Saturday, 27 October 2012


Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Serves 4

320g Japanese rice (or other type of rice), uncooked
Sesame oil, for frying
Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
2 x garlic cloves, finely diced
200g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2cm cubes
100g fresh or frozen peas

1. Cook rice (please click here to see my post on how to cook Japanese rice).
2. Pour 1-2 tsp of sesame oil on a frying pan and turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot add the garlic and ginger. Slowly cook for a few minutes on low/ medium heat.
3. Add the pumpkin cubes and continue to cook for another few minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper. 
5. Turn the heat to medium/ high and add a few tbsp of water to allow the pumpkin to cook faster. When the water has almost reduced turn the heat to low/medium.
6. Add the peas, stir and continue to fry for a few more minutes.
7. In a large saucepan mix the hot cooked rice and pumpkin mix together and drizzle 1-2 tbsp of soya sauce evenly over the rice.

You can eat this dish as a main course or a side dish served with other dishes.
Try not to add too much soya sauce as it will over power the rest of the flavours.
Add king prawn or shrimp to this dish.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Healthy Japanese Spinach Salad Recipe: Ohitashi Horenso

A traditional Japanese meal consists of rice, fish or meat, soup and then side dishes called okazu. These delicious okazus take little time to prepare once you have the basic ingredients. I find this recipe a great way to use leftover vegetables in the fridge. One of my favourite toppings for this side dish is sesame seeds but I also love garlic and ginger fried in sesame oil. I'd love if you'd share your favourite topping with me once you've tried this recipe!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 minute

Bunch of fresh spinach, washed 
Salt (pinch of salt)
Soya sauce
Sesame seeds (optional for topping)
Bonito flakes (optional for topping)


1. Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water for less than 1 minute.

2. Remove from the water and drain in a colander. Use your hands to gently squeeze any excess water.

3. Place the spinach leaves in a serving bowl as they are, or alternatively shape the leaves with your hands into a roll and cut as shown in the picture above.
4. Lightly drizzle soya sauce over the spinach.

5. Sprinkle sesame seeds or bonito flakes over the spinach.

How to serve:
Goes really well as a side dish with boiled rice.

Depending on the type of spinach it may take less or more time to cook.

- To make perfectly rolled spinach rolls use a sushi mat to form a nice firm spinach roll.

Why not:
Finely chop garlic or ginger, fry with sesame oil and use as the topping.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


This recipe is perfect to use when you have leftover pumpkin seeds during Halloween and the pumpkin season. Pumpkin seeds are full of nutritional benefits and not surprisingly a popular healthy snack in Japan. 

Japanese people don't celebrate Halloween however they have a Buddhist celebration called O-Bon (Festival of Souls) which is celebrated in July or August for three days. During this time they return to their hometowns as they believe that the souls of their ancestors will return home at this time. They welcome their ancestors home by placing lanterns outside their houses and offering food to them. 

Leftover pumpkin seeds from one large pumpkin 
Rapeseed oil/ Vegetable oil

Seasoning options
1. Freshly ground salt & pepper
2. Cayenne pepper
3. Nana togarashi/ Shicimi togarashi (Japanese mixed seasoning available in Asian markets)

1. Wash the pumpkin seeds in water removing any pulp attached to the seeds.

2. Dry the pumpkin seeds using kitchen towel.

3. Season with a small bit of oil and your preferred seasoning option listed above. 

4. Place the seeds evenly on a baking tray in a preheated oven (150°C) for about 40 minutes when the seeds have a nice golden brown colour.

How to eat?
Serve as fingerfood at a party or eat as a healthy snack instead of peanuts or crisps.

1. Try not to overcook the seeds as they will become hard and won't taste great.
2. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Why not:
Add the pumpkin seeds to a salad or rice. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

MATCHA - Japanese Green Powder Tea

Matcha has grown in popularity throughout the world in recent years due to it's undeniable health benefits. Traditionally, matcha was only consumed by the elite and used in formal tea ceremonies. Today, it is consumed daily like a regular tea and also used to flavor other foods and drinks such as desserts and lattes. 

