I don’t think my love for Japan, it’s people and especially the food is a secret. Many years ago when I started to pursue my love of Japanese food, by learning how to prepare it for myself at home, it was a struggle to find the appropriate ingredients. Luckily, there are now many Japanese grocery shops around Sydney and many basic staples are available in your local supermarket. How far we have come.
Many years ago when I would originally see the word ‘sake’ in the ingredient list of recipes, I would run out and try and source a bottle of drinking sake (Nihonshu). Then one day, in my lounge room, Tetsuya Wakuda shared something with me. “This is cooking sake, you don’t use the sake you drink when cooking’. Maeve O’Meara then turned to him, nodded her head, and said she didn’t realise there was a difference. I do love Food Safari. Like Maeve, I had no idea there was a difference until that moment either.
Ryorishu is the Japanese word for cooking sake and literally means ‘cuisine alcohol’. You generally don’t drink ryorishu straight, it isn’t enjoyable as a drink. It is milled differently to drinking sake, there is a lower milling rate of around 80-90%. Milling removes fats, proteins and amino acids that lead to unwanted flavours and aromas in the brewing process. A lower milling rate means it isn’t as refined in taste as a drinking sake, but the bolder flavour lends itself much better to cooking. It doesn’t get lost amongst other ingredients like soy sauce, sugar etc. Ryorishu does have an alcohol content, the one in my cupboard is rated at 14-15% alcohol. Therefore salt is added to the ryorishu (usually about 2% to render it just undrinkable), which allows supermarkets to sell it. Read more →