The Difference Between Bafun Uni and Murasaki Uni August 08 2017
Here's the top burning question that everyone has: What is the difference between the two?
We can't exactly tell you which is better but as of now, the Murasaki Uni is currently in season (August 2017), so we would obviously recommend the Murasaki Uni.
But if you really need answers, here you go:
This is the obvious. Bafun falls under the Aka Uni umbrella (red Uni) and Murasaki Uni is Shiro Uni (White Uni). The Bafun would look more enticing than the Murasaki in terms of colour since it is bright red. But why would you eat something based on colour?
As what we tell all our customers - we strongly recommend anything that is currently in season. And for now, it is the Murasaki Uni.
Bafun is currently spawning (birthing babies) so it would be passing on all the goodness and umami to its babies, which would result in bitter roe in the adult Uni. The bafun would still be good though (since we select from the A Grade Uni), but just not as comparable to the Murasaki cousin. **Please note that this is only for now. Bafun would be back in its glorious season come October.
3. What's with the difference between all the price ranges?
In Uni world, peasants eat fishes and prawns while the Kings eat top grade Kombu. The expensive Uni take Kombu (you can imagine how Umami the roe are), while the less expensive ones take fishes and prawns (still Umami, but how could you beat Kombu?). Different Uni companies have different ways of rearing and grading their Uni. This makes the price difference.
As the only grocer with direct access to the Uni auction at Tsukiji Market, we have now revised the prices for our famed Uni and have added more to the selection. Read more about the behind-the-scenes of the Uni auction here.
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Tsukiji Chronicles Part II 築地物語: Uni Auction & Top Grade Uni August 04 2017
Following our last post on the Uni Auction, we've got plenty of queries on the Higashizawa Uni and Hadate Uni - why are they so expensive? How are they different from the rest? Are they worth it?
We'll answer those questions and leave you to decide.
Every morning at 4AM, our 店長さん (Store owner, tenchou) wakes up to liaise with her friends at the Uni Auction with live updates done on our Instagram Stories as they come in.
The Uni vendors at Tsukiji Market are personal friends of ours - hence we always get first dibs on the best -- and that's where we pick the best out of every price range.
There are definitely cheaper Uni (such as the ones below $100 for a 100G box, or below $150 for a 250G box) in the market, but those don't even make it to the auction as they are below the A grade.
We'd go through the range of Uni of different price ranges and prefectures then pick the best of the day for the price ranges that suit our customers best. (Watch our IG videos and compare them yourself!)
We believe that any Zairyo Uni has to be of top quality, regardless of the price.
And we thank our customers for giving us the chance to bring in these Uni.
Top of The Top Premium Uni - Hadate / Higashizawa / Tachibana
Higashizawa and Hadate are both top Uni producers in Japan - not for the volume of Uni, but for the quality that most respected sushi chefs trust.
They're favoured by sushi chefs for the texture, creaminess and Umami-ness, as well as the 'clean' after taste.
Our customers have sent their feedback too to inform us that it would be hard to settle for anything less. :p Could you blame them?
The Higashizawa Murasaki Uni is literally the most sought-after in Tsukiji Market afterall! Every box is graded and labeled at the Uni auction, with grading No. 1 being the highest grade, which meant the best quality of the day they have at Tsukiji market.
Higashizawa Uni at the Uni Auction
It's obvious that everyone would try to land their hands on the No. 1 ~ No. 3 Uni of the day, so prices surge mostly due to the demand and bidding. The highest price ever for a box was ￥１４０，０００!
This is why we are always proud to show the boxes to our customers and chefs! It is an exciting experience landing one of these precious boxes.
Every box that you purchase from us, our personal sales concierge will send you live updates as and when the auction begins and concludes. You'll get a picture of the winning box even before you receive it!
The next time you head to a sushi restaurant, pay attention to the boxes! The higher the 'legs' of the boxes, the higher the grade. ;)
Prices change every week based on market prices. Email our dedicated sales concierge to land a box.
Tsukiji Chronicles Part I 築地物語：うに Uni July 26 2017
Relationships take time to build and cultivate, especially at a place like Tsukiji Market where the vendors take utmost pride in their produce. They would prefer to sell to someone they trust would do good with their produce.
