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FLAVOR PAIRINGS & TRENDS >  - Peppercorn Mélange & Sake (with Recipe)


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Peppercorn Mélange & Sake Flavor Pairing


Recipe below
Beautifully poised balance and harmony. Gaining popularity on the cocktail scene and as a versatile wine for cooking, sake finds a befitting partner in the quintessentially French unison of multicolored peppercorns. The balanced heat of peppercorn mélange accents the clean vigor of a centuries-old Japanese beverage.

An eye-catching and multi-dimensional mixture of black, white, green and pink, peppercorn mélange adds a colorful counterpoint to sake’s uplifting clarity.

The lively blend adds a montage of pungent, hot flavors and softer, cedar-like undertones. Once considered the “drink of the gods,” sake dates back more than 1,800 years. The medley of flavors found in different styles of this fermented rice wine – ranging from fruity sweet and acidic to dry and slightly bitter – hints at its flexibility as an ingredient.

Taste the unity of these flavors in Peppercorn Mélange Chicken and Udon Noodles in Lemon Grass-Sake Broth (featured on the cover) or in a Sake Green Tea Martini with Crushed Peppercorns. The combination also comes to life as a mixture for curing salmon or hamachi, a mignonette sauce with freshly shucked oysters, or with mixed berries in a peppercorn-sake syrup.

Peppercorn Mélange & Sake

“This pairing is very creative and fun; we love combining flavors that might be juxtaposed to surprise the palate. The possibilities of sake and peppercorn mélange are endless.”
Justin Beam, Mixologist | Fearing’s, Dallas


The pairing of Peppercorn Mélange and sake adds heat and floral notes to this Japanese-inspired meal-in-one udon noodle bowl with grilled chicken, shitake mushrooms and vegetables.
Prep Time:  20 minutes 
Cook Time: 25 minutes 
Makes 6 servings.


• 2 teaspoons McCormick® Gourmet Collection™ Peppercorn Mélange, divided  
• 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection™ Sicilian Sea Salt  
• 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves  
• 3 stalks McCormick® Gourmet Collection™ Lemon Grass   
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil  
• 4 heads baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
• 8 shitake mushrooms, sliced  
• 5 cups chicken stock
• 1/3 cup dry sake (Japanese rice wine)  
• 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection™ Ground Ginger   
• 1/2 cup snow peas  
• 1/4 cup each red and yellow bell pepper strips
• 2 packages (about 7 ounces each) precooked/instant udon noodles, cooked as directed on package
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Place 1 teaspoon of the peppercorns in large resealable plastic bag.  Close tightly. Pound with a rolling pin, mallet or heavy skillet until coarsely cracked.  Mix with sea salt.  Press seasoning mixture onto both sides of chicken breasts.  Grill over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through, turning frequently.  Keep warm. 
2. Place remaining 1 teaspoon peppercorns and lemon grass stalks in the center of a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter.  Tie tightly with a long piece of string.  
3. Heat sesame oil in large saucepan on medium heat.  Add bok choy and shitake mushrooms; cook and stir 2 minutes.  Add chicken stock, sake, ginger and the spice bundle; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.  Add snow peas and bell peppers; simmer 5 minutes longer or until tender-crisp.  Remove spice bundle.  
4. Slice chicken diagonally into thin slices.  Divide noodles, broth mixture and chicken evenly among soup bowls.  Sprinkle with green onions, if desired.  

Test Kitchen Tips:

• Udon noodles are Japanese noodles made from wheat.  They can be found in the Asian aisle of some supermarkets and in Asian groceries. They are available in the precooked/instant form in aseptic packages or in the dried form.  
• To use dried udon noodles, cooked noodles in large pot of boiling water 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.  Rinse under cold water; drain well.  Prepare recipe as directed, adding drained noodles with snow peas and red peppers.
• Sake is available wherever fine wines are sold.  It may also be found in the Asian aisle of some supermarkets or in Asian groceries.  

Nutritional Information Per Serving:  263 Calories, Fat 5g, Protein 29g, Carbohydrates 22g, Cholesterol 60mg, Sodium 744mg, Fiber 1g 


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