Karashi-ae dressing is a Japanese mustard dressing which is made with mustard, soy sauce and dashi stock. It has a kick of hot mustard but is quite light as it does not use oil at all unlike most Western salad dressings. I used broccolini today but you can use other vegetables.
Karashi-ae (辛子和え) means “dressed in mustard dressing” and is one of many dishes referred to as aemono dishes which means “food which are dressed or seasoned”. Karashi (辛子) means mustard so when a dish is dressed with a dressing made with mustard, it is called “karashi-ae”, ie. karashi + ae (和え, referring to aemono dishes).
Applying this same rule to other dishes, if it is a sesame based dressing, then it is called goma-ae (胡麻和え), being goma (胡麻 sesame) + ae.
There are many other aemono in Japanese dishes and the following are the common aemono.
- Karashi-ae (辛子和え) – Japanese mustard based
- Goma-ae (胡麻和え) – sesame based
- Miso-ae (味噌和え) – miso based
- Sumiso-ae (酢味噌和え) – vinegar and miso based
- Ume-ae (梅和え) – pickled sour plum based
- Shira-ae (白和え) – tofu based
- Unohana-ae (卯の花和え) – soy pulp (soybean curd refuse) based
I wanted to use few stems of broccolini for my next post “Sakamushi Fish”. When I went to the nearby Harris Farms Market, broccolini was on sale so I bought few bunches. Since I only used a couple of stems for the next post, I decided to make karashi-ae with broccolini.
Karashi (辛子, Japanese mustard)
In Japan, Japanese mustard is called karashi while Western style mustards are generically called “masutardo” (マスタード) to distinguish them from the Japanese mustard. The taste is quite different compared to Western style mustards. It is quite hot and I think that it is twice as hot as Hot English mustard. It is so sharp that when you eat even a small amount of karashi, it gets to your noze! But only momentarily.
Karashi is just plain powdered mustard seeds. When I was young, karashi was only sold as powder in a tiny tin. You simply mix the powder and water/ lukewarm water to make karashi paste. But these days karashi in a paste form is sold in a tube like the photo below.
Karashi is the household item in Japan and used in many dishes not only as condiments but also to add extra kick to the dressings. You can buy karashi at Japanese/Asian grocery stores.
If you cannot find karashi, you can use Hot English mustard instead. The flavour of the dressing would be slightly different but it still tastes good. American mustard and Dijon mustard are not suited for this dish.
In Japan, if you mention karashi-ae, most people will think of nanohana ( 菜の花, grapeseed or field mustard) as the vegetable the dressing is used for. It is one of the spring vegetables and when nanohana starts appearing at the stores, people know that spring has come.
I have not seen field mustard in Sydney so I substitute it with other green vegetables. Instead of broccolini, you could use spinach, green beans, Chinese choy sum, Chinese broccoli.
There is no oil in the dressing, just mustard, dashi and soy sauce. It is so simple to make and flavoursome. When you eat it, you will get a sharp kick of hot mustard momentarily but that is what makes this salad so unique.
I served karashi-ae on two plates as salad for individual. But this can be served as appetiser in which case, you can have up to 6 servings. I have tiny bowls which can be used to serve sides like this. They are called kobachi (小鉢). It would not have much use when you cook Western style meals but I find that small bowls like these are handy to have when you have large number of people and need to spread nibbles like peanuts in various places on the table.
The diameter of these kobach is about 9cm/3½”. When I bought them, they came with a set of 6 with different shapes and patterns and I thought they were quite cute. You might have noticed in my previous posts but I even use the top left kobachi for sauce and dressings.
- 200g (0.4lb) broccolini (Note 1)
Mix the Dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Ensure that mustard is completely dissolved with no lumps.
Boil sufficient water in a large pot with a pinch of salt. Add broccolini to the pot and boil for 2-3 minutes until stems are tender.
Drain and run under cold water to quickly cool them down.
Cut the broccolini into 5cm (2"). Squeeze as much water out of the broccolini as possible and put them in the bowl with the dressing.
Mix well ensuring that all the broccolini pieces are coated with the mustard dressing.
Serve in a large bowl/plates as salad or individual small bowls if serving as appetiser.
1. You can substitute broccolini with spinach, green beans, Chinese choy sum, Chinese broccoli, or even cabbage.
2. Please refer to Home Style Japanese Dashi Stock for how to make dashi stock. If you are a vegetarian, please use konbu dashi stock.
3. Karashi is different from the Western style mustard and it does not contain acidity nor spices. It is quite hot but the kick from the spice does not last at all unlike chillies. You can buy a tube of karashi mustard at Asina/Japanese grocery stores. But if you cannot find it, you can substitute with hot English mustard or hot mustard. American mustard and Dijon mustard are not suited.