September 1, 2015

Kopycat Kewpie Mayo

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Japanese food lovers will recognize the iconic brand of mayonnaise called Kewpie. Japanese mayo tastes richer, tangier and more complex than the North American standard. Ingredients on the Kewpie label include “spirit vinegar (apple/barley),” salt, MSG, Japanese mustard (a.k.a. karashi, a paste of mustard powder and water). Kewpie comes in a distinctive squeezable bottle packaged in a bag with a drawing of a kewpie doll. An optional, decorative piping tip is included. You may be surprised to discover that mayonnaise is a culinary obsession in Japan. It is even sold in personal-size bottles that the Japanese call “my mayo,” which can be carried around and squeezed onto whatever they happen to be eating. That would include sushi, savoury pancakes (a.k.a. okonomiyaki), stir-fried soba noodles, fried seafood, breaded chops (katsu) or salad. You can, of course, use Kewpie mayo as you would regular mayonnaise. It gives a delicious twist to the usual sandwiches, burgers, tuna or chicken salads, and potato or pasta salads. You don’t have to go out of your way to find Kewpie mayo. Just use this foolproof Minute Mayo method to prepare your own. (How to make the best homemade mayonnaise and aioli: Presto! Mayo in a Minute.)

2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar
2 tsp (10 mL) malt vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each: mustard powder, MSG powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) instant dashi granules
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) garlic powder
1 cup (250 mL) soybean/vegetable oil

In this order, add yolks, vinegars, salt, mustard, MSG, dashi granules, garlic powder and oil to tall, narrow beaker. Place blade of immersion blender over yolks, touching bottom of beaker. Turn on blender. Once streaks of mayonnaise appear at bottom of beaker, slowly pull blender upwards until ingredients emulsify into thick, fluffy, cream-coloured mayo. Stir in any remaining small streaks of oil.

Use immediately. Or transfer to storage tub, cover and refrigerate.

Makes 1-1/4 cups (300 mL).

Shopping Cart: I use the Hon Dashi brand of dashi granules. It comes in small tubs. Commercial Kewpie is made with soybean oil. Despite being a neutral refined oil, it seems to give this mayo a distinctive taste. (Or is that my imagination?) In supermarkets, the brands labeled “vegetable oil” are soy-based. In a pinch, however, you can use any type of refined oil. My standby neutral oil is canola.

Tool Time: Immersion blenders are usually sold with their own beakers. If you don’t have a beaker, try a tall mason jar. Immersion blenders are also known as stick blenders or hand blenders. Mine has 3 speeds. The lowest speed works fine for this recipe.

Kitchen Secrets: For best results, all the ingredients should be at room temperature. You can crack the egg into the beaker and let it acclimatize before adding any of the remaining ingredients, particularly the vinegars.

Bright Ideas: Instead of lemon juice, use lime juice, white wine vinegar or cider vinegar.

Make-Ahead: Store homemade mayonnaise in the fridge up to 4 days.


Spicy Kopycat Kewpie Mayo
Stir sriracha to taste into the finished mayonnaise.