What is RAYU and what would I do with it?
I was at a Japanese-inspired restaurant the other day (as opposed to a Japanese restaurant), and we were served shrimp in a rayu-chili sauce. It was a tasty dish and I enjoyed it, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what "RAYU" is.
So, my question is, does anyone know what RAYU might be? And what would I do with it if I had it (aside from making shrimp in rayu-chili sauce)?
I know I'm reallly late in the game, but I'll post just in case anyone googles/零度es for Rayu.
I think LarsT's got it right, especially if you're going for 'traditional' Japanese Rayu.
Very gently heat a non-volatile oil with spices, let cool. Add your sesame oil.
Store in sterile glass container, let rest for at least a few days to mellow.
Rayu has its origins in China, where you might find a lot more solids in the oil.
This type of Rayu is also popular in Japan, often called 'eatable Rayu.'
In this case, you can add your choice of
something fermented (1): miso (without MS or added dashi), kotchujan, shredded zaasai
something fragrant (2+): leeks, garlic, ginger, onions, all shredded or minced
something spicy: chili (I like to use a combination of Korean chili and JP chili for a good balance in aroma and zing), sichuan pepper, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves, cinnamon.
Whatever you do, take care not to
burn yourself with the hot oil,
stare at your pot with its gently simmering spices and oil from above no matter how good it smells because it will be as painful as the above,
and of course, not to add the sesame oil until after you're done with the simmering. The fragrant oil will lose its 'nose' if you over heat it, so the best course to take is to wait until the hot oil has become luke-warm before adding it.
Ra-yu is also called La-yu, and you might find more info searching under that name. My bottle is almost empty, but I will make my own rather than buy more. The English label came off my bottle, and so now it only has Japanese on it, but I plan to make it with sesame oil, dried red chilies (chile de arbol and piquin peppers), grape seed oil, and perhaps some Korean chili powder. I steep them red chilies (without seeds) in oil that has been heated for 20-30 minutes, strain the oil and then adjust the flavor with grape seed oil and/or Korean chili powder. It should be extremely hot so that you will only need to use a few drops at a time. I like to add it to soups but I have also used it in stir fries.
I was watching a Japanese show where they were showing a man who makes rayu sauce and searched on the internet to find out the names of all the ingredients in English. That is how I came across this site. He maked rayu from a mixture of chilis, ground turmeric, dried and ground aloe, guava leaves, and takonomi (grown natively on the island that sorta resembles a pineapple but when you cut it up, inside are peanut-like seeds and that is what he used). I am trying to figure out what takonomi is and which island it was as I think I may have seen takonomi on a recent trip to Okinawa. Perhaps there was another ingredient but this is all I remember. (You can do a google image search to see what takonomi looks like.)
I use it for gyoza sauce with soy sauce and vinegar. Also, when I make a hot and sour soup I pour this on top just before eating.
For a quick soup that packs a punch, I make an egg drop soup based on chicken broth and egg, thicken it with some cornstarch, and then splash it with soy, vinegar and rayu.