Greetings sake lovers, did you ever wonder what happens to all those leftover rice solids after the sake has been filtered? You may remember from previous articles that these solids are called Kasu in Japanese, lees in English. What might be thought of as a throwaway item, is in actual fact highly sought after for its health and beauty benefits, especially among women.
Sake kasu can also be added in cooking to thicken soups and add more of the umami factor. Of course it’s this that we sake aficionados are most interested. In this article we bring you 7 recipes for side dishes that are the perfect match for sake, thanks to a little added essence of sake.
What is Sake Kasu
First a few more facts about sake lees.
In a typical sake production, 25% of the white rice will be left behind as lees. This is completely intentional on the brewer’s part; the more the rice breaks up and imparts peptides, amino acids, vitamins into the end sake the richer it will be and this is not always so desirable, especially not in today’s delicate-flavour obsessed sake industry. However what doesn’t end up in the bottle remains in the lees. In other words, kasu has plenty of potential as a cooking ingredient.
Ah, but before we get your taste buds tingling, let’s have a quick look at those health and beauty benefits in a little more detail.
Effective against acne and blotches. Helps to keep your skin beautiful. This is the reason why brewers have such beautiful skin.
Effective against wrinkles and dulling in skin colour. Again, helps keep a beautiful complexion.
The holy grail (anti aging) compound in Kasu.
Scientists have discovered that because sake kasu has a similar effect to insulin it helps prevent diabetes and helps you lose weight.
It’s also full of fibre, so works as a laxative.
It’s also effective in cancer prevention, allergies, and even Osteoporosis.
Merits of Using Kasu in Cooking
As well as adding umami, there are a number of other merits of adding kasu in cooking.
1. It contains 500 times more amino acid than rice, essential proteins for body building and 9 types of essential amino acids.
2. Alcohol from the yeast and lactic acid from the lactic acid bacteria have killed off all the other microbes increasing its storage stability.
3. Rich in enzymes and amino acid, it’s highly nutritious.
4.The enzymes aid digestion and help prevent constipation.
5. Lowers cholesterol and keeps blood flowing freely.
7 of the Best Recipes for Using Kasu
Note: Kasu is sold in one of two forms depending on how the sake was pressed: using a Yabuta or using a more traditional fune; as a paste for the latter and in sheets for the former. If you get the kasu in sheets, you might first have to turn it into a paste to use in the below recipes. We have specified which type you require for each.
First up is a recipe for sweet sake that is also a great way to beat the heat in the summer.
|Ginger(Grated、squeezed juice)||Personal preference|
Method (this recipe uses kasu that comes in sheets)
1. Cut the kasu up into thin strips so that it melts easier.
2. Put the sake kasu and water in a pot and leave overnight. Add more kasu the next morning.
3. Put the pot on the heat and melt the kasu.
Tip: Sake kasu contains approx 8% alcohol, so it is best to boil away the alcohol for kids and the alcohol intolerant. Or, If it’s that sake aroma you want, keep the heat low (boiling point of alcohol is around 78 degrees.)
4. A strainer may help to remove any lumps.
Tip: if you use a strainer and boil the kasu will melt much quicker so no need to leave overnight beforehand.
5. Once the kasu has melted, add salt and sugar to taste and simmer for little while longer.
Top off with ginger and perhaps a dash of cinnamon. It’s delish!
Next up is a deliriously moreish recipe for kasu pretzels
|Sake Kasu(any type will do)||70g|
|Stock (Consome brand by Ajinomoto)||Teaspoon 1/2|
1. Put everything apart from the salt in a bowl
Tip: Bring the kasu up to room temperature to soften.
2. Knead everything until it is evenly mixed.
3. Spread out the dough using a roller to a 3-5mm thickness.
4. Take the dough and cut it up into 2-3mm thick sticks.
5. Heat an oven to 160℃ and heat the sticks for 10 minutes.
Tip: Some ovens are more powerful so best to check the sticks 2 minutes before the end to make sure they don’t burn. If they look like burning, cover in foil.
6. Cover the sticks in salt and let them cool down for a while before serving.
Transform simple ingredients into a more, adult tasty sake-pairing morsel: Avocado pickled in sake lees
|Sake Kasu (paste type)||ample|
1. Destone and cut the avocado up into half lengthways. Cut up further into bite sized chunks.
2. Press the sake kasu into an air-tight container and cover with the avocado.
Tip: Lightly bury the the avocado in the sake kasu to prevent it from making contact with air and oxidizing.