There is an Irish company called "The Matcha Tea Company" and they sell a wonderful range of products including matcha porridge and matcha flapjacks (

Here are some interesting facts about matcha:
- contains virtually no calories
full of antioxidants which prevent cancer
- 10 times more concentrated that regular green tea
- delays the signs of ageing
- burns calories
- aids digestion
- relieves stress
- contains caffeine but unlike coffee energy is released slowly into the body
- energy booster


1. Put 1/4 tsp of green tea powder into a cup. 

2. Use a bamboo whisk (called chasen) to get rid of any lumps in the powder.

3. Pour a little hot water between 70°C(158°F)-80°C(176°F) into a cup and whisk. Do not use boiling water.

4. Pour the remaining hot water into the cup.


1. Use more than 1/4 tsp of green powder tea depending on your taste
2. There are different grades of matcha, a good quality matcha will cost a little over 20 euro. 

Where I buy good quality matcha and traditional matcha utensils: 
Koyu Matcha sell different grades of matcha tea and the traditional utensils used to make matcha

Les Palais  Des Thes (Wicklow St Dublin 2) sell a range of different teas from around the world including matcha and other types of Japanese teas. They also sell beautiful tea canisters and traditional Japanese tea utensils.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


After reading several good reviews about Musashi I was excited to go there and check it out for myself! I popped into Musashi with my husband for a quick lunch on a Friday afternoon. We were greeted by friendly staff and asked to wait for a table as the restaurant was full. While we waited we enjoyed soaking up the bustling atmosphere. We were seated after 5 minutes and given complimentary green tea. When I asked the waitress for a refill she returned with a small pot of Japanese green tea which I thought was a nice touch. At first glance, I wanted to order everything on the menu! Then, I promised myself that if the food was good I'd return and work my way through the menu. Finally, I decided on the bento box special which included Japanese style breaded chicken on a bed of stir fried vegetables, lightly fried squid with a Japanese style salad, 2 pieces of maki sushi and rice (miso soup was served with the bento box). My husband ordered the seafood miso ramen. We love authentic/ traditional Japanese cuisine so this was a big treat and brought us right back to our time in Japan. Our lunch cost just over 20 euro which is more than reasonable for an enjoyable lunch in central Dublin. The whole experience surpassed our expectations and we'll definitely return again soon to try the sushi and sashimi.

Twitter: @musashi_sushi
Phone: 01 5328068

Irish times article on Musashi:

NOTES: All restaurant reviews posted on this blog are written by me without the prior knowledge of the restaurant. I visit the restaurant as an average customer and always pay for the food!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Japanese Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken teriyaki is probably one of the most well known and liked Japanese dishes in the West. So it's not surprising that since I started this blog I've been asked many times to post a recipe for chicken teriyaki! I got this recipe from a Japanese chef called Seiya Nakano during a cooking class in the Dublin Cookery School. I was impressed to hear from him that Gordon Ramsay travelled to Galway to meet him to learn how to make the perfect Japanese sushi.
I've changed his recipe a little as I thought the original recipe was a little too sweet and I replaced clarified butter with rapeseed oil. If you'd like the sauce to be a little sweeter just add more sugar.
2 chicken breasts (skin on preferably)
Vegetable oil/ Rapeseed oil (for frying the chicken)
Teriyaki sauce
8 tbsp soya sauce
4 tbsp sake
4 tbsp mirin
2 tsp sugar

Serves 2

1. Mix all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce in a bowl and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan (medium to high heat).
3. Place the chicken breasts skin side down in the saucepan.
4. When the skin has become brown and crispy turn the chicken over and cook the other side.
5. When the chicken is almost cooked pour the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. At this point reduce the heat (medium to low).
6. While cooking the chicken and teriyaki sauce together use a spoon to pour the sauce over the chicken to ensure the flavour is fully absorbed.
7. Continue to cook until all the sauce is forming tiny bubbles and resembles a syrup.
How to eat:
Cut the chicken breast into slices as shown in the picture above. Pour the remaining sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice and vegetables.
Be careful not to let the teriyaki sauce get too thick and syrupy.
Why not:
Try this dish with beef, salmon or vegetables.

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