Crunchy Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites

Can you believe that November is around the corner? Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. We feel like it was just time to go back to school and now it’s already Halloween!

Are you taking the kids out to trick-or-treat? Fill them up with something hearty before heading out—that way they won’t eat too much candy! Kikkoman’s Crispy Mac and Cheese Bites are the perfect seasonal dinner that will warm everyone up from October’s last chilly night.

For a new family favorite, check out how Chef Helen makes Crispy Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites in this video and cook alongside!

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Roasted Brine Brussels Sprouts

Can you believe we’re already halfway through October? Fall is our favorite time of year at Kikkoman and because of that, we’re in a brining state of mind! We just can’t keep that Juicy Bird out of our heads!

Thinking about the brine inspired us to bring the brine to other foods, too! Check out the Roasted Brined Brussels Sprouts below. Kikk up your everyday vegetable with a ¼ cup of Kikkoman. We promise it’ll become a family favorite!

Ingredients

2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 quarts water
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°. Trim stems and remove wilted leaves from Brussels sprouts; rinse under cold water. In a large bowl, combine the water, salt, sugar and soy sauce, stirring until all of the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add sprouts to the brine mixture (make sure they are submerged) Brine for 1 hour. Drain the Brussels sprouts, do not rinse. Toss the sprouts with olive oil and black pepper. Bake in an uncovered baking dish for 35 to 40, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, or desired doneness.

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Time to Brine!

Can you believe it’s already October? The holidays, like it or not, are just around the corner! We’ve got some one stop shopping when it comes to preparing your meal – check it out here. This holiday season, make sure your bird impresses all the guests and relatives with our savory turkey brine. Kikkoman’s soy sauce brine recipe will ensure that you cook a Juicy Bird with flavorful, fall-off-the-bone tender meat. Dive into the holiday spirit by practicing your brine on chicken! We swear, it’s the absolute easiest way to add moisture to your meat.

Our brine doesn’t discriminate—it’s good with vegetables too! Have you ever had brined brussel sprouts? Brining notoriously tough veggies will help infuse them with moisture and create an incredibly savory flavor. Soy sauce is the secret to our brine. Infusing meat and vegetables with the umami effect create an unforgettable, inexplicable flavor that is sure to wow your family and friends.

Although the stresses of holiday shopping are far from mind, rest easy knowing that Kikkoman can help you make the best meal this year!

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Asian Infusion Fish and Chips

Fall is officially here. This time of year marks the craze that is back to school and pre-holiday buzz. Dinner time calls for something quick and easy, but also cozy! Below is a tip for “kikk”-ing up the flavor of some quick food favorites that you can prepare at home:

Deep-fried: Deep-frying is a global favorite—in Brazil you’ll find the black-eyed pea fritters called acarajé); while panisses (chickpea flour “french-fries”) are a favorite in the South of France. In Naples, street stands called friggitorie specialize in deep-frying everything from potatoes to zeppole. And let’s not forget England’s fish n’ chips, best eaten hot from the fryer with a splash of malt vinegar.

Bring the warmth of a cozy pub to your home by mastering fish n’ chips tonight!

Asian Infusion Fish and Chips

Ingredients (24 servings)

9 pounds cod or other white fish, cut into 2-ounce strips

4 1/2 cups Kikkoman Lime Ponzu, plus extra for serving
12 cups Kikkoman Tempura Batter Mix, plus extra for dredging
6 pounds frozen steak fries
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Toasted sesame seed, as needed
Nori seaweed strips, as needed
Tartar Sauce (recipe below)

Instructions

Marinate fish in ponzu 20 minutes; drain and pat dry. Mix tempura batter mix with 12 cups ice water.

For each serving, to order, dredge 3 pieces fish in dry tempura batter mix, patting off excess. Dip fish in prepared tempura batter to coat completely; deep-fry in hot (350°F) oil until golden brown. Deep-fry 4 ounces steak fries in hot oil until golden brown. Arrange fish and fries in newspaper or parchment paper cone; sprinkle with sesame seed and nori strips. Serve with tartar sauce and ponzu sauce on the side.