Price and grade ranges differ customer to customer -- the best box will always go to their best regular, instead of the highest paying customer.
And that's where Zairyo is different from the rest.
After some 15 years of trade business, we're happy and absolutely excited to share that we have gained access into the Uni auction that happens every dawn (3AM SGT), and we'll have first dips on the best box of Uni in the midst of the price battle.
Follow our Instagram Stories as we show more behind-the-scene pictures!
We're also proud to share that we'll be carrying these: Higashizawa Uni and Hadate Uni.
True Uni connoisseurs who frequent the best sushi-ya in Singapore or Japan would find these names or boxes familiar.
These are the creme de la creme of all the Uni brands, and during their peak, these Uni can fetch up to JPY55,000 a box.
These will be able on Zairyo, but prices will be based on their selling prices at the Uni auction the same morning.
Please email our sales concierge if you wish to purchase a box.
Hijiki No Nimono ひじきの煮物 + Other Cooking Methods July 26 2017
Hijiki No Nimono, or Hijiki Stew, is one of our favourite side dishes on the table or in bentos. It's not only tasty, it also boasts of health benefits!
We find Hijiki the most versatile seaweed of all as it doesn't carry the overwhelming smell of seaweed that may be quite off putting in certain cuisines.
Here are some quick ways that you can incorporate Hijiki into your food:
Wash Hijiki with rice grains as you would usually wash your rice, then add water to a suitable level for your rice as you would usually do. Then cook!
2. Quick Side Dish
Soak Hijiki in warm water for approximately 30 minutes, drain for 5~10 minutes, add salt, minced garlic, rice vinegar and sesame oil to taste. Then store in the fridge before serving.
3. Omelettes or Tamagoyaki
Soak Hijiki in room temperature water for 20~30 minutes, drain and add to egg mixture.
Hijiki no Nimono Recipe, adapted from JustOneCookbook
Serves 6~8 pax, or 2 pax for 1 week
- 4 Tbsp mirin
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
1. Soak Hijiki in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes
2. Drain in a large fine sieve and wash under the running water. Drain and set aside.
3. Boil water in a small saucepan and pour on top of aburaage. This will remove the oil coated on the aburaage (manufacture’s oil doesn’t taste good, so this extra step will improve flavor of aburaage.). Cut in half lengthwise and slice thinly.
4. (Optional) Add water and konnyaku in a small pot and boil for 3 minutes to remove the smell. It also makes konnyaku absorb flavors more and improves the texture.
5. Julienne carrots
6. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add carrot and cook until they are coated with oil.
7. Add the hijiki, then konnyaku and aburaage. Mix all together.
8. Add the dashi and let it boil.
9. Add all the seasonings and mix well. Cook covered on medium low heat.
10. After 30 minutes, add the edamame.
11. Cook uncovered to reduce the sauce until you see the bottom of the pan. Put the leftover in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
We've tried many recipes for this and we think this is the tastiest and closest to a restaurant's version. It's really easy and very suitable for parties since you can make this ahead of time so you can get busy with other things!
How your cold truffle pasta will turn out will definitely differ from ours as the taste would pretty much rely on the truffle oil you purchase, but here is a fool-proof way of making it tasty, regardless of the truffle oil you buy.
Here are the essentials in this dish, in accordance to importance: chive oil, truffle oil, kombu, sashimi-grade ingredients (from Zairyo, of course).
Recipe is for 4 pax (no extras for seconds)
Ingredients from Zairyo:
1. Hokkaido Scallops (Sashimi Grade) 250G, diced into 4 per scallop (you will use up the entire pack)
2. 2 tsp Shio Kombu, minced or 2 pieces of Cut Kombu (soaked till soft) and diced
3. Uni (Sea Urchin) to top, we suggest 100G for 4 pax as a topping. If you wish to be generous, 100G won't be enough for 4 pax. (We used the Murasaki Uni, 250G, as it is in season at the date of posting)
Angel Hair pasta for 4 pax
How To Make Chive Oil:
** You can make extras of this oil and keep it in a oil-safe container for either soups or noodles. Or anything, really. It's delicious!
