Japanese cooking is defined by precise techniques and an attention to detail with varied ingredients. The versatile nature of Japanese food means there is plenty of opportunity for experimentation and fusion. This has led to the birth of a cooking discipline called wafu, which means ‘Japanese style.’
At its core, wafu is about bringing western food and Japanese preparation techniques together for fusion meals such as wafu pasta. I decided to combine the heartiness of Italian cooking with the elegance of Japanese ingredients by making healthy wafu pasta in a sweet tomato sake sauce served with adzuki beans and roasted nori (seaweed).
Serves 2 as a main course
Cooking time: 20 – 25 minutes
1 satchel of dashi stock powder
1 tbsp of salt
2 tsp of soy sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes
3 tsp of sake
1 can of adzuki beans
1 sheet of sushi nori
- Pour water into a pan and salt the water. Bring it to boil until bubbles start to appear on the surface and add the spaghetti. Cook on a high heat for 10 – 15 minutes until the spaghetti softens but isn’t cooked all the way through.
- Take a large, non-stick frying pan and pour in the chopped tomatoes. Drizzle in the soy sauce and dashi stock.
- Drain the can of adzuki beans in a colander and add into the chopped tomatoes. Cook for five minutes and pour in the sake. Because I wanted a sweet sauce, I used three table spoons of a dessert sake called Akashi-Tai Shiraume Umeshu. This type of sake has a fruity, plum flavour and unlocks a mixture of umami and sweet notes in the pasta sauce.
- Drain the pasta in the colander and add it to the sauce. Mix well and leave to cook for another two minutes.
- Cut the nori into small chunks and drizzle over the spaghetti for extra crunch.
The result is a pasta that’s bursting with several outstanding flavours. The adzuki beans provide a slight bitterness that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the sake-infused sauce. The nori garnish is optional but adds a little more bite.
Please note that these measurements don’t need to be followed to the letter. Experiment with your own style and see what happens. But do let me know if you make this pasta for yourself and I’d love to hear about any wafu recipes that you have!