Monday, August 24, 2009

Japanese Pasta

When I was a kid growing up, my favorite thing to eat [besides Top Ramen and Kraft Mac & Cheese] was a raw egg and shoyu over rice. I loved how the gooey, slimey raw egg just coated the rice making everything slide down the back of my throat so easily. After salmonella became a concern, I decided to give up my favorite meal.

My fear of killing myself with salmonella poisoning didn't take my craving for raw eggs away. It wasn't until my mom grated a Yamaimo [pictured above] and put it over rice with shoyu that I found a decent replacement. It had that same consistency that I loved so much. Thus began my love affair with Yamaimo. Ok, so it wasn't exactly like that - there may have been a few "just trust me, just try it," from my mom but it turns out she was right.

Since one can not live on Rice and Yamaimo alone I started my experiments:

Me: "Mom. is it weird to have Tororo [grated Yamaimo] over SOBA??"

"No, we do that all the time."

Me: "Mom. is it weird to put ahi poke over the tororo over the soba??"

Mom: "No, you had it before in Japan but it was with negi toro over rice instead."

Me: "oh. so i'm not really all that creative then, huh??"

darn. i really believed that I was onto something...

My poor budget doesn't allow me to spend the equivalent of $80 per pound of Otoro tuna so I settled for some really beautiful Blue Fin tuna at $40 per pound [i bought a tenth of a pound].

The Ahi Poke...I had the pleasure of meeting Alan Wong at an event a couple of years ago and had his Ahi Poke. I decided that evening that I loved Alan Wong. I camped out in front of his table, refusing to get out of the way. He tried to tell me how to make it [trow a liddle of dis and a liddle of dat] but the deer caught in headlights look kinda gave away the fact that i didn't know what a "little" really meant. He ended up asking the Banquet Captain for a to go box, boxed up the rest of the poke and gifted it to me. Let me tell you...there were a LOT of people who were really, really pissed off at me. Here's what i remembered from the "liddle of dis and dat" conversation which wasn't much since I already had a couple of drinks by that time. The rest I just had to make up.

Ahi Poke:
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 ½ Tsp Green onion
1 tsp Tobiko [flying fish roe]
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp Mayo [optional, sometimes I just like it spicy tuna style]
½ Tsp Brown Rice Sugar [or honey]
Pinch Sea Salt
Dash of Chili Oil or Sriracha [or to spiciness preference]
Purple Basil or micro Shiso
¼ lb Tuna [sashimi quality]

3 Tbsp Yamaimo [nagaimo], grated

1 to 2 round inches Soba

Cook: Soba in rolling boiling water for just a few minutes until firm but tender

Prepare: Combine all of poke ingredients and marinate the Tuna overnight, if possible.

Grate: Grate the yamaimo and set aside

Plate: Swirl the soba in a circle/mound. Spoon the yamaimo over the soba. Sprinkle some Tobiko over the yamaimo. Spoon some of the poke over the yamaimo. I drizzled some soy sauce over the completed dish to give the yamaimo some additional flavor.


  1. Yum, yum, yum!! You and I would definitely get along! I LOVE tororo...and everything else! I love raw egg with natto over hot rice. Mmmm...

  2. YESSSS! if you ever come out to the westside area, we HAVE to go to Wakasan' would LOVE it!!


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