To make Tartar Sauce, mix together 4 cups mayonnaise; 1/2 cup each roughly chopped capers, roughly chopped cornichons and diced red onion; 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 3 tablespoons Kikkoman Lime Ponzu. (Yield: 6 cups)

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Is Your Sauce Boss?

Toss your whisk into Kikkoman’s ring by visiting our Facebook page to enter the Kikkoman Master Sauce Challenge.

Show us how Kikkoman Soy Sauce is your secret weapon in your famed barbeque sauce, marinade, dressing or stir fry sauce.

Because of the more than 285 flavor and aroma components in naturally brewed Kikkoman Soy Sauce, its applications go far beyond simply using it as a condiment for take-out Chinese dishes or sushi. Kikkoman Soy Sauce acts as a subtle flavor enhancer, rounding out and heightening the other ingredients in a dish. It also contains umami, the fifth primary flavor, described as the savory and delicious qualities found in some foods, such as Parmesan and tomatoes. Umami is newly discovered by science, but long understood by our palates. When umami is balanced properly with the other four primary flavors “sweet, salty, bitter and sour” the food, whether it be pastry, pizza or pasta, is ultimately more delectable.

Make sure to join Kikkoman’s Master Sauce Challenge for the chance to win $1,000 and eternal bragging rights amongst family and friends. To enter, visit https://www.facebook.com/kikkomanskitchen/app_694076060608385

 

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Is Your Sauce Boss?

Want to have a chance to win $1,000? Before we go any further, we wanted to share with you a contest Kikkoman is holding now until September 13th. Get your game face on – The Master Sauce Contest is here! Show us what you can do with soy sauce. Share your best marinade, salad dressing, BBQ sauce or stir fry sauce recipe and you could win up to $1,000. Check out Kikkoman’s Facebook page to enter the contest. https://www.facebook.com/kikkomanskitchen/app_694076060608385

While you’re on the computer, check out our recipes under our Home Cooks section of Kikkomanusa.com. You might be surprised to find out how quick and easy it is to turn a trend, like the one we are talking about below, into a nightly staple. Tweet your favorite recipes to us and we can compare and contrast our street food fare!

Speaking of street food. Do you live in a big city? Have you seen food trucks tearing through the city streets? Street Food is one of the hottest trends in dining. But what does street food mean? Well, it’s everything from a hot dog stand on a busy Manhattan corner, a curbside chat stall in Bombay, or a pushcart peddling roasted corn on the cob slathered with chile-lime mayo on a plaza in Puerto Vallarta, to a hip Asian Taco truck or an upscale cupcake-mobile in L.A. Street food’s been around since before there were streets.

So why the sudden explosion in popularity? It’s partly due to the broadening of our horizons as it becomes easier and more popular than ever to travel to more “exotic” countries where street food is part of the culture. With the rise of food TV featuring adventurous dining and out-of-the-way specialties, travelers are seeking out more unusual dining options. Back in the U.S., immigrants are serving up ethnic street food specialties that also appeal to a broader market. It’s a great way for people to sample foods they might be intimidated to try in other countries because of the language barrier or concerns about food safety.

Inexpensive yet interesting dining options are a hot commodity in today’s economy—social media buzz from Twitter feeds and blogs drives diners to be the first to try (and “Yelp” about) a new food stand. And for cash-strapped entrepreneurs, a street food cart is a great way to start a business on a shoestring or to increase the profile of an existing restaurant.

