Have you heard of umami? Umami is a word that recently made its way into the worldwide culinary vernacular. Its origin is Japan and the definition loosely implies ‘good taste’ or ‘deliciousness’. There are all kinds of chemical reasons that trigger this sensation. They involve words I don’t understand like glutamate, ribonucleotides, inosinate and guanylate.
Suffice it to say, if I ever use it…I mean it in the gastronomical sense and as it has conventionally become known: “the fifth taste” to its counterparts sweet, sour, salt + bitter. Beef and sweet potatoes are considered umami-rich foods.
I loved this dinner for its combination of sweet, savory and salt…which definitely speaks umami to me!
I invited Jim, Julie + Cassie to share the meal with me before we attended a performance of Pilobulus at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts…which, by the way, was disappointing. But that’s another story.
Better than a banquet somewhere else
is a good cup of tea and a bowl of rice at home.
Japanese Snack Crackers
Aren’t I self-less and brave for posting such an unflattering close-up? Ah, what we bloggers have to do for authenticity!
I made this dish in 2 steps as the recipe suggests and I used a technique I saw on a Canadian Foodie‘s blog, utilizing plastic wrap rather than toothpicks or string to secure the roll. It was one of those duh-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? moments. It works really well if you refrigerate for a while before cooking.
[The only place I strayed from the recipe was using thinly-sliced and gently pounded New York Strip.]
Daigakuimo (sweet glazed potatoes)
[Japanese sweet potatoes are red-skinned and not available locally
so I used the more readily accessible tuber.]
About this dinner…
This was the first time I used red miso which, along with the other ingredients, made a wonderful marinade for the beef rolls. The candied sweet potatoes were a good call as a side dish to complement the salt and savoriness of the negamaki. I also served white rice that had been splashed with rice vinegar for a touch of acid. We didn’t enjoy the mochi (way too sweet) and the outer texture was like a marshmallow (yucky).
Bloggers Round-Up: Wednesday, February 2
Next Stop: Thailand, on or about February 13 (we are traveling for a week in between)
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