The tube of yuzu paste a friend brought me back from Japan a few months ago had been mocking me from the refrigerator door for several months. It was something I’d never encountered before; it has in intriguing sweetly sour, citrus and chili flavor that seemed would be perfect in something. I just didn’t know what, and because of the small tube size, I didn’t want any to go to waste in failed experiments. But this weekend I needed a fast and simple dinner improvised a stir-fry that goes down as The Best Stir Fry Recipe Ever. All I used was is cooked rice, a bit of olive oil, a shallot, ham, frozen peas – and the yuzu paste, literally the only seasoning. It was perfect – just enough heat to get your attention, and just enough citrus to add a pop. I actually made this twice because everyone liked it so much. To be honest, the only reason I used ham and peas is because that’s what was on hand. Ham steak leftover from Friday night pizza night, and I frozen peas as part of my basic stock – not because I think they are particularly delicious, but because they make good ice packs for cold therapy. Fortunately this was an unused bag. And equally fortunately, it turns out I can easily buy more through Amazon. It’s called yuzu kosho, or yuzu and peppers, and the ingredients are yuzu, green chili peppers, and salt. Mmmm.
Turns out yuzu paste aficionados have some illustrious company – Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto integrates the ingredient into recipes at his eponymous New York City restaurant. It really is a fresh new happy flavor – I highly recommend trying some out to give your meals a lift. And when you’re ready to try something a bit more traditional, check out this recipe from the Japanese Food Report.
Stir-Fried Ham and Peas with Yuzu
(scroll to the bottom of the page for a printable version of this recipe)
1. First you need to cook your rice. Here are my basic rice recipes; my versions of John Thorne’s basic rice recipe from his book Pot on the Fire. I’m partial to brown rice cooked in broth, and that is what I used for this dish. The stir-fry wisdom calls to make the rice a day ahead of time. This dish was equally delicious either way.
Brown rice: put 3 cups brown rice in a pot with 5-1/4 cups water, chicken, or vegetable broth (1-3/4 cups liquid for each up of rice) and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Without taking off the lid, reduce heat to simmer. Set the timer for 45 minutes and leave it alone. Then turn off the heat, take off the lid, and fluff with a fork. Cover and set it aside to finish cooking for another 10 minutes before you use it. White rice: put 3 cups white rice in a pot with 5-1/4 cups water, chicken, or vegetable broth (1-3/4 cups liquid for each up of rice) and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Without taking off the lid, reduce heat to simmer. Set the timer for 16 minutes and leave it alone. Then turn off the heat, take off the lid, and fluff with a fork. Cover and set it aside to finish cooking for another 10 minutes before you use it. (I’ve found you can make a mixture of half brown and half white rice; use the brown rice cooking times and the white rice will not suffer.)
2. Now take out a wok or skillet, heat it, and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 large minced shallot and sauté for a few minutes. Next, add 1 cup cubed ham steak and cook until it has a nice color.
3. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 cup frozen peas.
4. Add 2 cups cooked rice.
5. Add 1 tsp yuzu paste and stir together well. Toss together on high heat and serve on warm plates. (you will have leftover rice. Store it covered in the fridge – you’ll love this so much you will be ready to make another batch very soon.)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large minced shallot
- 1 cup cubed ham steak
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 tsp green yuzu paste
- Take your wok or skillet, heat it on medium-high, and add 1 tbsp olive oil.
- When olive oil is hot, add the minced shallot and sauté for a 2-3 minutes. Next add 1 cup cubed ham steak and cook until it is nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes
- Reduce heat to medium and add 1 cup frozen peas.
- Stir frequently until peas are hot and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add 2 cups cooked rice. Stir 1 minutes
- Add 1 tsp yuzu paste and stir together well.
- Turn heat back to medium-high and toss together for 1 - 2 minute.
- Serve on warm plates.