7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!

Many people already know how much we Japanese love our nasaly spicy condiment, wasabi. But we also like the extra strong bite of our karashi mustard too! Karashi is a yellow mustard, made with the crushed seeds of brassica juncea, the same as English mustard. Like its English cousin, karashi can be course or smooth, depending on how well crushed the seeds are and is available both ready prepared, or as a powder which is mixed with a little lukewarm water. But be warned, this is hot mustard! For English people living in Japan, and for Anglophiles such as myself, karashi is a blessing; we may not be able to easily obtain proper European style sausages here, but even the processed sausages in Japan are made bearable by a dab of karashi! But karashi is not just about dressing sausages, and here are just a few of the most common ways it is used.



 

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!

 

1. On Tonkatsu

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!_tonkatsu

Tonkatsu is breaded pork cutlets, typically with shredded cabbage or over rice. Many people smother tonkatsu with brown sauce and mayonnaise, then dab individual pork pieces with karashi. This has to be one of the most popular dishes in Japan, both at home and in restaurants. Tonkatsu is also a popular sandwich filling where the insides of the bread are spread with karashi-butter.

 

2. With Oden

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!_oden

It is hard to explain oden to the uninitiated, suffice to say it is the quintessential Japanese winter stew containing various ingredients in a kelp broth. Individual ingredients whether succulent chunks of stewed daikon, various types of fish cake, fried tofu or boiled eggs, are all complemented and enhanced beautifully by a dab of karashi.

 

3. In Natto

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!_natto

Definitely an acquired taste due to its strong odor, unusual flavor, and slimy texture, fermented soybean, or natto, is nevertheless very popular in Japan and many people like it served with a generous helping of karashi and topped with thinly sliced leek.

 

4. With Shumai

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!_shumai

Shumai are Chinese style steamed dumplings usually containing a pork, shrimp, vegetable or mushroom filling. Unlike fried gyouza, which are served with a soy based dipping sauce and chili oil, shumai benefit from the rich taste of oyster sauce and the zesty kick of karashi.

 

5. On Tofu

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!_tofu

Creamy tofu, when served plain, is usually given a dab of pulped ginger, a drop of shouyu (soy) and a sprinkle of bonito flakes (katsuobushi). Instead of ginger, try substituting a dab of smooth karashi instead – the sharpness of the karashi makes an interesting harmony with the cool smoothness of the tofu!

 

6. With Nasu

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!_nasu

Aubergine, eggplant or nasu, is widely grown and enjoyed in Japan, and is often prepared in spicy dishes. Nasu Karashi Sumiso-ae, steamed or grilled nasu served with a white miso and mustard dressing is well known. Since nasu is not a vegetable that keeps well off the vine, it has long been used to make pickles too. Karashi nasu is aubergine pickled with mustard.

 

7. Karashi Renkon

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!_renkon

This is a specialty of Kumamoto on the island of Kyuushu and my personal favorite karashi dish. Boiled lotus root, or renkon, is stuffed with a paste of miso, karashi powder and honey, then deep fried in a thin batter. Served cold in slices resembling spoked wheels, the result has a deliciously fresh and crispy texture with a powerful karashi bite.

 

Conclusion

Karashi suits cold meats, such as ham. In fact, Japanese hams are excellent, as are some of our English style bakeries, so a great ham sandwich with mustard is never too hard to put together. Try karashi too with soft, Chinese style stewed pork or ribs – if your mouth isn’t watering at the thought, there’s something wrong with you! Just about any food that begs for a really hot mustard can be enhanced with a little karashi, and when mixed with mayonnaise, it makes for an easy and quick dipping sauce for everything from raw vegetables to potato chips, or for a more zesty egg mayonnaise. Try karashi for yourself; you won’t be disappointed!

 

7 Best Tandems of Karashi You Haven’t Tried!

1. On Tonkatsu
2. With Oden
3. In Natto
4. With Shumai
5. On Tofu
6. With Nasu
7. Karashi Renkon