Saturday, 23 February 2013


Here are some of my favourite Japanese snacks which you can now find in supermarkets, Asian markets and health stores. These snacks go great with beer (especially ice cold Asahi beer) or wine. I usually serve these when I'm entertaining at home and they're always a hit! 

I bought these snacks in Superquinn, Tesco and Holland & Barrett. 

Japanese Rice Crackers

Wasabi peanuts

Edamame Beans

Seaweed Peanuts

Wasabi Peas

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


This is a quick and easy way to add flavour to a fish fillet dish without the hassle of following a complicated recipe. Don't worry if you don't have some of these Japanese ingredients at home as I've mentioned other ingredients which can be used as an alternative. 

Fish fillet (cod/ hake)
1 tbsp Japanese rice wine called SAKE (can use dry sherry or white wine instead)
Potato starch (can use corn starch or flour instead) 
Nanami-togarashi (can use other seasoning such as salt & pepper instead)
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Pour sake over the fish fillet and using your hands make sure the whole fillet is covered in sake. 
2. Set aside for 10 minutes or longer if you have the time.
3. Pat dry the fish fillet with kitchen towel.
4. Then, coat in potato starch.
5. Sprinkle nanami-togarashi over the fish fillet on both sides.
6. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy based frying pan on high heat and add the fish fillet.
7. Seal the fish fillet on both sides until there is a nice golden brown colour. 
8. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until cooked (depending on the size of the fish fillet). 

Serve with a bowl of boiled white rice and some stir fried vegetables

This spice mix includes chilli, orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, seaweed, Japanese pepper and ginger. It's often added to Japanese dishes to add a little kick and extra taste to the dish. 



Friday, 15 February 2013

Japanese Renkon & Wakame Salad - Lotus Root & Seaweed Salad

This is a refreshing and healthy salad that can be quickly prepared. You don't have to follow the exact ingredients listed below, use whatever you have in the fridge! 

Click here to see my last post on lotus root which has a brief note on the health benefits associated with lotus root and where it can be sourced.  
300g renkon/ lotus root (peeled and cut into thin slices)
1 medium sized carrot (peeled and cut into julienne strips)
Half a large cucumber (remove seeds and cut into julienne strips)
1 tbsp dried wakame (seaweed)
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp Japanese soya sauce
Salt & Pepper (to season)

1. Add 1 tsp of  vinegar and sliced lotus root to a mediun sized saucepan of boiling water and boil for 10 mins

2. Remove the lotus root from the water and set aside to cool on kitchen towel to remove excess water.

3. Place the dried wakame in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes. Then remove the wakame from the water and place on kitchen towel to remove the excess water. 

4. Place the cooled lotus root, wakame, carrots and cucumber in a large salad bowl.

5. Add 2 tbsp of mayo, 1 tsp of soya sauce and pepper

6. Mix well and serve chilled.

After peeling lotus root it can quickly turn brown so soak it in water and vinegar if you're not going to use it immediately

Where can I find lotus root? 
In most Asian markets

What are the health benefits associated with lotus root?
Low in calories and high in dietary fibre, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, thiamim and riboflavin. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


I love making temaki when I'm entertaining family or friends at home. Sometimes I prepare the temaki rolls in advance and other times I leave all the ingredients in the centre of the table and let everyone dig in and make their own temaki. My nieces and nephews eyes always light up when they're allowed to make their own temaki so it's a enjoyable way to encourage kids to eat a healthy meal. 

Temaki sushi is a cone shaped hand roll wrapped in nori seaweed and filled with sushi rice and your favourite ingredients.

Sushi rice and seasoning
160g sushi rice (uncooked)
Japanese white rice vinegar 50ml
Sugar 1 tbsp
Salt half tsp

Half nori (roasted seaweed) sheets
Smoked salmon or raw salmon (make sure to source salmon which is suitable for eating raw)
Avocado (peeled and cut into long strips)
Mango (peeled and cut into long strips)

Sesame seeds (optional to garnish)
Soya sauce (optional as a dipping sauce)

How to prepare sushi rice
1. Click here to see my post on how to prepare and cook Japanese rice. 
2. To make the sushi rice seasoning pour 50ml of rice vinegar and 1 tbsp of sugar into a non-aluminium saucepan. 
3. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and then add half tsp of salt. Stir, take off the heat and allow to cool. 
4. Once the rice is cooked transfer it to a shallow non-metallic baking tray using a rice spatula or wooden spoon. 
5. Sprinkle the sushi rice seasoning evenly over the rice and then gently turn the rice with a spatula (try not to break the rice grains by gently using the spatula to cut into the rice at an angle and fold over the rice).
6. Fan the rice using a fan or a piece of cardboard to help cool the rice to room temperature and absorb the excess sushi rice seasoning. 
7. Try to use the rice as soon as possible and avoid putting it in the fridge as this will harden the rice. You can cover the rice with a damp tea towel and set aside in a cool place until needed.
1. Cut the nori sheet in half placing the shiny side of the nori sheet down.