Cut chives into thirds and saute with dried shrimps (we don't recommend washing the dried shrimps, but if you do, dry them well before sauteing it.) in olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then another 5 minutes on low heat. You don't want the chives to burn.
Once done, remove chives and shrimps and empty oil into an oil-safe container (we recommend a glass container).
If you use about 4 sprigs of chives, you use approximately 1 tbsp of dried shrimps with 1/3 cup of olive oil. Use less if you don't wish to keep any. But why wouldn't you?
As mentioned, you can make this hours in advance before your party. As long as you don't toss in the other raw ingredients, like scallops, Uni or caviar -- this is to prevent any form of contamination. Safety first!
1. Cook pasta as you would usually do until al dente. If you don't know how to cook pasta, please Google or YouTube it. Angel Hair pasta cooks quicker than most pastas, so don't look away! ** you can wash and let the scallops thaw on the counter as you start cooking the pasta.
2. Once done with the pasta, shock the pasta in cold water.
3. Drain pasta and empty it into a large mixing bowl that's easy for you to mix in.
4. Add truffle oil to pasta. We would suggest for you to mix it tablespoon by tablespoon. You wouldn't want your mouth to just be covered in oil after eating. Be generous, but with some restraint.
5. Add chives oil to pasta, this gives it flavour and depth.
6. Add kombu to the pasta for the umami.
7. Add salt to taste. If you've used the Shio Kombu, be liberal with the salt as the Kombu already comes salted. If you've used the Cut Kombu, salt with your feel. Or taste as you go along.
8. Add chopped chives and caviar, if any, at the end and toss.
9. Seal bowl with cling wrap and keep refrigerated for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
Time to Serve!
1. Once scallops are fully thawed, remove muscle and dice into fours per scallop. Set aside.
2. Plate pasta into bowls.
3. In the same mixing bowl (that is already emptied), or in a new bowl, add the scallops and a wee bit of truffle oil + chive oil, pinch of salt, then mix.
4. Top on pasta. Then top on the Uni if you have it.
Get inspired! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #Zairyosg (profile must be public), or check out the creations of other customers.
*** We can deliver the Hotate, Shio Kombu and Kombu within 24 hours upon order.
*** We don't keep stock of Uni, unlike supermarkets and other e-Grocers, we fly them in from Tsukiji Market upon order only. Please place them at least 3 days in advance, or refer to our air-flown schedule.
In Japan, the Japanese decorate their homes with Hina dolls and celebrate good health by preparing luxurious bowls of Chirashizushi (chopped up sashimi on sushi rice) and Clam soup during Hinamatsuri.
The significance of Chirashizushi during Hinamatsuri is to be blessed with only fresh food and to be healthy. Click here for our bestselling Chirashi pack that's easy to prepare!
Clams are also consumed on Hinamatsuri as they are a symbol of a united and peaceful couple (because a clam has 2 shells, and only these 2 shells fit each other perfectly).
You can prepare this simple recipe any other day too!
Asari Clam Kombu Soup Recipe
Makes 4 servings
1. To prepare the clams: Put the clams in a large bowl and cover them with heavily salted water and cove the top with a cloth.
Let them sit for at least an hour so that the clams will expel any sand or dirt. Once done soaking, gently scrub the shells clean under cold running water.
2. Put the clams, kombu, and cold water in medium-sized pot. Place the pot over medium-high heat then remove kombu before water starts to boil. Boil the water until all the clams have opened, then season the broth with the salt and remove the scum off the surface of the water. Remove the clams, then pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into another pot/container.
3. Serve in a bowl with clams, garnish and a pinch of Yuzu zest in each bowl.
Simple Luxuries Without Breaking The Bank? 嘘でしょ！？ August 23 2016
Love the taste of Uni but hate to splurge on the Sashimi-grade Hokkaido Uni on the regular?
Try the Neri Uni (Uni preserved in salt - made with quality Uni that are in broken parts that aren't suitable or pretty enough for the boxes) or the Neri Uni Sticks that we've specially imported (though in very limited amounts) that come in 4 different flavors.
