Guest Author - Chidori Phillips
Many of the sushi bar offerings today are new inventions by creative sushi bar chefs in America, such as spicy tuna roll and dynamite rolls that are made with Thai hot sauce. It is called Sriracha; however the Japanese pronounce it chiracha. Sriracha is made from ground red chilis, garlic, vinegar and salt. Sriracha is the generic name for the hot sauce of which there are slight variations with some using a bit of sugar. The most commonly sold in Asian food markets in the United States has a rooster on the label.
Sriracha hot sauce is added not only to maguro (tuna) to make spicy tuna roll, but to Japanese mayonnaise for dipping sauces and condiments with a kick. A well-known sushi bar selection is broiled mussels with dynamite sauce. As you guessed, Sriracha is the explosion in the dynamite sauce.
Here is the recipe for mussels on the half shell topped with a spicy masago-mayo mixture and broiled until hot and bubbly. Fresh mussels always taste best, as long as they are fresh and healthy. If local supplies are not so reliable, turn to frozen cooked mussels on the half shell that can be found in your Asian food market. Defrost them before using.
If you can find fresh mussels, choose the ones with tightly closed shells or the ones that will shut their shells when touched. Opened shells that do not respond to touch indicates a dead mussel. Mussels begin to decompose the minute they are dead and can become toxic quickly. If a mussel feels too heavy (as compared to other healthy mussels), it might be filled with mud or sand so discard it. Keep your mussels on ice until it is time to prepare them.
Rinse the mussels carefully under running water, removing the beards or hairy filaments that are attached. Again, check for dead mussels and discard them. Place about an inch of water in a pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover with a lid. Steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then carefully remove the top shell of each mussel.
Using your fingers or a sharp paring knife, lift the mussel meat from the bottom shell. Then, put it back on the half shell and place it on a baking sheet. Continue with all of the mussels and proceed with the following recipe.
Broiled Mussels with Dynamite Sauce
1 dozen prepared mussels
1 cup Japanese mayonnaise
2 tsp. Sriracha hot red chili sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh masago (smelt or orange fish roe)
½ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Prepare the mussels as directed above and line them on a baking sheet. In a mixing bowl, blend together the Japanese mayonnaise, Sriracha red chili sauce and masago. Spread each mussel with a small amount of the masago-mayo sauce, about ½ tablespoon.
Place the mussels under a hot broiler for about 5 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from broiler. Sprinkle with panko, if desired. Serve hot.