3. Fold the kasu over the avocado until it is completely covered. Close the container and put in the fridge for about half a day to one day.
4. Remove the pickled avocado from the kasu.
Tip: Be careful not to crumble the avocado when you remove.
5. Lightly dust the surface of the avocado with salt and grill or broil until the surface is golden brown.
Tip: if using a grill, 5 minutes on a low heat should be enough.
6. Lay out on your favourite plate and finish with a splattering or two of soy sauce and perhaps a few bonito flakes.
Super simple rich smooth sake kasu dip
Ingredients（1 dipping dish）
|Sake Kasu (any type)||2 Tablespoons|
|Cream Cheese||2 Tablespoons|
|Something to spread (crackers)|
1. Put everything in a bowl.
Tip: Add more or less honey to suit depending on the sweetness of your tooth
2. Mix until the kasu becomes smooth.
Tip: if using the sheet type kasu, sprinkle with a little water beforehand to turn into a paste.
3. Place everything in your dipping dish and spread onto your favourite cracker or buscuit.
Add other ingredients on top for a great, simple canape to pair with sake that can be prepared with just minutes to spare. We recommend olives, smoked salmon, Italian ham and fruits.
Taste like rare cheese cake ! A scrumptious adult sake kasu pound cake.
Ingredients（1 18cm cake）
|Sake Kasu (any type)||70g|
|Milk(alt: water or tofu milk)||70g|
And a pound cake mould
1. Mix the kasu and milk and create a paste.
Tip: If you are using the paste type kasu, reduce amount of milk.
2. Preheat an oven to 180℃, break eggs into bowl and whisk until bubbles form.
3. Add sugar to the whisked eggs followed by milk and vegetable oil and mix well.
4. Add the kasu paste and mix until smooth.
5. Sift the flour onto the paste and mix with a wooden spatula as if you are cutting through the mixture.
6. Put the mixture the pound cake mould and bake at around 160℃ for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Tip: Poke the middle with a toothpick or fork to test doneness. If it comes out clean, it is done. Try not to overbake.
7. Remove from the mould and wrap and leave overnight.
If only every day could be a cake day!
Cheesy delight! Tofu pickled in sake kasu
|Sake kasu (Paste type)||3 tablespoons|
1. Tip out the water from the tofu and leave for about 2-3 hours on a plate covered with cling film.
2. Mix the miso and sake kasu to create a paste.
3. Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper and lay out onto the bottom of an air-tight container. Lather on the miso paste.
4. Fold in the miso-kasu paste until the tofu is complete enveloped by it.
Put in the fridge for 7 days. Remove from the kitchen paper and season to taste. A splash or two of soy sauce completes the dish.
Tip: the longer the kasu is left to pickle the tofu, the richer the flavour will be. Leave a little longer for 2 weeks for an absolute umami bomb.
Cheesy kasu crackers for when you can’t resist the munchies
|Sake Kasu (any type)||50g|
|Olive Oil||2 Tablespoons|
|Black pepper / sesame seeds||To taste|
1. Put the kasu, flour and salt into a bowl and mix with a blender.
2. Add vegetable oil and blend some more until you have evenly sized pieces..
Tip: if you want to create different flavours, separate the mixture into batches here and add the various other ingredients such as parsley, etc.
3. Once the mixture is like minced meat, add water and bring all the mixture together.
Tip: Add the water gradually and be careful that the mixture does not become to sticky. The objective is to get all the mixture into one big dough.
4. Take the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 2mm thick. Cut into quarters and poke little holes into each with a fork.
Tip: the holes prevent the dough from rising in the oven
5. Lay a cooking sheet out onto a chopping board and arrange the little kasu tartlets you have created.
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180℃ and then leave inside to cool.
Tip: baking time will depend on thickness of tartlets. Bake until golden brown.
How to store sake kasu
Thanks to the high content of alcohol, sake kasu doesn’t really have a shelf life. That being said, its colour changes over time so best to use up within 3-6 months. It will keep for upwards to a year in the freezer. The freezer is best if you prefer a sweeter flavour.
Don’t worry about the little holes in the packet, this is to let the enzymes and microbes which are still very much alive in the kasu breathe.
Separate the kasu into smaller bags and seal with a tie to keep the kasu as fresh as the day you bought it.
Why not try one of the above recipes and bring it along to share with your friends at KURAND and pair with our selection of over 100 different sake, shochu and plum wine.
We look forward to welcoming you soon!