Sake + Spirits
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One of my favorite restaurants is Kajitsu, as I've written a couple of awesome reviews about the place. Chef Nishihara is simply a genius. His creativity and flavoring, using only vegetables (it's a vegan/shojin restaurant), is just amazing.

I saw an article in last week's Times Magazine, where Mark Bittman cooked with Chef Nishihara. I was blown away. He made vegan Worcestershire sauce. I've made sauces before, from molé to demi-glace to simple dashi. But who knew Worcestershire sauce could be home made??!!

I had to do it. But the original recipe is too much, so I cut corners here and there.

Here is my adaptation.

Soak a piece of kombu (about 6 inch) and 3 large (6 small) dried shiitake mushroom in a cup of water overnight.

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They are reconstituted the next morning.

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Cut 1 large onion, 4 carrots, 1 stalk of celery, and piece of ginger into small pieces.

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Prepare spices:

1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 bay leaves
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon sansho peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns or green peppercorns
1 tablespoon ground, dried sage
1 tablespoon soybean powder (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ small dried hot red chili

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Original recipe says to use fresh tomato, but I bought canned tomato, since the quality of tomato in this season isn't that great anyways. Puree 3 lbs tomato.

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Strain the tomatoes into a large pot.

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You don't want seeds to be in the sauce.

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Make dashi. Here I cut corners. Put re-hydrated kombu into 8 cups of water, and simmer for 1 hour (instead of 2).

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Add 2 cups of vegetable trimmings. Simmer for one more hour (again, instead of two). The more variety of vegetables, the better.

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After two hours of simmering kombu and vegetable together, the stock is now done.

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Strain:

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8 cups of water is boiled down to barely 3 cups.

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For tomato base, add vegetables, and thinly sliced re-hydrated mushroom, and simmer for about an hour.

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Add all the spices and simmer for 10 minutes. As soon as you dump all the spices in the sauce, you will smell Worcestershire sauce. This is amazing.

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Blend this mixture, then put everything back into the pot.

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From here on, the process was a bit hectic, and I don't have all the pics.

Pour 1 cup of red wine into the kombu/vegetable dashi. Boil for about 15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, cook down pureed tomato base for another 10 minutes.

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Pour 1/3 of tomato base into dashi/red wine through strainer. Cook another 10 minutes. And here you have homemade Worcestershire sauce. Color is a lot lighter than store bought kind. The flavor is a lot softer, but you definitely taste Worcestershire sauce.

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This recipe made two kinds of sauce, one thin (above), and the other thick (below). In the remaining tomato base, add 1 grated apple, and cook for another 10 minutes. You now have a thick sauce. The recipe didn't call for it, but I blended it to make it extra smooth. Adding an apple changed the flavor drastically, and it's awesome.

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It was a great experience, especially knowing that you don't question the ingredients of the sauce. But I don't think I will make this again, looking at all the mess I created...

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I made oven-baked tonkatsu, and this sauce is not your typical Worcestershire sauce, but quite addictive. I also made panko-crusted mahi-mahi last night, and used the sauce (one bite with thin sauce, the other bite thick sauce), and it was very good.

Chef Nishihara is a genius. I haven't tasted chef's sauce, but a big difference he told me would be that he saves all the vegetable trimmings (carrots, cabbage, onion, turnips, leeks) and make a large batch of dashi, with kombu. I think the depth of his dashi is far more intense than what we can make at home though.

Good experience nonetheless.
Column: ReCPY
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1 comment

  • As much as I love bull dog brand, I still can not fathom how on earth they can charge me 6 bucks for a tiny bottle of sauce.It’s insane and i’m one hell of stingy so I always try to create the homemade one.My version is simpler, just using all grated fruits like apple/pear/dates and onion/tomato and worcester sauce

    Ei on

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