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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Taberu Rayu Cucumbers (きゅうりの食べるラー油)

It's hot here in Southern California, and the drought is so bad I'm almost afraid to do dishes. Rather than relying on fast food, chips and dip while it's too hot to cook, I'm brainstorming healthier, faster, and cooler options for a busy cook.

Like with my Togarashi Zucchini, this is a dish that is a snap to make, and is a great busy weeknight side to serve with something else prepared just as fast or pre-made. Even better, this recipe is a chilled side, which for late summer is a great treat!

This almost isn't a recipe it's that easy, but that also makes it easy to double or triple. It is also a great example of how easy and versatile taberu rayu is: making a super-tasty and healthy veggie side dish in minutes. You can turn cucumbers into a savory spicy powerhouse side with very little effort.

If you want to prep this ahead, chop the cucumber ahead of time and dress right before serving, that way if any water leeches off the cucumber in the fridge, you can drain it before adding the taberu rayu.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taberu Rayu (食べるラー油)

To explain what Taberu Rayu (食べるラー油) is, I really have to back up and explain what rayu is. Rayu is sesame oil that has been infused with chilies until it is a nice glowing orange-red. It is delicious mixed with vinegar and soy sauce as a dip for gyoza and often seen in ramen shops that serve dumplings.

Taberu Rayu, on the other hand, starts with that same hot chili oil base, but it has crunchy bits in it. Minced fried garlic, fried onion bits, sesame seeds, even bits of almonds are included for a chunky crunchy condiment that can be spooned or mixed into just about anything. On top of ramen, spooned on a bowl of plain rice, even outlandish ideas like putting it on ice cream have surfaced in Japan.