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Dim Sum

With back to school on the horizon, meal time is perfect chance to gather the family back around the table. Shared food, shared experience—that’s what strengthens the connections between people. Food forges social bonds in every culture, but the Chinese dim sum experience takes it to a whole new level. There are countless varieties of dim sum, with new ones invented every day. In fact, there’s a teahouse in the Canton region of China that offers two thousand different dim sum on a rotating basis! Here’s a sampling of some of the more common ones you might enjoy:

Dumplings: Savory pork, seafood or vegetable filling wrapped in tender wheat or rice flour wrappers, then steamed, boiled or pan-fried—however they’re made, dumplings are ubiquitous on the dim sum cart. Pork-stuffed potstickers are pan-fried, then boiled or steamed until tender. Delicate steamed shrimp shu mai are wrapped in a thin skin that lets the pink filling show through. Chinese chives often add flavor and color to shrimp or pork-based fillings.

Breads: Bread dough is another favorite way of enclosing fillings, which are then baked, pan-fried or steamed. Bao buns, made from a raised dough filled with savory char sui pork or sweet bean or lotus seed paste, are steamed until light and fluffy. Baked bao are brushed with egg glaze to make a golden crust. Pan-fried scallion pancakes are chewy and satisfying with a flaky, layered texture.

Rice Dishes: Rice and rice flour figure in many dim sum dishes. Sheets of rice flour batter are steamed and wrapped around meat or vegetable fillings, or simply rolled and topped with sweetened soy sauce. Packets of sticky rice mixed with mushrooms, chicken, shrimp and Chinese sausage, wrapped in lotus leaves and then steamed are fun to unfold as well as to eat. Thick congee (rice porridge) makes a satisfying breakfast.

Deep-fried Dishes: Deep-frying adds satisfying crunch to breaded shrimp paste wrapped around crab claws. The same mixture, spread on toast triangles and deep-fried, is transformed into the ever-popular shrimp toast.  And who doesn’t love deep-fried spring rolls—crisp flour wrappers enclosing savory meat or vegetable fillings?

Meat: Char siu, or hoisin-marinated roast pork, fills pork bao and rice noodle sheets, enlivens sticky rice and is delicious thinly sliced on its own. Pork spareribs seasoned with soy sauce, hot chilies, garlic and fermented black beans before steaming, are rich and tender. Though pork is the meat most often found in dim sum dishes, roast duck and foil-wrapped chicken are also favorites. The more adventurous diner can sample tripe, chicken feet and even duck tongues!

Vegetables: The freshness of gai lan (Chinese broccoli), tender pea shoots or baby bok choy makes a nice contrast with dough-wrapped buns and dumplings. These greens are quickly sautéed and often finished with oyster sauce or soy sauce. Mushrooms and bell peppers are stuffed with a shrimp and pork filling, then pan-fried. Turnip cake, made with grated daikon radish, studded with scallions, cilantro and sometimes Chinese sausage, has a crunchy crust and creamy inside.

Desserts: Though sweets are not usually served after a Chinese meal, the dim sum experience is not complete without a little taste of something sweet. Typical choices include egg custard in a flaky pastry shell, refreshing mango or almond pudding, crunchy deep-fried sesame balls filled with bean paste, and beautifully cut and presented fresh fruit.

  CHINESE BBQ PORK BUNS

It’s easy to make Chinese-style pork buns, with bread dough from the refrigerator case and a quick trip to Chinatown for barbecued pork. Kikkoman Oyster Sauce and Soy Sauce add rich, umami flavor to the filling.

 

2

tablespoons vegetable oil

1

small onion, chopped

1

clove garlic, chopped

1/4

cup Kikkoman Oyster Sauce

2

tablespoons Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce

1

tablespoon sherry

1

tablespoon cornstarch

2

teaspoons sugar

1

pound Chinese barbecued pork, chopped

2

(11-ounce) packages refrigerated bread dough

 

Heat oven to 375°F. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; stir-fry until onion is soft. Remove from heat; add oyster sauce, soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch and sugar, stirring well to combine. Add pork and mix well. Divide bread dough into 16 pieces and form each piece into a 2-inch ball. Roll balls into 3-inch rounds. Place 2 tablespoons pork filling in the center of each round. Gather dough up and around filling by pleating along the edges. Place buns, sealed side down, on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes or until buns have browned.

