Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chinese New Year Recipes with @SanJTamari

I never used to like soy sauce on or with anything. Rice remained snow white on my plate, sushi went un-dipped, and the take-out packets began piling up in the pantry after a dinner in. In some respects, my leeriness of the ingredient remains - I'm not a fan of it "uncooked", for example - my rice and sushi stay plain (unless it's fried rice, of course), but I love marinated tofu (and originally, flank steak), yakitori and all kinds of saucy noodle stir fries.

For those dishes (and anything else with soy sauce as an ingredient) I love using tamari, since it has a richer, "purer" flavour unadulterated by the wheat usually present in common soy sauces. I've written before about San-J brand tamari and how it is my go-to variety - not only because it is delicious, but the smoothest and most versatile formula I've tasted (it's also non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, kosher and made without artificial preservatives or additives). For Chinese New Year (which begins on February 19), the company is sharing three new recipes from Gluten-Free Chef Carol Kicinski.
While two of them are on the savoury side of the menu (as would be expected from the salty brewed sauce), Kicinski created a sweet cookie too!

First up is a dish perfect for welcoming the Year of the Sheep - Lamb Potstickers! These delicate pastry parcels are stuffed with rich, flavourful lamb married with spicy ginger, tamari and sherry and accompanied by a flavourful tamari dipping sauce. Here's the recipe.

Lamb-Potstickers1_2

Then we have the gorgeous, vibrant and exotic Prosperous New Year Stir Fry. This vegetarian medley of marinated tofu, onion and garlic is given a tangy-sweet pop with pomegranate seeds and a fresh tang from yoghurt. I veganized my dish, leaving off the yoghurt in favour of a squeeze of lime juice, and it was absolutely divine as well! You can find all the details of the recipe here.

Prosperous-New-Year-Stir-Fry2_2

The most unusual use of tamari from Ms. Kicinski is with her Good Fortune Cookies. If you are a fan of French almond macarons, these whipped egg white and almond clouds are crowned with a whole almond and filled with an ever so slightly savoury chocolate-tamari ganache. Like the other dessert recipe on San-J's website (Cherry Chocolate Cake) this is a gluten free treat I can't wait to try out in my own kitchen (once I have a few spare moments!). For now, I'll share their recipe with my projected substitutions, and will let you know how it goes!

Good-Fortune-Cookies1_2 


Good Fortune Cookies
Adapted from San-J and Carol Kicinski
Makes 24
2 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 ½ cups finely ground almonds (almond flour) or tiger nut flour
24 blanched whole almonds
2 oz bittersweet (70% +) chocolate, chopped
2.5 oz semisweet (~60%) chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp San-J Tamari
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a spotlessly clean bowl, whip egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on high speed until soft peaks form. 
  3. Slowly stream in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is almost stiff, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the vanilla and beat 30 seconds.
  5. By hand (I find a bowl scraper useful), fold in the cocoa and almonds until well combined. The mixture will be very thick.
  6. Transfer to a piping bag or large zip-top plastic bag with the corner snipped off, and pipe 48 evenly-sized mounds of batter on the sheets. 
  7. Place a whole almond in the centre of half the cookies. 
  8. Bake for 17 minutes, until set and lightly browned. 
  9. Cool on the pan for 5-8 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Meanwhile, combine the chocolates, almond milk, almond butter and tamari in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. 
  11. Spread a layer of filling on the bottom of each "plain" meringue and place an "almond-topped" meringue on top.
  12. Serve filled cookies within a day to maintain crispness - if storing, keep meringues in an airtight, room temperature container and the filling in the fridge, assemble just before serving.
Note: San-J provided me with samples of their tamari for purposes of testing and review. All opinions are my own and I received no monetary compensation for my review.

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