Discovering the Japanese mayonnaise or Kewpie mayonnaise – Italian Cuisine


Discovering Japanese mayonnaise, a sweet and creamy sauce present in many traditional dishes and which in recent years has also been depopulating abroad

There Japanese mayonnaise in Italy it has not yet caught on, yet it is a delicious sauce that deserves to be tasted. Beloved by the people of the Rising Sun e present in many traditional Japanese dishes, in recent years it has also conquered many international chefs. This special version of the mayonnaise is mainly made with egg yolks, oil and vinegar (not distilled) and has a different flavor and texture than the Italian one. Let's go and discover its history and characteristics as well as the culinary combinations.

How Japanese mayonnaise is made

Compared to Italian or French mayonnaise and in general to those used in the West, the Japanese one is more creamy and dense, with a darker color and a slightly more pungent taste, but with a pleasant sweet note. Naturally, the ingredients used, i egg yolks, which in Japan have an intense orange color indicative of the good health of the hens used raised outdoors, therice or apple vinegar sometimes mixed together and vegetable oil (preferably canola oil or grapeseed). Sauce, like most Japanese recipes, is also characterized by the so-called factor umami, a term that can be translated as "tasty", and which in this case is obtained thanks to the addition of a small amount of MSG (monosodium glutamate) or alternatively a little dashi powder, or the traditional light broth based on two umami flavors, kombu seaweed and katsuobushi, smoked and dried bonito flakes. The secret to obtaining a good Japanese mayonnaise, however, is to take care of the execution of the process emulsion. The emulsion is obtained by slowly adding the above ingredients and stirring rapidly at the same time. In this case, the oil should be poured in small quantities and gradually and the smaller the oil molecules, the better the final result. Although you can try this procedure at home using a mixer or food processor, no tool can be as powerful and functional as those used by the manufacturing companies. Buying packaged mayonnaise also means not running into problems related to the freshness of used eggs, which must be rigorously fresh and unpasteurized. The original and most famous brand on the market, locally and worldwide, is the Kewpie, recognizable by the logo that represents a doll. In Japan, however, other mayonnaises are also marketed, generally sold in plastic bottles with a fine spout that allows you to create a decorative zigzag pattern on the plates, highly appreciated in Japan.

History and traditional Japanese dishes with Kewpie mayonnaise

Just like other typical condiments of the Rising Sun, such as soy sauce, sake, mirin or miso, also Kewpie mayonnaise has distant origins and it has been one of the predominant condiments since it was introduced to the country in 1925. The creator of the Japanese mayonnaise, or Kewpie Toichiro Nakashima, after a culinary trip to the United States undertaken the previous year, in fact had the idea of ​​changing the recipe, adapting it to the typical taste of Asian cuisine in general and Japanese in particular. The sauce has characterized for decades dishes of the national culinary tradition, but the real boom in sales, including international ones, came in 2017, the year in which Kewpie reached the target of 500,000 million Yen, a little over 4 billion Euros.
Among the many Japanese recipes that include this dressing are the Takoyaki, octopus meatballs among the most famous street food in the country, the typical Japanese omelette called Okonomiyaki, made from flour, water, cabbage, meat, mayonnaise and other ingredients, or Japanese-style fried chicken called Karaage.

Photo: Kewpie_la Japanese mayonnaise.jpg
Photo: Japanese mayonnaise Kewpie on an okonomiyaki.jpg

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