Nobu Spicy Sour Sauce

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/nobu-hk-spiny-lobstershrimp-and-tamari-sichuan-soy/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/rearranging-nobus-baked-monkfish/

So tonight (2 Nov), I found out my wife wanted me to cook monkfish for dinner.  So the first thing I thought of was to make Matsuhisa-sama’s baked monkfish dish with tosazu.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I didn’t have any rice vinegar and I didn’t have any tamari sichuan soy.  What to do?  From Nobu West, I found Monkfish With Fennel Salad (p. 162-163).  That dish had crisp fried monkfish medallions, baby fennel, baby plum tomatoes, spicy sour sauce and a fennel vinaigrette made of salt/pepper, orange juice and olive oil.  Well, I didn’t have the fennel and tomatoes, so I thought I could at least make crisp fried monkfish paired with the spicy sour sauce.

Interestingly, the spicy sour sauce from Nobu: The Cookbook (p. 172) and Nobu West (p. 246) are not the same.  A microbatch comparison also revealed:

  • ……………………………..Nobu: The Cookbook……..Nobu West
  • lemon juice………………..4 T…………………………………….3 T + 3/4t
  • chili garlic sauce………….1/2 t…………………………………..1/2 t
  • soy sauce…………………3/4 t…………………………………..1/2 T
  • usukuchi soy sauce………3/4 t
  • mirin…………………………………………………………………1 t

So I made a batch of the Nobu West version as a dipping sauce for the meal.  As in the prior article on Nobu Hong Kong’s Lobster With Tamari Sichuan Soy, I cut up the monkfish into medallions and then “shake-n-baked” the medallions with salt/pepper/flour.  As per the directions from the Monkfish With Fennel Salad recipe, I fried the medallions in a preheated (high heat) pan with olive oil at about 3

Frying up the dusted monkfish medallions in olive oil on high heat

Frying up the dusted monkfish medallions in olive oil on high heat

minutes a side to get the desired crisp coating with that nice golden brown color (the book says 2 minutes a side).  I portioned out the spicy sour sauce into dipping cups and put the fried monkfish onto two rectangular plates. My wife helped out by making a family serving plate of

Fried monkfish with Nobu Spicy Sour Sauce

Fried monkfish with Nobu Spicy Sour Sauce

sauteed napa cabbage with fresh longhorn chili.  In tasting the dish, my wife generally enjoyed the meal but commented how forward the acidity was in the sauce.  I enjoyed it as well yet thought the sauce helped provide a tangy contrast to the fried richness of the dish.  In fact Matsuhisa-sama comments, “I think any sauce is a good match for fried food” (Nobu: The Cookbook, p. 33).  He also comments that, “…scallops are also delectable sauteed and served with Spicy Sour Sauce…” (Nobu: The Cookbook, p.55).  Five will get you ten that the scallop perspective is what probably led to the use of crisp fried monkfish medallions for this dish.  To make sure my wife enjoys this dish in the future, I’ll pull back to using 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.

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