Japanese Steakhouse Yum Yum Sauce (a.k.a White Sauce, a.k.a Shrimp Sauce)

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You know when you go to a hibachi restaurant and they give you two little containers of sauce, one that is mayo based and one that is more of a soy sauce?  Who ever eats the soy sauce?  The mayo based sauce (which I didn’t know was called yum yum sauce until I started looking for the recipe) is SO good.  I would really rather just have two of those and skip the other, but I feel like that might somehow offend the chef.  And after seeing how comfortable hibachi chefs are with knives and flames, I like to keep quiet.  I have a child to think about.

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But I still want some more of that darn yum yum sauce.  So a couple of weeks ago I went on a hunt for the recipe, and this one is really close to the restaurant version.  Jake and I ate it on roasted vegetables, and we also had it as a condiment on faux chicken sandwiches.  It was delicious both times.  And super easy to make, so I’ll likely whip up another batch this week (especially because I now have an open container of tomato paste sitting around that needs to be used… WHY do they sell it by the can when no one ever needs that much at one time?).  I can’t wait to lather it on different kinds of vegetables.  Summer produce season is the best!

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Japanese Steakhouse Yum Yum Sauce

1 1/4 cup mayonnaise (Hellmann’s/Best Foods is recommended by the original recipe author)
1/4 cup water
1 heaping tsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 dash cayenne pepper powder (I like a heavy dash)

Whisk all of the ingredients together until they are combined and the sauce is smooth. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend (don’t skip this step!). Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

The sauce will keep for about a week in the fridge.

Source:
Japanese-Steakhouse-White-Sauce.com 

Bang Bang Cauliflower

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This dish piqued my interest the second I saw it because fried cauliflower has a special place in my heart.  It’s just so good and extremely versatile because you can use different batters and put any variety of sauces on top.  When I went to the state fair in NY last year with Jake’s family, there was a food cart that sold nothing but battered, deep-fried vegetables.  It was heaven.  I bought a bucket of them.  Literally.  They serve it to you in a bucket.  That’s upstate NY for ya 😉

So, naturally, I had to give this recipe a try.  I ended up with more sauce than the cauliflower really needed, but that’s ok because it was sweet and spicy which is right up my alley.  If you start with a bigger head then it might be more proportional (and it’s really easy to make more sauce if need be).  Jake’s response of, “This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  It was actually really good!” was the seal of approval that I was looking for.   My dad happened to be over at the right time (this and the hot chocolate fudge cakes were made simultaneously) and he liked it, too.  Any time meat-eaters approve of something that’s a vegetarian replacement for a classic, I consider it a win.  My dad even helped to style the pictures.  A future food blogger!

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Bang Bang Cauliflower

Batter
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup cold water
1 3/4 cup flour

Bang Bang Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2-4 teaspoons hot sriracha sauce, or more to taste

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
vegetable or canola oil
2 green onions, chopped

Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a large bowl that big enough to hold all the cauliflower.  Set aside.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until it has ripples but isn’t smoking.

Mix the egg yolks and water in a large bowl. Add the flour and stir until it is just combined. Immediately dip the pieces of cauliflower and then drop into the oil.  Cook for several minutes per side until they are golden brown and crispy.  Drain on a paper towel.

Toss with the bang bang sauce and top with the green onions.  Serve immediately.

Source: A Taste of Home Cooking, originally from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations