“Can we…eat this?” a man asks, dangling a fresh radish by its greens.
We’re standing at a table at the Brooklyn launch party of Cabi, a new brand of Japanese condiments emphasizing their ease of use and versatility—“no cooking required,” the website touts. All the prepared bites were quickly claimed, leaving bare a lush display of toothsome raw vegetables. I assure him the tablescape is indeed for grazing, and he promptly grabs a bottle of zesty sansho peppercorn miso and squeezes a neat line atop a carrot, like mustard on a hot dog.
This may not be quite how you envision Japanese home cooking (or indeed any type of cooking). But Cabi’s founders, Eri Miyagi and Miki Nomura, hope to change minds when it comes to incorporating Japanese flavors into easy meals—for all levels of cooking, or no cooking at all.
Cabi’s trio of adorably packaged all-natural, made-in-Japan seasonings—sweet yuzu vinegar, umami dashi soy sauce, and zesty sansho peppercorn miso—aim for flexibility and versatility. Indeed, the founders stress that these aren’t just limited to use in Japanese dishes—and they steer away from the word authentic. “You can add these Japanese flavors to any dishes you cook at home,” Miyagi says.
Wash 20 cherry tomatoes (the rounder the better). Blanch them for 10 seconds and then plunge them into ice water. Peel back the tomato skins, and douse with 1 tablespoon sweet yuzu vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon ice cold water. Garnish with mint.