16th March 2013.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration by Chef Tadashi Takahashi from Hashi at the De Dietrich Gallery located at Lower Delta Road showcasing Okinawan ingredients from Four Seasons Market.
The cooking demonstration basically teaches you to prepare a 3-course menu with Okinawan ingredients rather than Okinawan dishes. The first course was a Marinated Tuna served with Mozuku Seaweed and topped with cucumber. This is a rather savoury appetizer. Chef Takahashi advised us that to marinate the tuna, we could blanch it first then wrap it with kitchen towel so that the tuna marinates more evenly. Mozuku Seaweed is also known as cladosiphon okamuranus, and a natural seaweed found in Okinawa.
The second item is a homely and simple Japanese classic: Tempura of Okinawan Vegetables. Included in the list of Okinawan vegetables are carrots, goya (or Japanese bitter melon) as well as purple sweet potatoes which are significantly sweet than ordinary sweet potatoes. Chef Takahashi’s tip for preparing tempura batter is that the batter should be cold when we start cooking the tempura. Furthermore, we should prepare mixture of egg and water first before mixing in the flour.
I personally felt that the carrot tempura was a little soggy but the sweet potato tempura was spot-on, it was cleverly paired with Okinawan sea salt to play up the sweetness of the purple sweet potato which was baked beforehand as well, giving it a custard-like texture. This tempura could easily be dessert with some quality vanilla or tea-flavoured ice cream.
As a surprise, Chef Takahashi also introduced us to some Okinawan yellow noodles which he served in a broth made with soy sauce, dashi and water. This simple dish was then topped with generous amount of grated ginger. The result was amazing, it was like a different take of the classic Japanese soba and I enjoyed thoroughly. Like their Japanese mainland counterparts, ginger is an important component in Okinawan cuisine.
The last item was an effortless combination of Koorimo’s Chestnut Ice Cream and Okinawan Peach Pineapple. The Okinawan pineapples are indeed sweet without strong acidity. Overall, the recipes are simple and easy to prepare.
In retrospective, I was hoping there were more Okinawan specific dishes rather than just dishes made with Okinawan ingredients like the Taco rice or champuru etc. The ingredients from Okinawa are now available in Four Seasons Gourmet Market located at the Marina Bay Link Mall.
Okinawa Mozuku with Tuna (Serves 4)
Okinawa Mozuku – 120g
Tuna – 120 g
Cucumber – ½ Piece
a) Marinated Soy for Mozuku
- Rice Vinegar – 100ml
- Soy – 50ml
- Lemon Juice – 15ml
- Dashi – 165 ml
b)Marinated Soy for Tuna
Soy – 90ml
Sake – 30ml
Water – 30ml
Mirin – 30ml
1. Take the mozuku and marinate with sauce A for 2 hours.
2. Tuna to blanch in boiling water till pale white all all sides.
3. After blanching, marinate tuna in sauce B for 30 minutes.
4. Slice cucumber.
5. Take tuna out from the sauce and cut into thin slices.
6. Plate tuna first, top with mozuku followed by cucumber.
De Dietrich Gallery
120 Lower Delta Rd Cendex Centre
#01-04 Singapore 169208