This recipe is similar to a standard chicken stock recipe but I’ve added a few ingredients to give a Japanese flavour and umami to the stock, including kombu (kelp) seaweed. After cooling the stock you can remove the thin layer of fat sitting on the surface of the liquid. Then it can be stored in the fridge for a few days or it can be frozen.
Makes 1 litre
1½ litres cold water
dried kombu (kelp), a postcard sized piece
raw whole chicken carcass
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, washed and roughly chopped
1 thumb-size piece of ginger, cut into slices
2 tablespoons sake (optional)
1. Place 1½ litres of cold water and dried kombu in a large saucepan. Set aside for at least 20 minutes to allow the water to absorb the umami from the seaweed.
2. Add the chicken carcass, carrot, leek, ginger and sake to the saucepan.
3. Bring to the boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.
4. Use a ladle to remove any foam from the top of the water and cover with a lid.
5. Continue to simmer for at least 1 hour and for up to 3 hours on a low–medium heat.
6. You should have a little over 1 litre of chicken stock left depending on how long it’s been simmering.
7. Strain the stock through a sieve and allow to cool. 8 Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze.
Japanese rice is a type of short-grain rice that has to be washed in a particular way to remove the excess starch. To get the perfect bowl of rice follow the steps below. Most Japanese people leave the rice sitting in the sieve for about 15 minutes before cooking. If you don’t have time you can skip this step.
How to wash:
1. Place the measured rice in a medium-sized bowl, cover with cold water and gently rub the rice grains against each other using your hands.
2. Drain the rice, add more water and repeat two or three times until the water runs almost clear.
3. Finally place the washed rice in a sieve to drain excess water.
How to cook:
Using a rice cooker
If you have a rice cooker at home, please wash the rice as instructed above and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to cook the rice. Generally the rice cooker will include a rice measuring cup and a measure on the inside of the rice cooker bowl to guide you on the amount of water to add.
Using a saucepan (amount given serves 4 people)
Heavy-based saucepan with a tight lid 2 cups
Japanese rice (using a measured rice cup this weighs 320g), uncooked
2½ cups cold water
1. Transfer the washed rice to the saucepan.
2. Add two and a half cups of cold water, cover and slowly bring to the boil over a medium to high heat (this takes about 10 minutes depending on the size of the saucepan and heat source).
3. Once the water is boiling, reduce to a medium to low heat and continue to cook, covered, for a further 6 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed into the rice.
4. Without lifting the lid (if possible – if the lid on the saucepan is not clear you may want to slightly lift it to check if the water is fully absorbed), remove from the heat and set aside for another 10 minutes to allow the rice to continue cooking in its own steam.
5. Use a rice spatula to gently fold the rice, then serve.
One of the secrets of the Japanese diet is “The Power of Miso Soup”. In the traditional Japanese diet miso soup accompanies every meal. Drinking miso soup will boost digestion after meals and help cleanse the body. It’s low in fat and carbohydrates, and high in protein. In addition to its health benefits miso soup makes you feel full for a longer period which stops snacking between meals. Here’s my simple miso soup to get you started on your food journey to the Japanese way of eating.
For the dashi
– 1 litre water
– Few thin strips of dried Irish kombu (kelp)
– 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
For the miso soup
– 200g savoy cabbage leaves, washed and roughly chopped
– 2–3 tbsp miso paste, depending on your own taste
– shichimi togarashi, to season (japanese seven spice)
1. Put 1 litre of cold water in a large saucepan. Add the kombu and shiitake mushrooms to the water and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes (If you have time leave to soak for a few hours or overnight in the fridge). Heat the water until it comes to the boil and then remove the kombu and mushrooms immediately.
2. Add the cabbage leaves and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Dilute the miso paste in a small cup of dashi taken from the saucepan.
4. Reduce soup to a very low heat and add the miso paste to the saucepan. Gently stir into the soup until mixed through. Taste to check if you need to add more miso paste.
5. Serve in a bowl and season with shichimi togarashi.
Store the miso soup in a flask for a work or on the go healthy lunch option.
This is a great way to start your day with the power of matcha (green powder tea) which slowly releases caffeine compared to coffee. I’ve also included a tip and photo to show you how this can be packed and eaten on the go using an old jam jar. You can get small bags of mixed nuts & seeds in most supermarkets for this recipe. Enjoy!
Few handfuls of your favourite mixed nuts (almonds, pinenuts etc) & seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds etc)
2 heaped tablespoons of coconut oil
2 heaped tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon matcha
1 kaki (persimmon/ sharon) fruit, peeled and thinly sliced (replace with seasonal fruit depending on the time of year).
I prefer to use fresh fruit than dried fruit as I think it’s a healthier option. However if you’d like to add dried fruit you can simply add it when the granola is removed from the oven and cooled.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Place the oats in a large flat pyrex dish.
3. Toss in the nuts and mix well together.
4. Over a low to medium heat melt the coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan.
5. Once melted stir well and pour evenly over the oats and nuts.
6. Use a large spoon to completely cover the oats and nuts in the coconut oil and honey.
7. Place in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes (during this time stir a few times).
8. Remove from the oven and once cool, add the matcha powder and mix well.
9. Add a few large spoonfuls of the granola to a cereal bowl and serve with natural yoghurt and sliced kaki fruit.
10. Store the remaining granola in an airtight container.
This is a healthy on the go breakfast option to bring to work.