I recently attended a Cooking with Kikkkoman event at Matsuri St.James. Chef Simon Hulstone has been working with Kikkoman on a series of recipes highlighting the benefits of Kikkoman soy sauce in everyday cooking, both savoury and sweet. For example, adding some soy to your Shepherd’s pie or your Bolognese sauce. In sweet dishes, adding a little splash to your salted caramel or in a chocolate sauce/ganache.
Simon, who runs The Elephant Restaurant, Torquay, introduced us to the idea of using Kikkoman soy sauce as a seasoning. Soy sauce can be used in place of regular salt when cooking. I rarely add salt when making Asian flavoured dishes and always stick to using both soy and fish sauce to achieve my salty balance.
We bloggers also did a taste test comparing the Kikkoman brand to a lesser quality alternative. The obvious difference between the two sauces were the very dark, fakely caramel colour of the cheaper brand and the harshly salty aftertaste. Colouring is added and there is no natural fermentation process that develops the flavour over a long period of time. This is where Kikkoman differs from its rivals and I do think the quality is worth paying a few extra pennies for.
Watching Simon demonstrate his skills with superb fresh scallops flash fried on the Teppan-Yaki grill along with some tenderstem broccoli, very little else was needed, apart from the Oriental dressing created to go with the dish. Only 4 ingredients. Soy sauce, Mirin, Sesame oil and Olive oil. It was perfect in every way and I could have eaten a mountain of it. Here is the menu we enjoyed in addition to this mere appetiser. There was a feast to be had along with copious amounts of good wine and plum wine. I could hardly sleep I was so full.
Kikkoman Dinner at Matsuri St.James
Assorted Sushi & Rolls
Ginger marinated Alaskan Black Cod
Scottish Angus Dry Aged Fillet Steak
Fireball Ice Cream
Flambeed pineapple with crepes and vanilla ice cream. Flashes and flames and cookery for drama.
I would, if I could, eat Japanese food every night of the week. Preferably here in this restaurant with good wine and even better service. I suspect I would be bankrupted by this within a year, but I really could get used to this kind of dining. Dimmed lights, personal chefs cooking on a grill to order. Softly flaking chunks of gingered miso black cod, plump nuggets of tuna, salmon roe and scallop Nigiri. The Sushi, made and demonstrated personally by the chefs, followed by crisp shells of tempura with hidden gems of just cooked prawns and vegetables.
Pudding was extra fun. The female chef was the star of the night for me. A real smiling joy to watch at work. Composed, full of enthusiasm yet also an expert with large flames. She sauteed, flambeed, twizzled and turned the fruits, pancakes and ice cream with flames. A twisted fire-starter of a female chef.
Here are a few of Simon Hulstone’s Tips
-Add a few drops of Kikkoman to your meat stocks. It will bring out their flavour.
-Mix some Kikkoman with an egg yolk and glaze pastry and bread with it.
-Replace salt with Kikkoman when making your chutneys or pates this Christmas.
-Add a splash to your beans on toast.
-Yorkshire pudding batter is enhanced with a few splashes of Kikkoman.
Meeting a chef such as Simon in a venue like Matsuri will always end in pleasure and enjoyment. He is a real talent without the pomp of some who get to his position in chef (ego) land. I will be looking up The Elephant on my next visit to Devon next May, I think you should too.
Thanks to Kikkoman and Matsuri St.James for hosting and inviting me to this event.