Planning a summer dinner party? Make it easier on yourself by taking advantage of sake's wow factor—both in your meals and alongside them. Try these sake-infused recipes with pairings.
For your next post-yoga feast with friends, try these sure-to-impress sake-infused recipes created by classically trained New York City chef Daphne Cheng. And don't forget the pairings. Sake packs a flavor punch in savory recipes and alongside them, thanks to glutamic acid, an amino acid that adds savory umami flavor, like you might get from ripe tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
“Sake is a great ingredient to cook with as it adds a dimension of full-bodied flavor with no extra effort. Just a splash can take your cooking to impressive new heights,” says Cheng, whose innovative plant-based cuisine at Suite ThreeOhSix put her in the spotlight. "Curry is a perfect example of a bold-flavored dish made even more complex with sake. The alfredo sauce has a more subtle, delicate flavor where sake plays a starring role."
Be sure to sample her fresh cuisine with the sake pairings hand-picked by TY KU below. Sake works as an effective palate cleanser and flavor enhancer. Its 20 amino acids (more than any other alcohol and seven times more than red wine) can neutralize strong flavors like the fishiness in seafood and the gaminess in meat. But its lightness also makes it versatile.
"Sake pairs well with many different ingredients, but especially vegetables, citrus, and fresh flavors," Cheng says. "Sake is more complex than wine, offering up to twice as many different aromas in one glass. Flavors range from sweet and earthy to dry and herbal, or fruity and bold to floral and elegant." Try the two pairings below for your next dinner party.
Sake Summer Squash Curry with Tofu and Toasted Coconut
PAIR IT WITH: TY KU Sake Black
“The sake takes the usual curry to a new level with a fragrant, sweet and bitter balance,” Cheng says. “The hints of peach and vanilla meld with the spices and coconut for the perfect summer dish.”
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp curry powder
2 cups water
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1/4 cup TY KU Sake Silver Premium Junmai
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 tsp salt
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 Japanese eggplant, cubed
1 block (14 oz) firm tofu, cubed
cilantro, toasted coconut for garnish (see below)
To make it:
In medium pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 5–6 minutes until lightly browned. Add curry powder and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
Add water, coconut milk, sake, sweet potato, salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
Add remaining vegetables and tofu and cook for 10 minutes.
Pour curry into individual bowls to serve and garnish with cilantro and coconut.
To toast coconut:
In a sauté pan, toast coconut flakes over medium-high heat for 4–5 minutes until golden or toast on a baking sheet at 325 degrees F for 4–5 minutes until golden.
Capellini with Sugar Snap Peas, Asparagus, and Sake Alfredo
PAIR IT WITH: TY KU Sake Silver
Alfredo for summer? Yes! This version uses olive oil and plant-based milks to recreate the same creamy richness we love, but without the high saturated fat content. “The floral elements of the sake enhance the creaminess of the alfredo,” Cheng says.
16 oz package of capellini pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 bunch asparagus, destemmed and sliced in half horizontally
For Sake Alfredo Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose or rice flour
2 1/2 cups soy or almond milk
1/4 cup TY KU Sake Silver Premium Junmai
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
fennel fronds, basil, parsley, or other fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
To make Sake Alfredo Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat about 6–7 minutes until fragrant.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the oil mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth.
Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened, then remove from heat.
Stir in sake, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside until ready to use.
To make pasta:
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and run under cold water until completely chilled.
In a medium sauté pan over high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil, snap peas, and a pinch of salt for 2–3 minutes, tossing occasionally until bright green and slightly tender.
In same pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, asparagus, and a pinch of salt for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally until bright green and slightly browned.
In large pot, heat sake alfredo sauce. When just starting to bubble, add capellini and toss until evenly mixed. Serve on plate and top with snap peas, asparagus, and optional garnish.
WANT MORE RECIPES FOR SAKE? Try Summer-Ready Sake Cocktail Recipes Presented By TY KU