Umeboshi – pickled japanese plums.
Encountered it for the first time in an anime called “Fruits Basket“. Long story short, the main character of the anime, Tohru, was making onigiri (rice ball) for a school event, and she talked about how a person is like a onigiri with a umeboshi on the back, where you can’t see it. Read more about it here.
I have seen it sold many times in health stores, but it has always been priced so high (I remember gasping at the thought of paying more than 10 euros for a jar of about 9-10 plums).
Recently I found at Salamat, a packet of umeboshi at a decent price (less than half of what I have always seen in the health shops around Syntagma) and I grabbed it without thinking. Only as I got home that I thought “What is it that I can make with umeboshi?” I am sure I have tried it before in a maki roll, but I have never cooked or prepared anything with it. I pitted and chopped a few plums, mixed them with rice, made little onigiri balls with shredded seaweed, and had them as a snack which was nice.
The plums are very addictive! They taste sweet (fruity flavour, not the sugary type of sweet)and sour and salty at the same time!
Remember the Miso Wafu Spaghetti? I thought, maybe it’ll go well as a wafu pasta ingredient? And boy, was I right. There are other recommendations too, which I will post in the near future (I do have a lot of umeboshi that needs to be used, after all!)
Ingredients: (for 2 people)
- 2 portions of pasta (of your choice, I am using fettuccine)
- 3-4 umeboshi (and a bit of the shiso leaves that sometimes come in the packet)
- 2 tbsps of spring onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp of hot water
- 1 tsp of dashi stock granules
- 1/2 tsp of dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- half a sheet of nori (seaweed), shredded/cut into thin strips; or about 2-3 tbsps of ready-cut ones
- Remove and discard the stone/pit of the umeboshi plum, and chop the fruit into small pieces.
- In a bowl, dilute the dashi stock granules with the hot water, and then add the chopped umeboshi, chopped spring onions, olive oil, and soy sauce and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. You can even use fresh pasta, if you have some with you. Once cooked according to your preference (al dente for me, but some people like their pasta very soft). Save half a cup of cooking water, and drain the pasta.
- While pasta is still hot and steamy, in a big bowl, pour the umeboshi mix on top and toss. Add the cooking water gradually bit by bit while tossing so the mixture is nice shiny and well coated with the sauce. You will not use all the water.
- Serve, and garnish with the shredded nori seaweed.