2. Put a heaped tablespoon of sushi rice on the left side of the nori sheet. 

3. Moisten your hands before spreading the rice evenly over nearly half of the nori sheet using your fingertips.

4. Place all the ingredients including the strip of salmon, avocado and mango at a 45 degree angle on the rice (try not to overload with ingredients as this will make it difficult to roll).

6. Slowly start to roll the temaki by taking the bottom left corner of the nori and fold it over towards the top right corner of the rice. Continue to fold as shown in the photos below. Place a few grains of cooked rice on the last corner of the nori (to stop the roll unfolding) and finish folding. 

 7. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the temaki. 

Serve as soon as possible so that the nori is still crispy. Dip into a little soya sauce and eat with your hand. 

You can roll the temaki by laying the nori on the palm of your hand but I find it easier to roll the temaki on a solid surface. 

Temaki is a perfect finger food to serve at a party. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Donburi means bowl in Japanese but when referring to food it can mean a Japanese rice bowl dish. So when a dish is served sitting on a bowl of rice the name of the dish often ends with don (the abbreviation for donburi)!

Oyako-don (chicken and egg dish) and katsu-don (pork cutlet, egg and onion dish) are two of the most popular donburi dishes in Japan.

I made my own donburi dish one evening using leftovers in the fridge and was delighted to find that spinach and beansprouts go really well with tofu in a stir-fry. You can use whatever leftover vegetables you have at home for this dish once you have the rice and the seasoning. 

Serves 4
Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 30 mins

Bowl of cooked rice per person serving
Vegetable oil or rapeseed oil (for frying)
Sesame oil (for frying)
150g tofu, preferably GM free (carefully cut into bite size rectangular pieces)
2 large garlic cloves (peeled and finely grated)
Thumbsize piece of ginger (peeled and finely grated)
150g Spinach/ Pak choi
150g Beansprouts

2 tbsp sake (Japanese rice wine)
3 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar

Roasted sesame seeds or nanami togarashi (optional to garnish)

1. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat. 
2. Gently place the tofu pieces on the pan and fry both sides of the tofu until slightly browned.
3. Carefully place the fried tofu pieces on a plate and set aside.
4. Heat 1 tsp of vegetable oil and 1 tsp of sesame oil in a heavy based saucepan.
5. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for less than one minute (do not brown).
6. Toss in the beansprouts, spinach and finally add the fried tofu pieces.
7. Pour the sake evenly over the veg and tofu followed by soya sauce and sugar. Then gently stir.
8. Fry for a few minutes until the seasoning has absorbed into the vegetables and tofu.
9. Serve on top of a bowl of white rice.
10. Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds or nanami togarashi over the dish.

How to eat:
This dish can be served immediately with rice. It can also be eaten cold like a salad and tastes great the next day!

1. Freeze leftover rice in the freezer in portion sizes wrapped in cling film.
2. Try not to overcook the vegetables.

Please see my posts on Basic Japanese Ingredients to understand the basic ingredients used for Japanese cooking.
Basic Japanese Ingredients Part I
Basic Japanese Ingredients Part II

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Japanese hearty breakfast - miso soup with poached egg

Japanese people consider breakfast to be one of the most important meals of the day. A traditional Japanese breakfast includes a bowl of rice, miso soup and side dishes which are usually leftover from the previous day's dinner.
It's not always practical to prepare a full traditional Japanese breakfast but this hearty miso soup is a nice compromise!

Serves 4
1 litre homemade dashi stock or 1 litre water and 1 tbsp instant dashi granules
300g tofu, preferably GM free (cut into bite size cubes)
1 tbsp dried wakame 
1 poached egg (preferably organic or free range) per each bowl serving
2-3 tbsp miso paste (you can add more if you like a stronger taste) 

Scallions/ Spring onion (finely diced to garnish)
Sesame seeds or nanami togarashi (optional to garnish)
*Click here to see miso and dashi explained on my "Basic Japanese ingredients - what they are and where you can find them" post
*Click here to see my recipe for homemade dashi (fish stock) 


  1. If you're using homemade dashi then click here to see how to make homemade dashi. Once the homemade dashi is ready put it in a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. If you're using instant dashi granules then put 1 litre of cold water into a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Then add 1 tbsp of instant dashi granules to the water and stir.
  3. Once the dashi is boiling add the wakame seaweed and reduce the heat so that the water isn't boiling but simmering.
  4. Gently toss the tofu pieces into the saucepan.
  5. Dilute the miso paste in a cup of dashi taken from the saucepan. Then, add to the saucepan and gently mix all the ingredients. 
  6. Pour the miso soup into a bowl.
  7. Place the poached egg on top of the miso soup.
  8. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds/nanami togarashi 
How to eat:
Serve in a bowl with chopsticks or a spoon. Japanese people hold the bowl to their mouth to drink the soup. They use chopsticks to eat the bite size ingredients in the soup.

Never boil the miso soup only allow to simmer.

Why not: 
Put udon noodles or one large spoon of boiled rice in the bottom of the bowl before pouring the miso soup. 

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