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Asian Summer Kitchen

posted by in Indulgences

My signature Asian Slaw with red and green cabbage, tomyao sprouts, carrots and cilantro tossed in a sesame, lime and hoisin dressing

There’s no doubt that summer is here full blast and the weather authorities have announced to brave even higher temperatures today and tomorrow! With this sweltering heat, I am in no mood for heavy saucy dishes and craving things that are light and refreshing.

We spoke to Chef Him Uy de Baron of Nomama Artisanal Ramen who, faced with the dilemma of running a ramen restaurant in this heat wave, created sunny, bright dishes perfect for the balmy weather and shared his tips on the Asian Summer Kitchen. How to infuse everyday cooking with our favorite regional flavors using certain techniques and ingredients.

asian summer kitchen ingredients

“There are certain ingredients that peak during” Chef Him explains, “Such as tomatoes, watermelon and avocado. Now’s the perfect time to use them in salads and light dishes. I also love using radish and different kinds of spourts to add freshness to any dish.”

“Buy some shisso leaf! It’s one herb that’s truly nice for the season because it’s in the same family of mint. You can make an easy Korean marinade or buy some at the grocery, use it on some beef and grill that. Serve the beef wrapped in shisso leaf for a summery bulgogi style platter.”

“Pickles. They add a nice tartness and a fresh bright acidity to any dish. Use rice vinegar, sugar and salt. It’s so simple you can pickle almost anything with this. If you want a little more acid use half white distilled vinegar nad half rice wine vinegar. You can leave the ingredients in the pickling liquid for as little as 2 to 3 hours but for the best results, leave it overnight. “

Chef Him’s favorite ingredients to pickle for summer: Cucumbers, watermelon, beets and mushrooms (shimeiji’s or dried shiitake as fresh ones are too spongy)

“White Miso is something I love to use for almost anything. Compared to other types of miso it’s lighter and sweeter and works for dressings, marinades even dessert caramels. It’s good even with a delicate fish because it’s not os overpowering.”

Quick Summer Miso Marinade: Cook some white miso with a bit of sake, dried orange zest and orange juice. Cook it slowly over low heat and use it as a glaze or marinade.

“A fresh all purpose dressing comes in handy for summer. I like to make a Japanese vinaigrette using rice vinegar, Japanese mustard, a touch of honey and some neutral oil like canola or peanut. I like that soft heat you get from the mustard and the brightness of the rice vinegar.”

crabcrab roll salad

Ever since he found this magnificent sustainable crab meat from Bacolod, Chef Him’s current obsession is crab. And I can’t agree with him more. Crab to me just screams summer. A nice fresh crab and avocado salad or crabcakes by the seaside with the warm sun in your eyes and cool breeze washed down with an even cooler glass of rosé wine. His current summer menu at Nomama features crab and avocado sliders as well as crisp soft shell crab sliders with pickled watermelon salsa and kimchi mayo. He also has a nice crab and miso butter corn salad roll which is a perfect little fresh snack. Feeling like making your own asian summer crab creation at home? Try his Kamameshi Rice with Fresh Crab, Kobocha and Shisso and Lemon Oil.

kamameshi rice

Kamameshi Rice with Fresh Crab, Kobocha and Shisso and Lemon Oil

(Serves 4 pax)

2 cups Japanese white rice

1 cup diced kobacha or pumpkin about an inch dice

2 cups dashi

2 tbs Mirin

3 tbs sake

1/3 cup Light soy sauce

¼ cup W. Sugar

1 cup picked fresh crab meat

1 cup steamed edamame (take bean out from the pod)

3 tbs shisso oil (optional)

Mix dashi, mirin, sake, sugar and soy sauce together. Wash the rice at least 3 times. Place rice, kobacha and dashi mix in the rice cooker and let it come to simmer. In a bowl toss the crab with shisso oil, and the cooked edemame. 5 mins before the rice is fully cooked place on top of the rice and cover to finish cooking. Serve immediately.

For the Shisso oil:

1 cup shisso leaf

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tbs lemon juice

Blanch the shisso leaf in boiling water for 30 seconds. Shock in ice water and dry with a towel. Place in a blender and slowly pour over the oil with the lemon juice while it blends. Add pinch salt.


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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

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