Grilled Prawns (Marinated in Umeboshi and Peppercorn Sauce)
“Umeboshi paste is one of the ingredients that blew me away and opened my mind. There is no equivalent in the Western flavor profile. It’s a combination of saltiness, sweetness and fermented funkiness in one ingredient and you can do so much with it.”
— Chef Ian Alvarez, Bara Restaurant
[Ingredients: Serves 6]
• 2 dozen head-on prawns, skewered
Umeboshi and peppercorn sauce:
• 2 cups prunes, chopped
• 3 cups verjus
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup Szechuan peppercorns
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
• 1/4 cup light soy sauce
• Zest of one lime and juice
• 1/4 cup green peppercorns
• 1/4 cup umeboshi paste
• 2 tbsp white soy sauce
1. Combine prunes, verjus, sugar, Szechuan peppercorns, garlic, ginger, light soy, lime zest and juice.
2. Place on the stove and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
3. Remove from stove.
4. Place in a blender and puree until smooth.
5. Allow to cool slightly, then fold in green peppercorns, umeboshi paste and white soy.
6. Cool completely in the fridge.
7. Toss prawns in enough sauce to coat and allow to marinate for at least two hours.
8. Grill over high heat, basting with more sauce as the prawns cook.
9. Serve with nori and grilled lemon. Finish prawns with cracked pepper and crunchy thick sea salt like Maldon.
Made from pickled plum, umeboshi paste has a beautiful balance of sourness, sweetness and saltiness with a fruity sensation. In Japan, it’s used as a condiment/seasoning to add a kick to dishes such as temaki (hand roll) sushi, onigiri rice ball and yakitori chicken skewer.
Ian Alvarez, Executive Chef
Born and raised in New York City, Executive Chef Alvarez was exposed to cooking at an early age and influenced by his multicultural family. Working at both a noodle bar and French restaurant for years, he developed his own culinary style that blends classical European technique with flavor profiles from Latin America, the Far East and Central Asia.
Bara fuses the essences of the French wine bar and Japanese izakaya cultures. Chef Alvarez’s expertise and flavorful fusions, along with Bara’s casually developed environment makes this place a hit. Everything from steaks and pastas, to kimchi and tonkotsu can be found on their menu, making it a great place to explore cuisine and wines. The word bara itself has many meanings, just as the restaurant Bara has many faces.
Location: 58 E. 1st St., (bet. 1st & 2nd Aves.), New York, NY 10003