Ok, so I have to admit. In gathering all of my ingredients for the popcorn with homemade furikake, I went a little bit wild in Sunrise Mart. Food shopping almost trumps shoe shopping, and I totally glazed over that day throwing item after fascinating item into my basket. In the end, I walked out with three different kinds of soy sauces, some matcha green tea powder I plan to use in shortbread, and a diluted yuzu seasoning base I already have used to make a killer fish marinade. I also picked up some of this totally unexpected umeboshi paste…
Umeboshi are Japanese plums that have been pickled with red shiso and salt, and the paste is simply the purée. The plums are traditionally eaten with rice or inside a rice ball, in sushi, layered between egg slices, with tea or even shochu. The flavor is distinctive – tart and plum-my, a touch of sweetness, and extremely salty – and if it’s a wet version, the umeboshi “vinegar” (or left over pickling juice) is super strong and acidic, so use in moderation.
I have all sort of thoughts for how to use umeboshi paste! Yes, in salad dressings and marinades – it’s the perfect acidic balance. But also mixed in with yoghurt for a crudité dip, with garlic in an aioli, to round out a beautiful cocktail (killer margarita ingredient! No salt rim necessary…), in scrambled eggs, to add a kick to a potato gratin, or to jazz up a simple brothy soup.