Sides

Japanese Style Salad with Tofu and Kale

Tofu (bean curd) and kale salad is super healthy and nutritious. It’s a great dish for vegans, however the Japanese style fried garlic flavoured dressing makes this salad everyone’s favourite!

Are you one of those people who knows tofu is good for you but isn’t so keen on it? If so, this delicious salad recipe is for you.

Looking gorgeous and vegan friendly: it’s a perfect dish for parties.

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Ingredients

75g Kale

1 packet Tofu

1 Spring Onion (chopped)

2 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)

2 tbs Soy Sauce

1 and 1/2 tbs Apple Vinegar

2 tbs Sesame Oil

2 tsp Sugar

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Method

  1. Boil the kale for 3 minutes. Dice the tofu. Arrange them in a serving bowl.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and fry over a medium heat until golden brown.
  3. Add the soy sauce, apple vinegar, and sugar to the frying pan. Once boiled, turn off the heat. Leave to cool.
  4. Sprinkle the spring onion over the kale and tofu in a bowl and add the dressing.

Key

  • You can find tofu for this recipe easily in your local supermarket nowadays. I use the one pictured below.

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Deep-Fried Aubergine in Miso Flavoured Marinade

My favourite aubergine dish is deep-fried and marinaded in a tasty sauce. I usually marinade it in a Japanese style, soy sauce flavoured dashi stock. I also like pan-fried aubergine with miso, because aubergine really goes well with miso. In that case, why shouldn’t I use miso for a marinade? I tried it and … bingo! It’s a tasty side dish best accompanied with a bowl of rice.

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Level: Easy

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Ingredients for two

1 Aubergine

50g French Beans

Vegetable Oil for deep-frying

A

1 tbs Soy Sauce

½ tbs Miso

½ tbs Sugar

1 tbs Apple Vinegar

1 tbs Sesame Seeds (grounded)

1 tbs Sesame Seeds (toasted)

Method

  1. Put all of the seasonings from the A section together. Mix well until the miso has completely dissolved.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-bottomed pot.
  3. Trim the stem off from the aubergine. Cut in half lengthwise, and then chop into large pieces.
  4.  Add the chopped aubergine into the heated oil (from step 2). Deep-fry the aubergine for 2 to 3 minutes over a medium high heat until softened.
  5. Place the aubergine pieces on kitchen paper and drain any excess oil, and then place in the bowl of seasonings (step 1).
  6. Chop off the tips of the French beans, and deep-fry in the same pot with heated oil for 1 minute. Place them on kitchen paper, and then place in the bowl of seasonings and deep-fried aubergine pieces. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool down before served.

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Key

  • This dish goes well with, not only a bowl of rice, but also soba noodles and udon noodles.
  • The time to deep-fry the aubergine may vary depending on the size of the pieces chopped.
  • Deep-fried aubergine is a popular dish in Japan during summer. Please try cooking this recipe to know more about Japanese food.

How to cook perfect Japanese rice using a rice cooker

I know that most western people think plain white rice is boring, but we Japanese absolutely love it. Whether you want to serve with a main course, make sushi rolls or a Japanese style lunch box, cooking perfect white rice is crucial. If you cook rice quite regularly, investing in a rice cooker is a good idea, as it guarantees to cook perfect rice every time. After pressing a switch, you can forget about it until it’s done, plus you don’t have to spend a fortune on it – a simple rice cooker is inexpensive and works just fine.

Ingredients for 6 small portions

270g Sushi rice

300ml water

Method

  1. Wash the rice in a bowl. You can use the inner bowl of a rice cooker; just add water in a bowl and give a few stirs with your hand.
  2. Pour out the milky water; gently tilt the bowl and slowly pour the water out. You can use a sieve to drain the water instead.
  3. Repeat the washing and draining 5 times, then transfer to a sieve to drain.
  4. Add the washed rice and water in the inner bowl of a rice cooker. Give it a stir and start cooking.
  5. After the cooking process has finished, allow cooked rice to steam for 10-15minutes, and then serve immediately.

