I love to try new foods and experiment with flavours, so when I received a hamper from Yutaka containing lots of lovely Yutaka items, I was excited to get my cooking hat on! For those of you who are reading and do not know, Yutaka is a Japanese food brand created by the chef Ching He Huang. The Yutaka range of authentic Japanese food products was introduced to the UK in 1995, and includes many different types of ingredients such as sushi kits, rice, variety of noodles, marinades and pastes to name a few. You can find a range of Yutaka products here.
I was asked to review their products and cook my very own Japanese meal as well as create some manly truffles. It is a Japanese tradition for women to give men chocolate on Valentines Day – and not just partners receive chocolate – it can be family members, friends or work colleagues. Yutaka want to open up this tradition in the UK and showcase some of their own truffle recipes for us to try.
Firstly, I used the necessary ingredients to make a wholesome Japanese meal that I knew both myself and my husband would enjoy. I used the Soybean noodles and marinated some chicken thighs in the Yakisoba sauce. I used the Tamari Soy sauce to season the noodles and topped off the chicken with the white roasted sesame seeds.
We found the noodles to be so full of flavour and the Yakisoba sauce rich and sweet giving the chicken a sticky coating which went so well with the noodles. The soy was light and not to heavy and the toasted sesame seeds was a nice added element. The soybean noodles are suitable for vegetarians as well as gluten-free and are high in fibre and protein. These were our favourite! Using these ingredients was super easy and a great combination of flavours. I love asian food and had yet to try cooking Japanese at home so this was a real treat!
I then attempted the Japanese chocolate truffles. I have never made truffles in my life so did feel a little daunted by this task! But I was pleasantly surprised with how I enjoyed doing it and found it quite easy with the recipe Yutaka provided.
I was given 250g dark chocolate, Yuzu Ponzu, sushi ginger, shaoxing rice wine, panko breadcrumbs, organic miso paste and Yukata Japanese curry block.
I made four different flavours using the ingredients provided all bar the shaoxing rice wine flavour as I had run out of chocolate.
-Miso Caramel – think salted caramel with a twist
-Cinnamon Curry – a spicy truffle with crunchy, toasted panko
-Yuzu Soy – yuzu and soy give this a sweet and salty appeal
-Shaoxing Wine – a boozy hit
-Sushi Ginger – chocolate & ginger with the surprising tang of pickle
- 200g of good quality dark chocolate
- 60ml of double cream
- 80g of unsalted butter
- truffle cases (I didn’t use and just placed truffles on a wooden board
In a double saucepan (or a Pyrex bowl in a saucepan), place chocolate, butter and cream. Heat through slowly until smooth whilst whisking. Remove from heat and divide into 5 equal portions, adding the various flavourings to each individual portion as below. Once flavoured, place in the fridge to set – overnight if possible.
Remove the various truffle mixes from the fridge and, with a teaspoon, scoop out a goodly amount. Roll into a ball and place on a plate (remembering to keep the various flavours separate) and continue until all the mixture has been used.
Filling and coating ingredients
Miso caramel sauce filling
50ml double cream
1 tbsp Yutaka Miso
100g milk chocolate – gently melted for coating
Pink salt crystals for sprinkling on the top
Miso caramel flavouring method
Put sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir and leave on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel in colour. Carefully add double cream (it will hiss a little) and whisk whilst off the heat, add miso paste and whisk thoroughly until smooth. Add 2 tbsp of miso caramel sauce to the remaining truffle mixture. The remainder of the sauce saved and used over ice cream for a delicious dessert.
Cinnamon curry flavour
1 tsp of Yutaka Japanese Curry block mixed with hot water
50g of Yutaka Panko Breadcrumbs mixed with 3 teaspoons of sugar & 2 teaspoon of cinnamon toasted in oven until golden brown
1.5 tsp Yuzu Ponzu
Flaked milk chocolate for coating
Yutaka Shoaling rice wine flavouring
2 tbsp Yutaka Shaoxing rice wine warmed
Chocolate vermicelli for coating
Yutaka Pickled sushi ginger flavouring
2 tbsp chopped Yutaka sushi ginger
Cocoa for coating
Once all flavours have been added and you’ve cooled in the fridge, remove the various truffle mixes from the fridge and, with a teaspoon, scoop out a goodly amount. Roll into a ball and place on a plate (remembering to keep the various flavours separate) and continue until all the mixture has been used.
Coating the Truffles
Roll the ginger truffles in cocoa and place in truffle cases. Roll the Yuzu Ponzu in flaked milk chocolate, the katsu in the toasted panko and the rice wine truffles in vermicelli and return to fridge.
For the Miso truffles, using a double boiler (or Pyrex bowl in a saucepan) melt the milk chocolate over a low heat and, when removed from the heat & cooled slightly, spoon over miso truffles until coated. You can use a cocktail stick pushed carefully into a truffle to help you turn and coat with the chocolate. This needs patience! Leave them to set on a plate. Sprinkle a couple of pink salt crystals on the top.
I found these quite easy to make but struggled with the caramel sauce – it just wouldn’t turn into a caramel and was turning more into a sugar paste. After three attempts I eventually got there and it was really tasty! My husband really enjoyed most flavours aside from the ginger but his favourite was the curry chocolate! Mine was the Yuzu Ponzu as I could get the citrus flavour through the chocolate which was really tasty!
So if you’re looking to cook for Valentines day or try something different and give these homemade chocolates a try, then visit Yutaka’s website here for the ingredients to make your valentine’s day Japanese themed and super special. Or even if you just fancy getting creative in the kitchen at any time!
Yutaka can be found in most supermarket stores such as Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys. Thank you so much to Yutaka for my lovely Japanese food products to try and to review. These are all my own opinions and views on the Yutaka brand.