Yakitori 焼き鳥 Part 2

japanese cake

Ume-Shiso Rolled Chiken 梅しそ巻き

This is from the recipe in Mark’s Izakaya Cookbook, page 130. “Shiso” or more precisely “Aoziso” or green shiso (Perilla) can be grown very easily in most of US or can be bought in a Japanese grocery store. It has a very distinctive flavor; not quite mint but somewhat similar. The sauce is “Umeboshi” paste (“Bainiku’ 梅肉). Umeboshi is salted plum (actually Japanese apricot). They are salted togerther with “Akaziso” or red perilla. The red perilla imparts a red to pink color to the end products. This salty and slightly sour condiment is a very basic Japanese taste. The simplest form of lunch box or  “Bento” consists of a bed of white rice with red umeboshi in the center. Since this looks a bit like the Japanese flag it is called “Hinomaru bento” (Japanese flag lunch box). In any case, I made this paste from my mother’s homemade umeboshi by cutting fruit from the stone and putting it into a Japanese mortar and pestle (“Suribachi“) with a little bit of sweet cooking wine “mirin” to make a paste. You can buy commercial umebosh paste in a tube as well. This combination is very classic and excellent. Another recipe I often use is chicken tenders tempura with umeboshi paste. I cut a small slit in the meat, put umeboshi paste in the slit and then wrap everything in perilla. I then coat the packet in tempura batter and deep fry. The result is as good as this yakitori.

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