Murakami Syouten Crushed Okinawa Brown Sugar
Only eight islands in Japan produce Okinawan brown sugar, or kokuto, a raw smoky sugar that is made by slow-cooking sugarcane juice in a centuries-old production method protected by the Okinawa Prefecture. It is smoky and intense, with a tobacco-like aroma and a perfect balance of sweet and bitterness. The Japanese sugarcane imparts a slight fruity aftertaste, and its naturally high mineral content is not only healthier for you but also translates into complex warming spice notes. Use Okinawan brown sugar as a smoky alternative to dark brown sugar, or take advantage of its spicy, bitter notes to add depth to savory recipes. Try it in rich meat braises, swapping out some of the molasses in our Sweet Soy-Braised Pork—it pairs wonderfully with the umami of soy sauce. Similarly, try it in recipes with fish sauce, such as our Stir-Fried Beef and Ginger with Garlic and Scallions or Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans; in both cases, substitute an equal amount of Okinawan brown sugar for the white sugar the recipe calls for.
Wadaman Organic Black Sesame Paste
With deeply aromatic, rich, and toasty undertones, this sesame condiment can be used in both sweet and savory applications. It is ideal for adding some earthy depth to dishes, with a subtle pleasant bitterness that you can't get with white sesame seeds. Many Asian cultures use black sesame for desserts, with good reason—its slight bitterness cuts through rich dairy and balances bitter with sweet like no other. We like to substitute black sesame paste for tahini in our Tahini Swirl Brownies—if you like the bitter sweetness of dark chocolate, you'll love the roasted element black sesame paste brings to this dessert. Or simply drizzle Wadaman's Black Sesame Paste over vanilla ice cream for a visually stunning Japanese-inspired dessert. On the savory side, try a drizzle of the paste over our Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan) for visual contrast and an earthy counterpoint to sumac's citrusy tartness. Or add it to our Chinese Chili and Scallion Noodles to complement the sesame oil and add another dimension of flavor. Or substitute black sesame paste for tahini to make a roasty, earthier version of our Pita and Chickpea Salad with Yogurt and Mint (Fatteh).