"Spicy miso with cucumber sticks is a traditional snack you'd find in an izakaya in Japan or would prepare at home," says chef Kazuki Tsuya of Melbourne restaurant Kazuki's.
- 4 Lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways and widthways, bases trimmed
- Calendula and pansy petals and small nasturtium leaves, to serve
Smoked almond and sweet miso
- 80 gm shiro (white) miso paste (see note)
- 65 ml cooking sake
- 40 ml mirin
- 10 gm finely grated ginger
- 80 gm smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
Horseradish cream and karasumi
- 100 ml pouring cream
- 50 gm Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 tsp honey
- 15 gm finely grated fresh horseradish
- 150 gm karasumi or bottarga (see note)
- 1For smoked almond and sweet miso, combine shiro, sake, mirin and ginger with 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and whisk gently to combine. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened (3-5 minutes) to the consistency of honey. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Stir in almonds. Place half the cucumber pieces, cut-side up, on a plate. Top with a little smoked almond and sweet miso sauce and scatter with calendula petals.
- 2For horseradish cream, whisk cream in a bowl to soft peaks. Fold in yoghurt, honey and horseradish and season to taste. Place remaining cucumber pieces, cut-side up on a plate and spoon over horseradish cream. Finely grate karasumi over the top and scatter with pansy petals and nasturtium leaves.
Shiro miso is available from Asian grocers. Karasumi is a salted sun-dried mullet roe, known as avgotaraho in Greece and bottarga in Sardinia. Bottarga is available from delicatessens; it will keep refrigerated for 1 month.