If you think Japanese cuisine can be summed up by sushi and ramen, change your mind soon. Japanese cuisine is so broad and versatile that we too are still encountering new Japanese dishes and ingredients. We recently tasted namelaka: an extremely soft Japanese chocolate mousse.
Did you already know it? We neither.
What is namelaka?
In short, you could describe namelaka as Japanese chocolate mousse. The literal translation of the word means ‘extremely creamy’. What makes namelaka different from the French mousse au chocolat that we know, is firstly that it is – as a rule – made from white chocolate. The texture is also slightly different: it is a bit between ganache and mousse and is therefore super soft.
The preparation also differs: it reminds us a bit of that of panna cotta , where you heat cream and milk and let it thicken with gelatin. In the case of namelaka, white chocolate is added to it before it goes into the fridge to harden.
An elegant dessert
Namelaka may be very tasty on its own, but it is also often used as part of a dessert. With the help of a piping bag, the chocolate mousse can easily be poured into all kinds of shapes and chefs make all kinds of creations with it. For example, we recently received the stunning version from chef Onno Kokmeijer , who piped the mousse onto a plate as an elegant circle and filled it with miso caramel and white chocolate sorbet.
Adding seasonings to the namelaka is also a principle that we see chefs experimenting with. They do this by infusing the milk in advance with ingredients such as citrus, coconut, cocoa or matcha. Would you like to try this yourself? Great British Chefs has a great recipe that you can use as a base.
It’s not high math, although it’s best to keep in mind that the mousse has to set in the fridge for twelve hours. But patience is – as always – a virtue.