food forum

JAPANESE STYLE Vol. 32 No. 4 January 2019

Wafu Dressing

Wafu dressings are versatile enough to use as seasonings and in marinades.

A wide range of salad dressings are marketed in Japan, but it was only in the late 1950s that Western-style dressings debuted here. In the late 1970s, wafu “Japanese-style” dressing was introduced, consisting of mainly soy sauce, vinegar and vegetable oil. This launched a variety of wafu dressings flavored with traditional ingredients targeting Japanese tastes. Today’s wafu dressing varieties include shiso (perilla leaf), sesame, yuzu citrus, grated ginger, or grated daikon Japanese radish—most of which are added to a fundamental base of soy sauce, vinegar and vegetable oil. Good not only on salads, wafu dressings are also excellent as seasonings, enhancing the flavor of most ingredients and adding richness to a recipe. For instance, shiso dressing adds a unique flavor to udon or soba salad sauce. A flavorful wafu dressing can be used to marinate cucumber, cabbage and carrot to make lightly pickled vegetables (asazuke), while grated daikon radish dressing might accompany shabu-shabu hot pot. Wafu dressings are versatile in meat-based recipes as well. Marinate any meat in a wafu dressing, and its oil helps the flavor to gently penetrate the meat, while the vinegar tenderizes the meat.

Vol. 32

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