Photo above by Eric Futran


Saffron Rice, Wasabi, Apple, Radish

I grew up on a very small island off Taiwan where most of the men work as fishermen. The seafood is exquisitely fresh and usually just briefly steamed in order to showcase the natural sweetness of the sea. We are far from the ocean in Chicago, often with only frozen product available, so a more elaborated preparation seemed permissible. Unusual pairings can make satisfying surprises like the combination of freshly grated wasabi and diced green apples. Saffron is an exotic Western ingredient and I love the flavor so I wanted to include it in the recipe.

– Jeng

Saffron Rice


1 cup long grain rice, jasmine or basmati rice are recommended

1 tbl neutral oil

½ tsp salt

1 pinch saffron (about an 1/8th of a teaspoon)

2 cups boiling water


In a thick-bottomed pan over medium heat, warm the oil and sauté the rice until the grains become opaque.

Add saffron and salt and continue to sauté for a few seconds. Add boiling water and boil vigorously until the grains of rice begin to appear through the liquid and the surface of the rice starts to appear pockmarked with air holes.

Cover the pan tightly and reduce the heat to low for ten minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit undisturbed for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork. Allow the rice to cool completely before stuffing the squid bodies.

Stuffed Squid


5 or 6 squid tubes

1 Granny Smith apple

3 fresh wasabi roots or wasabi powder

1/2 cup Chardonnay

3 radishes


Clean the squid bodies and stuff with the cold rice. Skewer the top of each squid body with a toothpick.

Sear the squid in olive oil until just lightly colored. Set aside.

Deglaze the pan with Chardonnay, creating a pan sauce with the squid jus and wine and reserve.

Chill the stuffed squid in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

If using fresh wasabi roots: peel and grind the wasabi roots into a paste.

If using wasabi powder: mix two teaspoons of wasabi powder with a tablespoon of cold water. Stir until combined. It will thicken slightly as it sits.

Dice the apple and mix with the wasabi paste.

Slice the radish into paper-thin circles.

Cut cooled squid bodies into rounds. Place three pieces of squid on top of plated radish slices.

Dot the plates with a spoonful of the apple-wasabi relish and drizzle with the reserved Chardonnay jus.

Next course:

06: Almond Cake

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