Makes 16 buns

 

 

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Sandwiches are ideal for packing in a lunch box when you’re looking to save money—and who isn’t, these days?

If you’re bored with the same old BLT and PB & J, look beyond borders for fresh inspiration. A little research in your favorite ethnic cookbooks will reward you with great new ideas for breads, fillings, condiments and sandwich-friendly sides.

Instead of mustard, slather spicy Indian chutney on your cheese sandwich. Wrap curried egg or tuna salad in puffy tandoori naan instead of white bread. A drizzle of chimichurri, Argentina’s bold herb salsa, will transform a steak sandwich from All American to South American. If you live in a town with Asian markets, check the shelves for Korean kim chee or Japanese radish pickles, a nice change from the standard cucumber pickles.

We’ve got some additional tips from Kikkoman Kitchens and savvy foodies to give your sandwiches extra appeal: When using sliced meat, fold or crumple it to give a sandwich more visual appeal and satisfying texture. If you don’t have a sandwich press, a cast-iron grill pan works well. After putting the sandwich in the pan, place a weight, such as a light skillet, on top of the sandwich to press it down. When the first side is nicely browned, turn the sandwich over and cook the same way on the second side.

Of course, kids love sandwiches, too! Cut their favorite sandwich into fun-to-eat shapes with a large cookie cutter. Soft bread works best for this. Make grilled cheese sandwiches with grated cheese instead of sliced—the cheese will melt more evenly. Leave butter out to soften so it won’t tear the bread. When it’s spreadable, beat in some Kikkoman Soy Sauce, mustard or chopped fresh herbs for extra flavor. Crusty breads like baguettes and ciabatta can stand up to moist fillings without getting soggy, making them great for sandwiches like the muffaletta and pan bagnat. In Europe, cured meats like serrano ham, prosciutto and salami are popular in sandwiches. Because of their lower moisture and higher salt content, they keep better at room temperature than fresh meat sandwiches, making them ideal for travel or lunch boxes. Spice up back the back to school lunch pail this year—and try bringing one of these delicious sandwiches to the office for a bite of midweek relief!

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Noodles—Exploring a World of Pasta-bilities

Getting burned out on the hot grill? Return to pantry staple: the noodle. It’s hard to imagine a food more simple—or more versatile—than noodles. After all, they start with nothing more than two ingredients: flour and water. But then, the sky’s the limit! Add eggs, herbs or puréed vegetables to the dough, roll it into thin sheets and layer with cheese and sauce in lasagna. Cut the sheets into thin or fat strips, cook the fresh noodles or dry them for longer storage, or cut the sheets into rounds or squares to wrap a tasty dumpling filling in. Use a machine to form the dough into all kinds of shapes, from hats to wheels to bow-ties, then bake, boil, sauté or deep-fry. The pasta-bilities are endless!

One of the great things about noodles is their versatility—perhaps that’s why noodles are found across the globe, from steamy tropical countries to colder European climates. When temperatures rise, cold noodles are refreshing in salads or with a citrusy ponzu dipping sauce; in the colder months, noodle soups and stir-fries or a hearty noodle casserole will warm you up quickly.

Noodles are true culinary chameleons, adapting easily to the flavor palettes and agricultural products of every country. In Northern Europe and America, noodle dishes go hearty, incorporating butter, cheese and other dairy products—think of the classic macaroni and cheese casserole. In the dairy-rich north of Italy, pasta also gets the butter, cheese and cream treatment or is served with a Bolognese meat sauce, while in southern Italy, pasta is sauced with local tomatoes and olive oil. In Asia, the savory umami richness of soy sauce and fish sauce, the tang of citrus and rice vinegar, the sting of hot chiles and the sweetness of sugar all play a role in seasoning noodle dishes.