Here are some simple recipes from our Japanese friends using the Neri Uni to make dishes that are easy to do almost everyday!
Sea Urchin pasta (with Uni paste)
- Neri Uni 100g
- Butter 10g
- Spring onions
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Dress the boiled pasta with Neri Uni and butter.
2. Stir in spring onions followed by Doubanjiang small amounts at a time.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Top with fresh Uni if desired.
Sea urchin grilled rice ball (Onigiri)
- Cooked rice
- Neri Uni
1. Make Onigiri.
2. Spread Neri Uni on one side of the Onigiri then toast it until slight brown.
Grilled Tsukune with Sea Urchin Paste
- Neri Uni
- Minced chicken meat 300g
- 10CM Lotus root
- 1 tbsp starch
- Sesame oil
1. Mix all the ingredients together and form chicken balls of your desired size.
2. Pan grill Tsukune on both sides before spreading Neri Uni on side and grilling it again.
Chilli Crab Pasta in 15 Minutes August 01 2016
If you've ever wondered how restaurants have the patience to pick every bit of crab meats for your pastas, this is their secret.
These crab meats have been flying off our shelves ever since we've introduced them and it's for good reason - they taste just as good as someone picked them for you. And we always want someone to peel crabs for us. :p
Needless to say, these convenient gems are a hit with lazy cooks all around. It wouldn't make sense to share a complicated recipe with an ingredient so easy to use, yes?
So here's our lazy person's super easy Chilli Crab Pasta recipe, done in 15 minutes!
Here's what you need for 2 to 3 pax:
- 3 pax worth of pasta (we used linguine, you can use spaghetti or bucatini)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (use more if desired)
- 2 cups of water
- Half can of Crab Meat, or more if desired (there's a promo going on for these now that's ending end August!)
- 1 pack of Chilli Crab Paste (we used Prima Taste's Chilli Crab paste)
- 1 tsp of dried Basil
- 2 tsp of dried Oregano
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
1. We did this using the One Pot Paste-style, which means you don't have to cook the pasta first. Just place your pasta in a pan with the minced garlic, herbs and cover it with approximately 1.5 cups of water and a drizzle of olive oil like so:
2. If you're using the Prima Taste Chilli Crab Paste, you can skip the Premix Powder which is basically just starch. If you cook it like us (as shown above), you don't have to add starch since the pasta naturally makes the water starchy after boiling.
3. We added the whole pack of Chilli Powder and though it is shiok, it is not advisable if you can't take spice.
If you're trying it out, tag us on Instagram!
Obsession Du Jour: Tamagoyaki July 02 2015
Our love for Tamagoyaki has always brought quizzical looks from our friends, most of them who can't understand why anyone would enjoy sweet & umami eggs. So imagine our surprise when we got a ton of requests from our customers to bring the Tamagoyaki pans in!
We've been making Tamagoyakis at home a lot with the use of our trusty Happy Call pan and we've never found the need to get a proper Tamagoyaki Pan... Until we did a test run on one of the Tamagoyaki pans we imported. It is a real game changer if you love egg rolls.
Not a great picture but this was one of our earlier attempts at Tamagoyaki using a Happy Call pan. It tastes delicious but the layers are too uneven and it cooked too fast.
As mentioned on our Instagram page, the little bumps on the pan prevents the egg from forming too many bubbles (~technology~) which is really useful if you want to make a beautiful egg roll. Unlike the cheap ones you get in our local market, the real deal is non-stick!
Not the prettiest but we're soooooo happy with the texture!
To make the perfect Tamagoyaki requires a bit of practice, watch this video before you start for some egg roll inspiration.
Here's our simple Tamagoyaki recipe:
For 1-2 pax.
- Beat eggs with dashi powder and mirin. (We like to beat the eggs for about 5 minutes - the Tamagoyaki gets a cake-like texture)
- Heat the pan at medium high temperature and add oil.
- Pour a thin layer of egg mixture in the pan, tilting to cover the bottom of the pan. After the thin egg has set a little, gently roll into a log. Start to roll when the bottom of the egg has set and there is still liquid on top. If you let the egg cook too much, it will not stick as you roll the log. Now you have a log at one end of the pan. Pour some more egg mixture to again cover the bottom of the pan, with the roll of egg at the end. After the new layer has set, roll the log back onto the the cooked thin egg and roll to the other end of the pan.
