By Request


Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Butterfish, left, and salmon were grilled with sake kasu.

Home-style butterfish
recipe carries the
faint flavor of sake

Kasuzuke is the lesser-known cousin of misozuke, as in Misozuke Butterfish, that well-loved, slightly sweet pairing of fish and miso.

Kasuzuke incorporates sake kasu -- or sake lees, a byproduct of the sake-making process. It's a light, pasty substance that resembles miso, and if it doesn't sound all that attractive, remember that miso is really fermented soy bean paste.

Mary T. Miyashiro has been searching Japanese cookbooks for a Kasuzuke Butterfish recipe and asked for help.

It seems that sake kasu dishes are common home-style cooking in Japan, but recipes are nowhere near as easy to find as those for miso, at least not in English-language cookbooks.

So, rather than expend more time with the printed word, I took the easy way out and asked a chef, Hiroshi Fukui of L'Uraku. It was easy for me, anyway. Turns out Fukui doesn't use sake kasu at his restaurant, but agreed to experiment with a batch. It was a further-pursuit-of-knowledge kind of thing.

He says kasu is frequently used in Japan with fish, especially salmon, as well as in soups and to make pickles. It is more subtle than miso and so requires more sugar and salt to bring out the flavor. That flavor is vaguely boozy, by the way -- remember, the root ingredient here is sake, which is way more potent in terms of alcohol than wine. Do not serve to someone who is sensitive or allergic to alcohol.

Find sake kasu at Japanese markets, refrigerated near the miso. It's pretty cheap. You can buy it in bulk at Marukai for $5 and less for 5 pounds, but Fukui prefers a type that's pressed into sheets and sells for about $3 a pound at Daiei.

This recipe can be made with the salmon in place of the gindara, or butterfish.

Gindara Kasuzuke

4 6-ounce butterfish fillets
>> Marinade:
6 ounces (2/3 cup) sake kasu
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) mirin
8 ounces (1 cup) water
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons grated ginger

Combine marinade ingredients well. Marinate fish, refrigerate at least 18 hours.

Broil fillets 8 to 10 minutes.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 460 calories, 18 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 140 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,400 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 38 g protein.*

A COUPLE of requests have come in lately for mochi made with fresh kabocha pumpkin. Here's one that makes fried andagi-style mochi balls:

Pumpkin Mochi

2 10-ounce packages mochiko
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup shredded pumpkin or squash
2-1/2 cups coconut milk
Oil for frying

Combine mochiko, pumpkin and sugar. Add coconut milk gradually, while stirring. Dough should be soft enough to form wet balls; add more coconut milk if necessary. Drop by tablespoons into hot oil. Fry until golden.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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