Since noodles have been around for thousands of years, it’s not surprising that they have become thoroughly steeped in superstition and folklore.

In Chinese culture, long noodles symbolize long life, and people avoid cutting noodles before serving, which would symbolize cutting life short. This tradition is especially important on auspicious occasions like the New Year’s celebration and birthdays.

In Japan, a steaming bowl of toshikoshi (year-end) soba is enjoyed on New Year’s Eve. In addition to bringing longevity because of its long shape, soba is thought to attract wealth, from the old custom of metal craftsmen using balls made of kneaded buckwheat to pick up scraps of gold and silver.

When someone moves into a new neighborhood in Japan, it’s customary to present soba to their new neighbors, since the word for soba sounds like the word that means ‘near’ or ‘next to.’

In Iran, noodle dishes are eaten when a change or important decision is imminent, since the shape of the noodles suggests the “reins” of one’s life that are about to be taken in hand.

As we mentioned before, Kikkoman Ponzu, a citrus-seasoned soy sauce and dressing, is the latest Japanese flavor to reach the shelves of American supermarkets. In Japan, it’s used as a dipping sauce to add a splash of savory flavor to hot pots or griddle-seared meats, but ponzu’s perfect balance of salty, tangy and sweet gives it the versatility to enhance all kinds of cooking.

Original Kikkoman Ponzu is seasoned with lemon juice, and now there’s also Kikkoman Lime Ponzu. Either one can be used right from the bottle as a dipping sauce or as an ingredient in dressings, marinades and sauces. Whisk ponzu with a small amount of sesame or vegetable oil to make a refreshing dressing for green salads or cold noodles. Or use it to flavor hot and sour noodle soup or to add a citrusy note to steamed fish.

Ponzu’s blend of citrus and savory flavors makes it ideal for Latin cooking, too. It’s a convenient, all-in-one marinade for carne asada or grilled chicken, and adds the sparkle of lime juice and the savor of soy sauce to mango salsa. But that’s just the beginning—try it wherever you’d use a touch of salt and citrus. The “ponzu-bilities” are endless!

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Some Like it Hot ‘N’ Sweet Fruit Salad

Chiles come in hundreds of varieties and a wide range of heat, and can be used fresh or dried, raw, roasted or cooked. With all the flavor profiles that chiles offer, cooks love to get creative combining them with other ingredients that complement or balance their taste: from sweet spices like cinnamon and vanilla to acidic flavors like vinegar and citrus—and even other spicy ingredients like fresh ginger and peppercorns.

The grassy taste of fresh green chiles like jalapeños and serranos pairs perfectly with the tartness of lime juice and the herbal flavor of cilantro.

Roasted chiles have deeper flavor notes that go well with dried oregano and toasted cumin or woodier herbs like rosemary and thyme.

A sauté of chiles, garlic and ginger is the foundation of many a Chinese stir-fry and it’s a staple of Indian cooking as well. One whiff of this aromatic trio as it cooks and you’ll know why!

Mexican mole sauce is a blend of dried chiles, sweet spices like cinnamon, dried fruits, toasted seeds and nuts, roasted fresh vegetables, and even chocolate. No wonder its heady complexity is so addictive.

Round out your summer barbecue with a trio of flavorful salads. We’ve got one right here for you: the sweet heat of a Mexican-style fruit salad goes with just about anything you care to grill. Give it a try, we promise you’ll love it!

 SOME LIKE IT HOT ‘N’ SWEET FRUIT SALAD  

4 cups strawberries, stemmed and halved

2 cups mango chunks

2 cups watermelon chunks

1 cup pineapple chunks

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons Kikkoman Lime Ponzu

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon Kikkoman Sriracha Sauce

 

In a large bowl, combine fruit. In a large jar with a lid, combine remaining ingredients and shake vigorously to blend. Refrigerate fruit and dressing until cold. Just before serving, shake dressing, pour over fruit and toss to combine.

 

Makes 8 servings

 

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