- Repeat adding egg to the pan and rolling back and forth until the egg is used up.
- Remove from the pan and cool for 3-4 minutes and you're done!
Salmon Teriyaki with Ginger Scallion Noodles June 20 2015
Salmon Teriyaki with Ginger Scallion Noodles
This is Cod Teriyaki with Ginger Scallion noodles. Yes, you may replace the salmon with any oily fish, such as halibut, mackerel or if you're feeling $rich$, Ootoro.
As you may already know, we'd started our e-Grocer because we're home cooks too. We know the importance of quality ingredients and we understand the pain of trawling through supermarkets after supermarkets to locate a specific ingredient, which could be extremely tiring if you're a working adult like us.
With the start of Zairyo, we've learnt that many of our customers go through the same problem and we're glad to be of help!
Since most of us don't have dinner parties or have to entertain at home that often, we've been cooking a lot of easy, one-pot kind of dishes for meals. So it was only natural that our friends at Food & Travel Singapore approached us to contribute a few Japanese-style recipes that were easy and fuss-free enough for busy week nights at home.
So here's the first of our Busy Weeknight Series Recipes, check back for more.
**We've created this series of recipes with the common ingredients and sauces found in most Singapore households in mind, so it's not going to be 100% Japanese. If you want a recipe that is 100% Japanese, ask a Japanese.
This can be found in the June issue of Food & Travel Singapore, get a copy and see the other 3 recipes!
SALMON TERIYAKI WITH GINGER SCALLION NOODLES
Prep 15 mins • Cook 20 mins • Serves 2
FOR THE GINGER SCALLION SAUCE
1/4 cup water
100g thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites from 1 large bunch)
8cm-piece fresh old ginger, peeled and finely minced
6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chicken stock (optional)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp chinese vinegar
Salt, to taste
1 To prepare the fish, make the brine. Combine water, dark soy sauce, sugar and mirin in a large Ziploc bag. Immerse the fillets in the brine and seal the bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least 1 hr.
2 Preheat oven to 160C and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
3 Place the fillets skin side down and let it cook for 3 mins. Do not attempt to move the fish during this period. Flip the fillets to the other side so that the skin side faces up.
4 Baste the skin side with teriyaki sauce and let it cook for 3 mins. Remove fillets from oven and give them one final baste with teriyaki sauce. Set aside.
5 Make the ginger scallion sauce. Heat water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Tip in ginger, chicken stock, light soy sauce, vinegar and salt, and stir well. Adjust seasoning, if needed. set aside.
6 Heat oil in a frying pan or wok over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Reduce heat to medium-low then add in 1⁄2 portion of the scallions. stir continuously with a spatula until aromatic and slightly burned, as this will release the full aroma of the scallions.
7 Pour the scallion oil into the ginger sauce mixture. Stir well and set aside.
8 Cook the noodles of choice in the boiling water until al dente. Drain and transfer into a mixing bowl.
9 Tip in the remaining 1⁄2 portion of sliced scallions into the ginger scallion sauce.
10 Coat noodles with desired amount of ginger scallion sauce and toss evenly.
11 Serve immediately with the salmon teriyaki fillets.
Try it and tell us if you love it. If you do Instagram it, don't forget to tag us #ZairyoSG! :)
Uni Risotto January 30 2015
It has been waaaaay too long since an update so here we are! If you've been looking at the #ZairyoSG hashtag on Instagram, you'd realize that apart from the usual chirashi and Uni porn, there are a couple of rather interesting dishes prepared with our produce.
There's a common misconception that we cater only for Japanese cuisine. While it is true that we supply mostly to Japanese restaurants, fresh produce shouldn't be limited to only sashimis and chirashis, no?
We digress. We've experimented with our favourite ingredient, Uni, at home a couple of times now and we think this decadent Uni risotto recipe would impress anyone at your dinner party!
