Pairing Sake with Food

Sake is a fascinating drink, high in amino acids that heighten our experience of Umami by enriching the perception of savory flavors. However, I like to think of Sake as a “polite” dinner guest, as it never gets into a fight with food, according to Philip Harper’s The Book of Sake.

In a great article written by Shirley Booth, founder of the British Sake Association, I learned how to select different sakes by the style of food and the temperature. Here is what she had to say:

    Lighter sakes are best for raw fish, as beer and wine can amplify fishy odors –a DaiGinjo (Chikuha is a good one) a fruity Ginjo, or even a crisp dry Honjozo – served chilled at 5-10°C would work best.
    Fried or grilled dishes need a high acidity, umami-rich sake such as a yamahai or junmai, to help oily dishes such as tempura or grilled eel, or rich spicy meat dishes, such as Korean barbecue.
    Sake reduces bitterness and odor in Japanese cooking, so anything with miso or soy sauce, such as poaching fish, is best with Sake. Sake even enhances the flavor in pickled foods, which contain whopping amounts of amino acids that stimulate the umami receptor.
    Cheese rind can be washed with sake during the affinage stage creating a wonderful aromatic component

Try matching sake with your Tapestry of Taste profile and see what exciting recipes you can create with My Flavor Matrix.

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