Mayonnaise is a truly versatile condiment and ingredient. The chip dip, salad dressing, sandwich flavouring, chocolate cake moistening and all-round topping for just about anything is nothing short of a food hero. Not sure when mayonnaise picked up a reputation as an unhealthy food but this stigma has kind of stuck to it. There are of course versions of mayonnaise such as the popular Japanese. This mayonnaise is popular for its richer, creamier and slightly sweeter taste. Unique as it is you may need a substitute for Japanese mayonnaise once in a while. Let’s look at the unique qualities of Japanese mayonnaise then look at possible substitutes.
Japanese mayonnaise is credited as the 1924 invention of Tochiro Nakashima of Kewpie company who intended to make a condiment that would help people enjoy eating vegetables more. The result was a mayonnaise that uses only egg yolks instead of whole eggs and rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. The flavour is described as being rich, creamy and sweeter than regular mayonnaise. The mayonnaise is used to top dishes ranging from sushi, okonomiyaki (savoury pancake), takoyaki (octopus meatballs) and yakisoba (noodle stir fry) and katsu (deep-fried pork). So what are the substitutes for this tough act to follow?
Make Your Own Japanese Mayonnaise
If you absolutely love and desire the taste of Japanese mayonnaise but just can’t get your hands on it your best bet is to make your Japanese mayonnaise. The advantage of substituting it this way is you will get Japanese mayonnaise but you’ll be surprised how easy the ingredients needed to produce your Japanese mayonnaise are to find. You will need egg yolk, dijon mustard, vegetable oil, sea salt, dashi powder, rice vinegar and lemon juice. There are a few important things to note about the ingredients you use if you want the best results. Firstly your ideal egg is pasteurised. Eggs are pasteurised by lightly heating them at temperatures that will kill bacteria without cooking the egg. This is done to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses being passed on where food is consumed uncooked as with eggs in mayonnaise. If you cannot find pasteurised eggs use the freshest eggs you can find or pasteurise them yourself though this is complicated. You can use just about any vegetable oil for this recipe but you want something that doesn’t have a distinct flavour like olive oil but rather a neutral flavour. You will need a blender or food processor to get the best results though you will still get good results from hand whisking. Firstly make sure your egg yolk is at room temperature. Put the egg yolk in your mixing vessel then add 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard for every egg yolk and whisk or blend. Next up is three-quarters of a cup of vegetable oil for every egg yolk and you want to slowly drizzle the oil as you mix. This is where a food processor or blender becomes an advantage over hand whisking. When you’ve added around a quarter cup of oil (one-third of your oil) add the salt, sugar and dashi powder. Once these dry ingredients are mixed in you can continue trickling in the remaining vegetable oil and remember to keep whisking. Finally, once you are done blending the oil in you can add the remaining ingredients which are lemon juice and rice vinegar. These two ingredients are emulsifiers for your mayonnaise and their job is to help keep a consistent spread of the various fats in the mayonnaise. However, if you process or whisk for too long you can get the reverse effect so keep whisking or processing at this stage to a maximum of 20 seconds. It’s best to store this mixture in the refrigerator as you would do regular mayonnaise. Just make sure you use it within four days of preparation.
Mayonnaise, Rice Vinegar And Sugar
Granted you may not always have pasteurised eggs laying around or the time to prepare your Japanese mayonnaise but you just want something that you can use to approximate the taste of Japanese mayonnaise. There is a homemade hack you can use that makes the best of items you are likely to already have in your house or you can find at a convenience store if you had to buy. All you will need is your regular mayonnaise, rice vinegar and sugar. It’s best to use a regular mayonnaise rather than a tangy version as this will get in the way of approximating the taste of Japanese mayonnaise. You can use a blender, food processor or a hand whisk for this. Place one cup of mayonnaise in your mixing vessel and add 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar. You can blend, process or whisk until the sugar dissolves into the mixture and you have your Japanese mayonnaise substitute. The combination of the sugar and the rice vinegar will give a sweet and tangy combination similar to that in Japanese mayonnaise. You should store this mixture the same way you regularly store your mayonnaise. On the downside, this mixture will not match the thicker texture that is usually associated with Japanese mayonnaise.
Japanese mayonnaise is such a hard act to follow and replicate. Its recipe is a proprietary secret. If you’re looking for a Japanese mayonnaise substitute making your own is the best way to get something close to it and the ingredients are easy enough to find. If your need is more about something quick and accessible you can try the mixture of regular mayonnaise, rice vinegar and sugar.