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September 7, 2004

you can't tell until you try it


Monday, September 6

This is an extraordinarily unusuall kind of pasta dish named spaghetti alla crema con alghe, or spachetti with cream and laver. This is a creation of Yoshimi Hidaka, a prominent Japanese chef who has several very successful Italian restaurants in Tokyo and a couple other places.

I first came to know about this dish in a Japanese foodblog and it caught my eyes not because it was created by a celebrity chef but because of its simple unusual set of ingredients: cream, laver, and most interestingly, yuzu kosho or a Japanese condiment made from green chili peppers and yuzu, a very aromatic citrus fruit that has a refreshing scent a little simiar to that of lemon or grapefruit. I don't think I have ever tried to pair cream and with laver, let alone yuzu kosho. It might appear gross to some people, but it sounded very tempting to me.

Because I couldn't get yuzu kosho in my neighborhood, I had to wait for several months to try this one until recently when I made a brief trip back to Japan where I could easily find one.


I tried the recipe (in Japanese) once several weeks ago, and it turned out OK although the flavor was a little too weak, I thought. So this time I was being generous with the amounts of salt and yuzu-kosho, which worked extremely well I fell for it at once. I had had no idea how it would turn out, but laver and cream went well, to my surprise - although I am sure that, without yuzu-kosho, it would have tasted too dull.

8 comments:

Reid said...

Hi Chika,

I love pasta! This one looks great. Any chance of you posting the recipe in English? I'm dying to try it. =)

Santos said...

hey chika

i second reid, this looks yum. now where am i going to find yuzu-kosho?!

chika said...

Hi Reid and Santos,

Do you mind dropping me a line by email at shewhoeats(at)yahoo(dot)com, please? I'll send a translation of the recipe, hopefully soon.

Now how to get yuzu kosho... I can imagine it might be hard, but it is also hard to try to think of a substitution for it. Hm.

Santos said...

hiya

i was at my little japanese market, and they don't have the yuzu kosho. they have yuzu flavoured everything else, though! i was thinking i could use chili paste mixed with lemon/orange zest maybe...?

chika said...

Hi Santos,

Sorry you didn't get to find yuzu kosho... it isn't exactly a common food item yet even in Japan. I looked for it again in my local stores, but none of them had one. If you can wait (and actually remember about it) till the next year, I'll get one for you from Japan, although I'm certainly curious about how chili paste and lemon zest will turn out...

Santos said...

hey chika

i've printed out your photo of the tube of yuzu-kosho, and the nice man at my little japanese store will look into bringing it in. he just brought in some yuzu flavoured salt--it isn't very salty, but it is quite zesty. i think i'll try that in the meantime.

ps--love your idea for an archive page, do you mind if i steal your idea?

chika said...

Hi Santos,
Wow, it was quite a work! Congratulations to your acquisition of yuzu-something, that should be enough for now if, like you suggested, you adds green chili paste I guess... good luck!

chika said...

p.s. Santos - oh sure, not at all, go ahead! :)