I heart yuzu

What’s spicy, green and comes in a slightly shady-looking bottle?

Yuzu paste.  Yuzu is a rather obscure Japanese citrus fruit.  When its peel is ground up and mixed with chillies, it makes a delightful condiment that is equal parts sweet, sour and spicy.

I’ve never seen it in a store, but I’m sure if you go to the right sort of Asian market in an urban area, it’s there.  You’d have to know what you’re looking for, though.  There’s no English anywhere on the package.

Back in our LA days, one of our favorite restaurants used to make a ridiculous Yuzu Chicken.  So a few weeks ago, at a tiny Japanese cafe in NYC, the hubs was thrilled when he spotted a little bottle of murky green paste on the table:

“Do you know what this looks like?  Yuzu!”  He stuck a pinky in, smelled it, tasted it. “YES!  We have to take this – will it fit in your purse?”

Classy, we are.

Of course we didn’t steal the bottle – because the restaurant gave us a brand new one to take home!  It was carefully transported to Raleigh during the move and, tonight, cracked open for the first time.

Yuzu Chicken, homemade version:

Almost as ridiculous as the restaurant version. 🙂

(True story: I have no idea how to carve a chicken/turkey/etc.  I usually poke at it with a fork and knife for a while and then end up deconstructing it with my fingers.  If you’re ever at my house for Thanksgiving dinner, pretend you never read this.)

Anyway.  Yuzu.  Good stuff.  Can’t wait to see what else I can do with it.  Anyone have any ideas?

Today’s EAT: I have trouble coming up with sides for Asian dishes.  Rice?  Noodles?  Yawn.

But a couple of potatoes and a carrot that needed to be used up provided inspiration:

Ginger Carrot Potato Hash.  I just grated up the potato and carrot, tossed it with a beaten egg and some garlic and ginger, dumped the whole mess in a skillet and fried it up.  Yum.

As usual, I filled my plate half with salad greens (tossed in seasoned rice vinegar with a few cashews) before loading on the chicken and taters.

All together, a delicious twist on a classic Sunday chicken dinner!

Today’s DRINK: What sort of wine goes well with a yuzu-tastic dinner?  Sake?

Well, we didn’t have any sake.  So this Nobilo Sauv Blanc had to stand in.

I wasn’t blown away by it, but the light, fruity wine complimented the spicy citrus flavor of the chicken nicely.

Today’s RUN: Nothing fancy today: 5 very mellow miles.  Total for the week?  Right around 46, including one track workout, a tempo run (which I don’t think I ever blogged about – but it wasn’t anything special) and a 15.5-mile long run.  Not bad for week one of taper!

Goal for this week: 35 miles, including a couple of short but high-quality speed sessions.  Long run this weekend will be <10.

Also, it looks like I’ll be running in bike shorts all week to protect my tender inner thighs.  I failed to use any sort of anti-chafing substance on Saturday’s long run.  FAIL.

Today’s QUESTION: Have you ever had yuzu?  What’s the most exotic thing you’ve cooked or eaten lately?


12 responses to “I heart yuzu

  1. i’m kind of a boring plain person when it comes to eating! i think it’s because i grew up in such a big house and not-exotic foods would please everyone. so i’ve never had yuzu. and, quite honestly, i don’t think i’d know how to cook anything exotic!

  2. I’ve never tried it…but now I want to because that looks AWESOME. I’m hungry now.

  3. I have never posted a comment here before, but besides wearing spandex, what kind of “anti-chafing” substance do you use? I love to run, but I always end up cutting my runs short because of chafing!

    • Usually Body Glide. You can get it at any running shop and some big-box sporting goods stores. I usually put it on my inner thighs, feet, inner arms, all around the “sports bra” line. Regular Vaseline works too, but Body Glide is less messy.

      Saturday I just forgot. Oops. Chafing sucks.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  4. Never had Yuzu – actually I’ve never even heard of it. I’ll totally be on the lookout for it next time I’m at an authentic Japanese place.

    Most exotic lately is probably the various Mexican things we eat. We’ll try any veggie in with fajitas, and lately we’ve been using some different kinds of peppers, various beans, and keep meaning to get some queso fresca. I know that doesn’t sound “exotic” but for Central MN some people think it is 🙂

  5. We’ve love Yuzu juice. We bought some Yuzu Juice awhile back, but I can’t think what D used it on. You can use the juice anytime you need a lemon/lime in a dish.
    Your chicken looks yummy! I can’t carve a chicken either.

  6. That potato-carrot-ginger hash looks so fancy! Come cook for me?? The most exotic thing I’ve eaten lately was lamb sausage at an Israeli restaurant last weekend.

  7. I’ve never even heard of Yuzu — sounds yummy though. Hmmm… the most exotic thing I’ve eaten recently …. I went to an even on Saturday with a chocolatier and he had pumpkin infused chocolate for fall. Not exactly exotic, but still scrumptious!

  8. Sweet, sour, and spicy? From a secret citrus fruit? I’m putting yuzu on my list of gotta-tries. This entire meal looks amazing. I am going to attempt some permutation of this carrot potato hash tonight because A. It looks scrumptious and B. it sounds like it suits my cooking skills, which are limited to throwing random ingredients in a pan and desperately hoping that they magically morph into something delicious.

  9. I’ve never heard of that but now feel compelled to try it since I love all three of those flavors. And I am long overdue to go to the Asian market since I haven’t been in ages!

  10. I’ve never had yuzu. I wouldn’t be opposed. I would have to glaze something far less sexy with it, like the dreaded tofu, but I could deal.

    Let me also point out that that tasty wine had a boring label.

    I guess I cook a lot of “exotic” things, but I don’t think of them as such. My favorite go-to meal is hot and sour braised tempeh with shiitakes and cabbage. Crazy enough?

  11. This is a weird thing to say, but that chicken looks really good in that first picture, and usually meat is really hard to photograph to look good…so…awesome!

    And now I want to try this shizz!

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