Piquant Post Review May 2018

I always love the when a new Piquant Post arrives in the mail. Something about seeing the trendy brown craft paper envelope stamped with the logo gets the foodie in me excited! Part of adulting in this modern age means we rarely see physical mail, and when we do it is almost certainly a bill or some advertisement for something like duct cleaning, yawn. Opening up the mailbox to find something that looks like a small gift is really exciting! Additionally, the anticipation of not knowing what region you will be visiting each month is an added level of enjoyment.

Each Piquant Post arrives with set standard items: 4 individual resealable spice packs plus 4 large printed cards that double part recipe card part regional history and culinary education. Taking a peek inside this month I can see cards and spice blends that tell me I am taking a trip to Japan and I am intrigued. The spice blends Included in this month’s pack are: Shichimchi Togarashi, Furikake, Sansho Pepper, and Japanese Curry.

The large printed cards have a suggested recipe as a starting off point plus tasting notes to help get your inner chef thought train moving, should you want to branch out and create something new. One side of the card clearly explains the “how to” for recreating the featured recipe as chosen by Piqant Post, and on the reverse, background information about the spices, t’s regional history, cultural significance, typical uses and flavour notes. Talk about an education! The information is written in a casual manner, making it accessible to all. This is not a place for food snobbery and ego. The down to earth approach creates a feeling that you’ve received some information from a friend.

This month’s Piquant Post recipes included a variety of traditional Japanese flavours to create the following dishes: Udon Noodle Soup, Okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), Black Cod with Mushrooms, and Japanese Beef Curry. I have to admit, these are recipes I am not well versed, nor have I ever tried. My experience with Japanese food and flavours comes from my personal eating experiences in restaurants so the extra information regarding flavours and typical uses gave me that small nudge I needed to start dreaming up some different ways I could play around with the blends.

Udon Noodle Soup

The Udon Noodle Soup recipe card comes with a detailed look at the importance of a good hearty broth to the soup, and make suggestions of things you can do, purchase or add to your meal so that you create the best broth possible. It also notes that you can use this spice pack in other ways, as it is a common table condiment in Japan. Not only can it be used in a soup base but it is also great anywhere you want to add a savory flavour with a peppery citrus note.

Black Cod with Mushrooms

The Black Cod with Mushrooms recipe uses the sansho pepper spice kit. Sansho pepper is a single ground pepper and leaves a tingling sensation on your tongue. It frequently is used to flavour soup broths. As it is so strong, it is used sparingly meaning that you have extra left over pepper to add to your pantry when done!

Okonomiyaki Savory Pancakes

The Okonomiyaki Savory Pancakes recipe card calls for the use of the furikake spice pack. Furikake mix is comprised of: nori, white sesame seed, black sesame seed and sea salt and adds a salty umami type crunch to the dish and can also be used to season ramen or rice.

Japanese Beef Curry

The final recipe card, Japanese Beef Curry calls for using the included japanese curry packet which is a mix of: turmeric, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, honey powder, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. With so many ingredients included you can be sure that the resulting flavour will be complex and full of depth. While the included recipe card calls for beef, this spice packet is quite versatile and can be used to make a chicken, fish or even a vegetable based curry.

Final Thoughts

All in all, another great selection from Piquant Post this month with 4 great recipe cards, a wide range of flavours and spices as well as informative history of the flavours and ideas for future use!

Jennifer Hulley – http://jenniferhulley.com

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