Jewish Journal

Katsuji’s Offering

by Orit Arfa

April 1, 2009 | 2:18 am

Go back to Chosen Dish home
Click here for Michelle’s Offering
Click here for Hilit’s Offering
Click here for the final showdown

Katsuji Tanabe
Katsuji Tanabe

Name: Katsuji Tanabe
Dish: Tuna Thai Tempura Matzah Ball Soup
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Occupation: Executive Chef, Shiloh’s Steakhouse
Years in the professional kitchen: 9
Years in the home kitchen: None
Favorite food to make: Seafood, mostly unkosher kinds (but not at Shiloh’s!)
Favorite food to eat: Rice and rice based dishes
Most memorable matzah ball experience: The first time I tasted a traditional matzah ball soup was at the competition of The Chosen Dish—Hilit’s recipe. For my first experience as a matzah ball soup, the ball was very good!

Katsuji’s Recipe


Step 1:

1 quart fish stock (halibut recommended)
2 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 Kaffir lime leaves
5 curry leaves
5 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup chopped ginger
¼ cup chopped galangal
Spice mix:  1 tsp cumin seeds; 1 tsp anise seeds; ½ tsp whole cloves; 1 tsp fenugreek; 1 tsp grana masala; ½ tsp allspice; 1 tsp fennel seeds; 1 tsp whole mustard seeds; 1 tsp turmeric

Steps 2&3:

1 quart vegetable stock
1 carrot, cubed
1 potato, cubed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small can of coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lime juice

Step 1: Combine the fish stalk with all the carrots, onion, celery, herbs and spice mix. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Steps 2&3: In another pot, combine carrots, potatoes and cilantro in vegetable broth and cook until tender. Strain vegetable broth mix and stir into fish stock broth. Simmer for an additional 25 minutes. Strain the fish-stock mixture and add one tablespoon of the vegetable remains back into the broth. Add the coconut milk and boil for 15-20 minutes for a flavorful broth, then add the carrots and potatoes previously cooked in the vegetable broth.

Katsuji's soup
Katsuji’s soup


4 oz white sea bass
1 egg
Mocha mix
1 tbs mustard
1 tbs chopped garlic
4 tbs mayo
5 oz fresh ahi tuni, cubed
Peanut oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Tempura batter

½ box matzah meal, blended until fine
½ box whole matzah meal
2 egg yolks

Process the fish, eggs, mustard, garlic and mayonnaise in a food processor. Slowly stir in mocha mix until you get thick mayonnaise consistency. In a separate bowl, combine the fine and regular matzah meal, then add two egg yolks and sparkling water until loose pancake batter develops.  Chill.

Season tuna with salt and pepper, then roll tuna in the mayonnaise batter, and coat it in the fine matzah meal. Roll into tempura batter until balls form and fry in peanut oil 375 degrees F until golden brown in peanut oil. Repeat the process. Once fried, add to soup and serve it. Garnish with fresh cilantro and wedge of lime.


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Take Orit Arfa and Jay Firestone and gently place them into the private kitchens of 3 contestants: Michelle Chaim, Hilit Gilat, and Katsuji Tanabe. Extract the stories behind...

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