Have you tried Japanese style (wafu) pasta before? Japanese style pasta are very popular in Japan, but outside of Japan they are typically not offered in Japanese restaurants. I’ve received many requests for Japanese style pasta recipes from readers and today I’m going to share a popular wafu pasta recipe, Ume Shiso Pasta.
So what are ume (梅) and shiso (しそ)?
Shiso (or shiso leaves or perilla) looks like this. It’s a popular Japanese herb used in many Japanese cooking recipes. It’s usually garnished on top of food or mixed in the ingredients. I’ve used it in many of my recipes including Salmon & Ikura Don to add green color and flavor to the dish, and also for decorating dishes like Chicken Nanban. You might have seen it when you ordered sashimi/sushi and the chef used shiso leaves as garnish. I introduced quite a few recipes with shiso in my first two years of blogging, but learned that this is not an easy ingredient to purchase for a lot of readers. Therefore I’ve tried avoiding it in my recipes even though I love this Japanese herb. Shiso has an unique and refreshing flavor so I hope you can find it in your local Japanese grocery stores, or plant one in your herb garden (they are easy to grow).
Ume or umeboshi is Japanese salted plums or Japanese pickled plums that look like this. Umeboshi are a popular kind of Japanese pickles (Tsukemono) and they are extremely sour and salty. We usually serve umeboshi with rice or in Rice Balls (Onigiri). Shiso and umeboshi go well together and they are the key ingredients for creating the delicate and refreshing flavor for today’s pasta.
The key for tasty Ume Shiso Pasta is to keep ingredients minimal; otherwise, the pasta will be overwhelmed with too many flavors and you won’t be able to enjoy ume and shiso flavors. For this recipe I added chicken and buna shimeji mushrooms and they work really well with ume and shiso.
I used chicken tender for this recipe because this part of chicken is very tender and stays moist after it’s cooked. But if you cannot get chicken tenders in your local market, you can replace it with chicken breasts or thighs.
This dish requires only 20 minutes from start to finish and it is a perfect light meal for upcoming warm summer days. Thinking ahead, we paired up this refreshing summery pasta with fruity rosé wine. Mr. JOC would like to review the following wine.
When the weather is warm or hot outside, it’s easy to lose our appetite. This ume shiso pasta is perfect for hot summer days as the slightly tangy and salty taste of ume wakes up your sleepy palate. On hot days like these, my favorite type of wines to drink and relax are Rosé wine. For this ume shiso pasta recipe, we paired it with Inman Family’s 2013 Endless Crush Rosé of Pinot Noir. The Endless Crush Rosé is amazingly smooth and full of bright fruit flavors and complements the pasta really well. What makes this rosé unique from is that Kathleen Inman the winemaker intentionally pressed Pinot Noir for this wine, and not a product of the Sanigée method. The wine’s inviting pink color and its fruity aroma and flavors cools you down sip by sip. The initial flavors has hints of strawberry and guava and ends with a slightly mineral finish. Going to a summer bbq or party? Bring a bottle and share with friends!
Now watch how Nami made this Ume Shiso Pasta. To be honest, this is probably one of my favorite Japanese style pastas she made. I hope you give this a try. You’ll love how simple ingredients play well in this quick recipe.
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Please note: We received no compensation for this review. We received a bottle of Endless Crush from Jarvis Communication free of charge to use in exchange for an honest review.
- 7 oz (200 g) dried spaghetti*
- 10-20 shiso leaves (I like to use a lot for more flavor)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ buna shimeji mushrooms
- 2 umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum)
- 4 pre-cut chicken tenders*
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil (1 Tbsp. for non stick pan)
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- ¼ cup shredded nori (kizami nori)
- Cook spaghetti according to the package instruction in lightly salted boiling water. However, as we will be further cooking spaghetti with the sauce, cook about 1 minute less than the package instruction. Make sure to reserve about ½ cup of pasta cooking water before you drain the spaghetti into a colander.
- Meanwhile, roll up shiso leaves and julienne into thin strips.
- Slice garlic and discard the bottom part of buna shimeji mushrooms.
- Remove a seed from umeboshi and discard. Then mince into small pieces.
- Slice the chicken tender diagonally into 1 inch pieces (this cutting technique is called “Sogigiri”). Sprinkle salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and coat it well with your hands.
- Heat the olive oil on medium high heat and cook garlic until fragrant.
- Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink. Then cook the shimeji mushrooms till coated with oil.
- Add ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water, soy sauce, and umeboshi.
- When the chicken is coated with the sauce, add the spaghetti into the pan.
- Using a tong, coat the spaghetti well with the sauce. If you need more sauce, add the pasta cooking water and soy sauce and adjust the flavor. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste.
- Garnish with shiso leaves and shredded nori on top.
Chicken tenders are also known as chicken fingers and chicken strips. I like to use this part of chicken because they are moist when cooked. These strips of white meat are located on either side of the breastbone, under the breast meat (pectoralis major).
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.