Tamagoyaki; Japanese style rolled omelette

Tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) is a traditional Japanese dish and a popular choice for bento (a boxed lunch), as well as a side dish for everyday family meals.

There is a special rectangular pan just to make tamagoyaki, however, I’ll be showing you how to make them without using it. I’ll be using simple ingredients and an easy method for this recipe, so why not try making it?

Ingredients for 1 tamagoyaki (for 2-3 people)

3 Eggs

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 ½ tbs vegetable oil

Method

  1. Place a sheet of foil on a bamboo sushi mat.dsc_4658
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, then add the sugar and soy sauce. Beat well with a whisk.dsc_4657
  3. Heat the oil in a frying-pan over a high heat, and pour the eggs swiftly. dsc_4659
  4. Using a wooden fork or spatula, lightly mix the eggs and gather to make a rectangular shape. Make sure the eggs are coagulated but still soft.dsc_4661
  5. Place the omelette on the foiled mat. dsc_4662
  6. Roll the omelette tightly. Leave it as it is until cooled down, then put it in the fridge to set. Once set, cut it into large bite sized pieces.dsc_4663

Key

A bamboo sushi mat (makisu or makisudare) is a Japanese cooking tool and commonly used to make sushi rolls. It’s made of woven bamboo with cotton string. You can find one at a world food section in a large supermarket or an oriental grocery.

Vinegary Salad of Cucumber and Wakame

Vinegary salad, or we call it “Sunomono” which literally means vinegary dish, is a very popular side dish in Japan. Its clean and refreshing flavour goes well with any main dishes. It’s oil free so you don’t need to worry about calories, though you can get all the goodness from the Wakame seaweed which is packed with all the vitamins and minerals from the sea.

Ingredients For 2

150g Cucumber

5g Dried Wakame (Seaweed)

1 tbs Salt

2 tbs Rice vinegar

1 tbs Sugar

1 tbs Parched white sesame

Method

  1. Soak the dried Wakame (Seaweed) in a bowl to reconstitute and drain.
  2. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and slice thinly. Place the cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle the salt, then massage them. Wash out the salt and squeeze out excess water from the cucumber.
  3. Place the vinegar and the sugar in a bowl. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Add the Wakame, cucumber and sesame. Mix well then serve.

Smoked Salmon with Spring Onion, Ginger and Sesame

Have you tried smoked salmon with rice? They actually go really well together.
This dish can be made within 3 minutes, as you only need to mix the ingredients. No frying or boiling required.
It’s also great amuse-bouche for Japanese rice wine: Sake.

Ingredients for 2 small portions
50g Smoked Salmon (use smoked salmon bits or chop into bite size pieces)
½ Spring Onion or Salad Onion (finely chopped)
1 tbs Sesame Seeds
1 tbs Sesame Oil
5g Ginger (grated)

Method
Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix.

Key
1. The ginger gives a kick to this dish.
2. If you like it hot, try adding chilli oil to taste.
3. The saltiness of the smoked salmon should be enough to season this dish.

Fried Shimeji Mushrooms with Teriyaki Sauce

Shimeji is one of the most popular mushrooms in Japan for its firm texture and robust Umami flavour, and you can find them in your local supermarkets nowadays. I seasoned them with everyone’s favourite; Teriyaki sauce. If you haven’t tried Shimeji mushrooms, please have a go.

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Ingredients for 1 to 2 people

1 pack (150g) Shimeji Mushrooms
1 Spring Onion
4 Cherry Tomatoes
1 tbs Sesame Oil
For the Sauce (Mix well beforehand)
1 tbs Soy Sauce
½ tbs Sugar
1 tbs Water

Method
1. Cut the base of the Shimeji mushrooms and break them up with your hands. Slice the spring onion diagonally. Cut the cherry tomatoes into round slices.

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2. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan, and then fry the mushrooms over a high heat.

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3. Add the sauce mixture to the pan and stir gently. When the mushrooms are evenly coated with the sauce, remove from the heat. Add the spring onion and the tomatoes and mix. Serve on a plate.

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Key

You can enjoy this dish with sliced white or brown mushrooms instead of Shimeji.