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Valentine's Day Dinner:
Exotic taste treats include chocolate

chocolate and chopsticksIn Japan, it is the women who give chocolate to men on Valentine's Day.

This tradition initiated by savvy confection retailers is admittedly the perfect way to oblige male recipients one month later. On White Day, March 14, the men in Japan reciprocate with more expensive gifts of chocolates, all wrapped up in white boxes.

If a woman really likes a man she'll buy him expensive, liqueur-filled chocolates, or chocolate-shaped golf balls, TVs, or computers. She is also obligated to give chocolate to her boss, her brothers, and even to the men in her life who don't stir her affection. For them, any old chocolate bar will do.

Teppanyaki is a cornerstone of Japanese cuisine, a vibrant multi-course meal that knife-flashing chefs prepare right at your table. For those who have not yet developed that kind of skill, do consider these equally exotic recipes from Kikkoman, a naturally brewed soy sauce known to enhance the flavor of other ingredients:

Chocolate Sauce with a Kikkoman

Asian kitchens serve a tantalizing chocolate sauce or dip by combining 6% cocoa powder with 10% Kikkoman Soy Sauce. The delicacy of the salty brewed flavor depresses the extra sweetness of typical ice cream syrups and enhances the richness of the cocoa. The result: a deep, nutty, roasted chocolate flavor that sweethearts can adore.

huli huli spareribsHuli-Huli Spareribs for Two

1/4 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/8 cup tomato ketchup
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 1/2 pounds (680 g) pork spareribs, cut into 1-rib pieces

Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl; add ribs and toss to thoroughly coat. Reserving sauce, remove ribs and place meaty side up in a microwave-safe baking dish. Let stand 10 minutes. Cover; microwave on Medium-High (70%) 16 minutes, rotating dish once. Remove ribs; cook on grill 11 cm from medium-hot coals 8 to 10 minutes, turning over and brushing occasionally with reserved sauce.

chicken kabobsSpicy Chicken Kabobs for Two

4 chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup Kikkoman Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp minced green onions
1 tsp sesame seed, toasted
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
Metal or bamboo skewers

Remove bones from thighs, being careful to keep skin attached to meat. Cut each thigh into quarters; place in large plastic food storage bag. Combine next 6 ingredients; pour into bag over chicken. Press air out of bag; close top securely. Turn over several times to coat pieces. Let stand 30 minutes; turn bag over once. Thread 4 pieces on each skewer; broil 8 cm from heat, 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until tender.


(Happy Valentines' Day! - in Japanese)

About the Author...
J. Caroline Carroll

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