Sunday, 13 July 2014


Really excited because it's Japanese week on the blog! I absolutely love Japanese food - it's so delicious, easy to digest & leaves you feeling light & energised. Full of dishes using soba (buckwheat) noodles and rice, it's perfect for someone on a gluten free diet.
I especially love sushi, miso soup, bowls of noodles in broth, Green tea in beautiful Japanese tea cups and eating with chopsticks.
My sister and I ate at a fab Japanese restaurant a little while ago, where they served us tea in and gave us paper & instructions so we could practice origami while we waited for the food. (My sister made an awesome mouse, and I made a swan that looked like the loch ness monster......)
My friend Wendy has recently returned from a trip to Japan, where she had an amazing time, and it's high, high on my list of places to visit!  (photos courtesy of Wendy!)
If you are really serious about getting into Japanese cooking it involves buying a lot of ingredients you may not have in your kitchen, such as bonito flakes, wasabi paste & umeboshi but for the sake of simplicity, I've come up with some basic ideas to get you started, which I'm looking forward to sharing with you on the blog this week.

1 large carrot                        served 2
2 handfuls frozen sweetcorn
100g soba noodles  (please check your noodles don't contain wheat)
bunch of spring onions (white bits, chopped up)
150g firm tofu
served with mustard cress ( I know it's not very authentic, but it's all I had to hand)

marinade  (whisk together ready to serve)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons light olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
preheat the oven to 180c

1 mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. 
2 pat the tofu dry with some kitchen towel, then chop the tofu into cubes. Leave the tofu to marinate in the dressing for at least 30 mins,  then take the tofu out of the marinade and put into an oven proof dish and bake for about 20 mins while you are preparing the rest of the dish.
3 chop the carrot into small cubes. Steam or boil the carrot along with the frozen sweetcorn. I normally steam veg, but I don't own a steamer, so here's how I do it.

4 Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. put the veg in a colander (not a plastic one)
that fits the saucepan, put a the saucepan lid on and leave for 12 mins. add the spring onions in a couple of mins before the end of cooking time)
(just cook in your usual way if you don't want to do this)

5 bring a second saucepan of water to the boil. add the soba noodles and reduce the heat so it's just bubbling gently. Mine took exactly 8 mins to cook. (tip, if you add a couple of teaspoons of light olive oil or sesame oil to the water it will help prevent them sticking together. Once done, drain & rinse with fresh water to get rid of any excess starch.  ( I use warm water - ie boiled water from the kettle that has cooled down. that way the noodles stay warm)

6 put the soba noodles into a serving dish. Top with the baked tofu, steamed veg, chopped spring onion. Use the remaining marinade as a dressing.


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