On Suimono

As I mentioned in my prior writing on dashi, one of the simple dishes that left an impression on me was the suimono years ago at Shinwa in Alpine. Kiku Alpine now resides in the old Shinwa location now. My family and I decided to have a teppanyaki dinner at Kiku Alpine 19 Dec 2010.  As part of the dinner, they offered a ‘suimono’ as part of the meal. I must say, I was less then impressed with the offering.  The soup base for Kiku Alpine’s offering was very clearly chicken based.  Now Kiku Alpine’s suimono could have been really tasty, but I found the soup cloudy and the flavor very muddled. I imagine the soup stock could have been improved if it had been chilled, clarified of fat, returned to the heat and then seasoned with salt and usukuchi soy sauce.  I suppose this will be a project for me to do this winter using Iron Chef Chen’s chicken broth as the base.

Anyway, I decided to make dinner for my family the following night and decided to  include a suimono course of my own.  I went to Shizuo Tsuji’s recipe as my template and discovered that there appeared to be mistake in his recipe. The online recipe can be found here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=fby2Er0seMMC&lpg=PA152&ots=K–LVAAD0r&dq=tsuji%20suimono%20recipe&pg=PA154#v=onepage&q&f=false

It calls for 1/2 tablespoon of salt.  Based on what I had written in my “On Salting” entry – I used 1/2 teaspoon instead.  According to my family, they said the salt ‘level’ in my suimono was perfect. But 1/2   tablespoon is 1 1/2 teaspoons!  If my experience said 1/4 teaspoon/cup of liquid, then that print typo was 4 1/4 teaspoons too much!

One other observation – when I made this suimono, I only had the regular kikkoman soy sauce; the original recipe template calls for usukuchi soy sauce – a soy sauce with considerably more salt.  That being said, I would probably further reduce the amount of salt in the recipe if I’m using the usukuchi soy sauce.  So instead of 1/2 teaspoon of salt, I’d probably use 1/2 teaspoon+1/8 teaspoon.

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