Saturday, January 28, 2012

Organic Chemistry Rules!

One of the great tricks of Japanese cuisine is to cook "stuff" with sake (or mirin) and dashi.

Traditionally, the simplest dish of rice would have this but it extends in general to tons of dishes.

The reason is something that Coco Chanel would know like (the smell of) the back of her hand.

It's esterification.

When an alcohol and an acid — in this case, the various glutamic acids in the dashi — react with the alcohol, you create a whole range of esters. Esters are what give the fragrant fruity smells that we all love.

Add to that, the umami from the dashi and you realize that just "plain rice" is a killer dish.

As far as the CC is aware, this is unique in the world. He has not seen this technique being used anywhere else.

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