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Japanese Recipes: Aemono
"Thickly Dressed Things"

Aemono is a concept in Japanese food that roughly translates to "food in dressing". Sunomono could also be translated as "food in dressing" but the difference is that sunomono usually has a thin, vinegar-based dressing and aemono usually has a thicker dressing that coats the food. One great thing I discovered about aemono and sunomono sauces is that they keep very well and can be made well in advance.

I was surprised to find out that walnuts are native to Japan, and have been a very important part of the Japanese diet for as long as archaeological history can trace. So a walnut-based aemono sauce seemed a natural choice; a close second was a ground sesame-seed aemono.

Asparagus was chosen because I found references to asparagus being served by Rikyu in the late 16th Century. It was an imported novelty, and therefore especially appropriate for being shown off at a fancy banquet.

Asparagasu Aemono - Asparagus in Walnut Sauce

Serves 4, Kazuko 67

Walnut aemono sauce:

2 1/2 oz walnuts
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tbsp sake

Paste walnuts in food processor or a Japanese mortar and pestle (suribachi and surikogi). Add sugar and shoyu. Add sake and 2 tablespoons water. Add more water if necessary until paste is a light creamy color. Package into ziplocs & freeze or refrigerate.

Asparagus:

1/2 lb asparagus
4 whole walnut halves

Trim asparagus into spears. Immerse asparagus in boiling water for 4 mins. Remove and force-cool in ice water. If walnut sauce is frozen, drop walnut sauce in boiling water, still in bags to thaw. Mix sauce with asparagus to coat veggies. Arrange spears on plates, garnish with whole walnut pieces.

All content copyright the author, Jennifer Munson munson.jennifer@gmail.com The author makes no guarantees for instructions and recipes on this site; neither does she accept responsibility for their outcomes. Verbatim copies may be made for educational purposes only provided they contain original copyright marking.

This page created April 4, 2001

Last updated August 02, 2005