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  • Loralyn Mears, PhD

Wine Down and Chill - Asian Style

This article was first published on May 17, 2019 at https://gritdaily.com/wine-down-and-chill-asian-style/

Are you here to wine down and chill for the weekend?


Great! Then you’ve come to the right place. Check back each Friday for our fun wine and food column that’s easy to read with affordable wine suggestions. Read on for an easy-to-prepare-at-home no-need-for-a-recipe fabulous dinner paired with a bottle of yummy wine and an interesting viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.





NOTE TO SELF: SIP IT, DON’T SHOOT IT!

Moonstone Asian Pear Sake and plum wine by Momokowa in Japan. If you’re a fan of Pinot Grigio which commonly has notes of pear, you will enjoy trying this as it is enhanced with a wonderful infusion of pear flavors. Also, if you’re like me and prefer to drink your white wines icy cold, then you should feel comfortable loading up your wine glass with ice to really enjoy sipping this sake.


Alternatively, many people enjoy their sake heated and served in porcelain flasks called tokkuri. Priced at $15 at TotalWine, it’s an affordable entrée into the world of sake if this category is new to you. Why not try a wine down and chill experiment with something different this week? Take note as this sake has won gold and silver medals in international competitions.


Moonstone is classified as a “ginjo” sake which refers to its class and highly-milled rice brewing method. In this case, Moonstone is an example of a premium quality sake. To achieve the ginjo classification, at least 40% of the rice must be milled away. This brings out heightened flavors, lower acidity and a more colorless, clear liquid form. The brewing process is highly labor-intensive and requires extended periods of fermentation at lower temperatures in order to activate a special form of yeast. Additionally, the rice itself is required to be one of the special grains designated for sake as table rice is unacceptable here: typically, for the ginjo grade of sake, that rice is Yamada Nishiki.


SPOON OR CHOPSTICKS?

When I think of Japan, I think of sushi. Despite being a huge fan of their national dish, alas, it is one that I have never mastered making at home. Actually, let me be crystal clear on that point. I attempted it. Once. Epic fail. And I will never try to make it again. I prefer to watch the master craftspeople creating wonderful little bites of spectacular colors and shapes in front of me before I voraciously devour every. Last. Morsel.


So, if I can’t prepare it at home myself then I’m certainly not going to suggest that you try it. Au contraire, I’m recommending that we stick with the tried and true this week. That’s right – ramen noodles!


By this point in the column, and based on last week’s column which featured Chinese food, you’re probably thinking, hmmm, is it just me or is there an Asian theme here? You nailed it, Sherlock. Back in 1978, President Jimmy Carter designated the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week. By 1990, President George H.W. Bush extended the week into the month-long celebration that it is today. The designation commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese people to the US on May 7, 1843.




FIVE INGREDIENTS AND FIVE STEPS


One, pick your protein. Slice up some steak or portabella mushrooms.


Two, boil up some Maruchan ramen noodles in the spicy broth mixture.


Three, fry the protein in diced onions, garlic, oil and sea salt.


Four, add a dab or two of Kikkoman less sodium soy sauce and, depending on how brave (or masochistic) you are, add some Huy Fong sriracha sauce.


Five, throw in a handful of snow peas as the ramen noodles are cooking.


Mix it all up together in a big soup bowl. Top with a chopped fresh green onion. Optionally, you can top with a soft-boiled egg for an interesting twist. Pour yourself a glass of sake. Load it up with ice. Next, wine down and chill.


PERFECTION COMES AT A SACRIFICE

I personally found Crazy Rich Asians to be a bit more tragic than funny as was suggested by its romcom / dramatic comedy categorization, but it had moments of deep introspection and the rigor of tradition balanced with levity so there was something for everyone. The movie features the Awkwafina as a quirky, college-flunky heiress who befriended the lovely Constance Wu in college. In my opinion, Michelle Yeoh steals the show with a compelling performance that poignantly taps into a mother’s expectations for her son, the line between the haves and the have-nots and the centuries-old theme of how love should trump social class – but it doesn’t always work that way. Flick on Netflix, relax, wine down and chill.


“Remember, every treasure comes with a price.”  ~ Dr. Gu


Cheers! Or “kanpai — 乾杯” as they say in Japan!

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