Over the years, I’ve learned about various chile peppers from around the world, starting with my introduction to Mexican cuisine. Then, thanks to online shopping, I now have chile peppers from Peru. China, and Turkey. So much fun, cause we love spicy!
So when I saw a book entitled Red Hot Kitchen by Diana Kuan, published in 2019, I had to buy it. Inside the book cover is this: “In this completely unique cookbook, culinary instructor and food write Diana Kuan offers a flavorful education in the art of cooking with homemade Asian hot sauces. From Thai Sriracha to Indonesian sambal to Korean gochujang and other fiery favorites.”
The informative introduction in the book is fascinating. For example, did you know that Gochu chiles are used in Gochujang?! I had no idea gochujang had any chile peppers in it.
The chapters are divided by hot sauces, 9 in all, and recipes for making them from scratch. Following are recipes using that hot sauce, such as sambal oelek and nam prik pao.
One sauce caught my attention – Japanese yuzu kosho. I’ve seen yuzu on cooking shows before – it’s hard to find in the US according to Ms. Kuan. The yuzu fruit looks like a rounder, bumpier lemon, and the flavor is a cross between Meyer lemons and lime.
Yuzu kosho is made with Meyer lemons, limes, yuzu juice, jalapenos, and salt, to create a pesto-like paste. Because I’m impulsive, I went to Amazon and purchased a jar of yuzu kosho sauce. Then I decided to purchase yuzu juice as well. You can use the bottled juice and make yuzu kosho using the recipe at the end of this post. But hopefully one day I’ll find fresh yuzu.
From the book, I chose to make fish tacos topped with yuzu kosho slaw.
Spicy Fish Tacos with Yuzu Kosho Slaw
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, grated
3/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise
3 tablespoons yuzu kosho, shake well
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 corn tortillas
1 pound firm white fish filets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 avocados, thinly sliced
Cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish
2 to 3 limes, cut into wedges, for serving
Make the slaw: In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and carrot. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yuzu kosho, rice vinegar, and salt. Add the dressing to the slaw and let sit while you continue with the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 30 degrees F. Wrap the tortillas in 4 stacks of 4 tortillas each in roil. Warm the tortillas in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. (Or use a microwave with low power.)
When you’re ready to cook, lay the fish fillets on a clean work surface and brush 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top. Sprinkle evenly with the cumin, chipotle powder, salt, and black pepper. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil per batch and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the fish fillets and sear until lightly golden on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets and sear on the second side until the fish is opaque and cooked through, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm while you sear the next batch.
On a clean work surface, use a fork to shred the fish. Lay out the tortillas in 8 stacks of 2 each (doubling up the corn tortillas makes each taco sturdier).
Divide the fish, yuzu slaw, and avocado slices to make 8 tacos. Top with cilantro and serve with limes for squeezing.
I wasn’t that impressed with the yuzu kosho slaw. I’m sure if yuzu kosho is made with fresh yuzus, it’s much better. Or, just mix the Kewpie with lime juice and some hot sauce.
4 Meyer lemons
1/4 cup yuzu juice
2 fresh green jalapeños
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest the Meyer lemons and limes until you have about 1/2 cup of zest. In a mortar or food processor, combine the zest, juice, jalapenos, and salt. Grind until you have a rough yellowish green paste with a texture similar to pesto. Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for 2 or 3 days for the flavors to develop. The yuzu kosho will last in the fridge 1 to 2 months.