- 500 gr. Arborio Rice
- 1 Small White Onion Diced
- 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
- Olive Oil
- 200 ml. Dry White Wine
- 1,600 ml. Chicken Stock
- 100 cl. Sea Urchin Puree
- 60 gr. Butter Diced
- 30 cl. Olive Oil
- 40 gr. Grated Parmesan
- Caviar or Ikura
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Sweat the garlic and onion in the olive oil until translucent.
- Add rice and cook over medium heat for two to three minutes stirring constantly.
- Add white wine and continue to stir over medium heat until completely reduced and absorbed by the rice.
- Add chicken stock a third at a time and continue to stir over medium heat until completely absorbed by the rice.
- Once your risotto is al dente and ready to serve, stir in sea urchin puree, butter and olive oil. Season with salt to taste.
- Finish by stirring in grated parmesan.
Divide risotto into serving bowls. Top with uni pieces, caviar/ikura and dill to complete dish.
Show us your final product or your own creations by tagging us on Instagram! #ZairyoSG and @ZairyoSG
Until the next time,
Apart from the occasional fan-girling when he posts selfies (hello biceps...), we are in major crush with his dishes. Looking at his Instagram gives us the impulse of whipping up a storm in the kitchen and you'll see why in a bit.
Basics & Introduction November 09 2014
As you may or may not know, Zairyo was created to bring the foodies who take home cooking very seriously together (by 'seriously' we mean people who are really looking for fine ingredients to put a beautiful meal together, not just for Instagram).
These people don't cook just to put food on the table; cooking is an expression of ideas and experiences, what they present on their plates are dishes that are a culmination of who they are, their experiences, their memories and tastes that are familiar to them.
These are the things that we want to share - experiences through simple recipes that can be easily replicated at home. Ingredients are just the tools of the craftsmen and how good your crafts are will very much depend on your tools. ;)
Back to "serious home cooks", one such person that we'd like to introduce (so you may stalk him on Instagram) is the man behind the beautiful dishes and photographs of this site who is also a dear friend of ours, Lennard, more commonly known as Lennardy. (But please don't call him that, it's weird.)
We're excited to share a series of simple recipes that will make your meals a hit with your dining party, such as the Chirashi dome (picture below).
Before we get too excited and ahead of ourselves, let's get the basics right: how to cook and prepare sushi rice.
We often find ourselves thinking about how lame it is for a food site to teach something as basic as this, but when you have a dinner with ingredients flown-in from Japan (such as this uni - sorry, we just had to), you really won't want to screw up the base of a dish (i.e. rice). The stress is going to be real when you find yourself checking the water levels before popping the tub into the rice-cooker, no matter how many times you've done it before.
So, learn it right and practice. Here's the list of our products, buy something and eat with your rice so you'd be forced to do your rice right.
For those who already know how to cook the usual Jasmine rice, cook pearl rice (or Japanese rice) the same way, i.e. same water to rice ratio. Or if you have some special method of cooking Jasmine rice, please follow the following steps too:
1. Measure your rice. If you are feeding 2 people, 1 cup of rice would be more than sufficient.
2. Wash grains and drain. Do this twice. Do not over wash, i.e. squeezing the rice too much (it will become pulp if done continuously) or spin it too vigorously.
3. Fill with clean tap water. If your rice cooking pot has a line, follow the line that says '1', that's the water level for 1 cup. Please look at that line when the pot is placed on an even surface at eye level.
4. Just to be sure, place your index finger tip on the rice level (finger tip touching the layer of rice - do not sink finger in) and check that the water is up to your first knuckle line.
If your index finger doesn't have 3 knuckle lines, the water ration is one cup of rice to approximately two cups of water.
When that's done, here's how to make sushi/chirashi rice:
1. Spread hot cooked rice on to a large flat dish to cool.
2. Sprinkle Sushi Su over the rice while hot. Note: If you add Sushi Su when the rice has cooled, the rice will become very sticky, forming hard-to-separate clumps. The rice will also lose its sheen.
3. Coat rice evenly with Sushi Su by using a rice paddle stirring rice from the bottom up (be gentle - you don't want to make rice paste).
4.Once done, leave it out to cool with a fan. Do not put it in the fridge as it will damage the rice. Unless you want to make omu rice. Make omu rice! Mm...