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Mar 23, 2009 05:17 PM

Japanese Salad Dressing - what to do differently?

My recipes involves light miso, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, a little ketchup, fresh ground ginger, salt/pepper. Its good but its not exactly like the type I have tasted in restaurants. It seems like there is a flavor profile or pop that I am missing. I mix the ingredients such that the texture is just right so I know its not diluted down or anything but it is definitely missing something. Anyone know what the secret is?

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    1. re: alkapal

      I added honey the time before, still not the right taste.

      1. re: cups123

        honey has a flavor though. sugar is just sweet.

        also, lemon juice *and* rice wine vinegar? what about nixing the lemon? oh, i see the benihana dressing recipe has both, plus a bunch of other things:

        this may give you further leads:
        or this:

        and i guess you've googled, too:

        1. re: alkapal

          If I make a large batch of this and keep it in the frig, given the ingredients like miso, how long will it stay fresh for?

          1. re: cups123

            i'd venture at least a week. but why make a big batch if you're still experimenting for the elusive flavor? i love those light gingery dressings. i always feel so virtuous! ;-).

            good luck, and please let us know what you discover.

    2. Here's a secret that I've scaled down for home use (still makes a lot):

      A big fat carrot, peeled and cut up.
      An orange, peeled and seeded and cut up.
      A lemon, peeled and seeded and cut up.
      Fresh peeled ginger root, about 1 cup coarsely cut (across the grain) in 1/2" pieces
      1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
      2 Tbs dark amber sesame oil (not the clear stuff)
      A large can of crushed pineapple in juice

      Place the contents in batches in the blender and liquefy (don't fill blender more than 1/2 full with each batch) Mix together. Let mellow for a day.


      8 Replies
      1. re: shaogo

        toasted sesame oil, right? i love that flavor, too. i just used some tonight on my braised baby bok choy.

        i'll bet your dressing would be great on veggies like that, too. add some rice to eat it with, and that is some nice dining, i'd imagine!

        1. re: alkapal

          Yes, toasted. A hint: if you have an oriental market nearby, a quart of this stuff's just a few dollars. In a regular ("Stop & Shop") supermarket's "Asian" section, only 8 oz. of this stuff is $4.99 or so -- it pays to look. The same holds true for the ginger, and it's fresher at the oriental market, too.

          1. re: shaogo

            luckily, we have many asian groceries around here. i buy the kadoya, and probably pay less than $4 for the mid-size container -- maybe the 11 ounce size...

            i wouldn't use enough to justify a quart.

            1. re: alkapal

              I find that the freshest ginger is from the Asian markets. At the market I go to, they package a bunch of ginger roots in a plastic bag and sell the whole bag for $1. Otherwise, it's about 50cents/lb loose. I store it in the freezer and take it out as I need it. I've also found soy sauce, tofu, and Asian noodles really cheap.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                nice price on ginger! have you ever tried the "store it in sherry" technique?

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    well, i haven't tried it either. apparently it lasts well if you peel it, cut into sections, and then put in a glass jar covered with sherry -- in the fridge, i think. i have not had luck with freezing it.


                    1. re: alkapal

                      after passover, the search is on for good kosher sherry. will let you know if i try it and how it works out.

      2. Huh!!??????

        Toast sesame seeds and grind to a paste. Add bit of vinegar / lime juice, sugar, salt, black pepper, finely chopped scallion or young green onion, and bitof ground fresh ginger.

        No ketchup, miso; no need for rice wine vinegar.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          why no miso? I am pretty sure i taste it. At the restaurant I go to the dressing is orange, so I figured there was some tomato paste/ketchup product in it that when diluted turned that color.

          1. re: cups123

            Sorry, I was thinking you wanted a now rather classic Japanese dressing. Please let me know when you get the recipe you're looking for.

          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Yukuri reminded me below: yes, my recipe includes (very) reduced chicken stock! I had forgotten.

          3. It sounds like you may be looking to imitate the grated carrot dressing that a lot of American sushi places use (as far as I know, this is a completely American innovation, and it's quite regional... I had not encountered it all that often in CA, but somehow I encounter it practically everywhere in the Northeast)

            There were a thread with a variety of options here:
            The "Ichiban" one seems similar to what you're going for. (I've never heard of ketchup in it either, but indeed, that's what they say!


            A more popular miso dressing in Japan is miso+mayo combination: stir some miso and a bit of vinegar into Japanese style salad mayo (e.g., Kewpie brand), with a sprinkle of sugar to taste.

            1. i make a carrot ginger dressing at home. i don't measure it so i'll do my best to articulate the proportions. also don't forget to steam the carrots. it brings out the sugar and makes the dressing sweeter. as for the acid, i like to use a variety. i also use olive oil. it adds a nice twist to the taste. as with all dressings combine then add more of an ingredient if deemed necessary. i also make this in my mini cuisinart.

              1 medium carrot sliced then steamed in the microwave for 2 minutes
              3 slices of ginger chopped
              1 clove of small garlic
              1/4 cup of water
              1 tbsp of honey or some superfine sugar
              juice of 1 large juicy lime or rice vinegar or lemon or yuzu
              1-2 tbsp white or red miso
              a sprinkle of sea salt
              1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
              1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

              combine everything in the mini cuisinart

              3 Replies
              1. re: trolley

                I do something similar with most of your ingredients (when they are on hand and in varying ratios), but I also whirr up some tofu along with the rest (heavier on the miso, negligent on the oil, and maybe with some fresh red bell pepper) in the FP. It makes a lovely texture without the mayo.

                To be honest, I've even used some ricotta when I've been caught short. Works beautifully.


                1. re: cayjohan

                  mmmmm...what a great idea with the tofu! i'll have to try that. i'm trying to avoid dairy so i'd skip on the ricotta but that sounds interesting as well.

                2. re: trolley

                  Minus the carrot and miso and this is splashed on a lot of things at our table too trolley. I usually add minced scallion and soy sauce (and often a squirt of chili oil) - but I never measure...