowl. For dressing, mix all ingredients except oregano in a small bowl.
Once the beet rots are cooked, remove them from the oven. Peel the skin off and cut them into 2cm cubes. Add them into the chopped salad.
Dress the salad with the dressing. Sprinkle the oregano on top to serve.
Note: I found this website explains more about Koji if you are interested.
For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
For the salad, place each ingredient beautifully in layers in a salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing just before serving. As an option of a decent sized meal, top with Very Moist Chicken or sliced beef steak.