Sheep are a big part of Irish culture and heritage. As a nation, we’re very proud of our lamb meat and it’s exported all over the world. I was brought up on a sheep farm, so needless to say I ate a lot of lamb during my childhood. So for these reasons I had to dedicate at least one recipe to lamb. I season the lamb meat with shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) and serve it with a natural yoghurt dip, as we have fantastic yoghurt producers in Ireland who make excellent quality yoghurt.
Makes 8 skewers
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
500g good quality lamb, minced
bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shichimi togarashi
salt and pepper to season
8 skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes
Yoghurt and mint dip
5 tablespoons natural yoghurt
large bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
zest of ½ a lime
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to season
1 Heat the oil on a frying pan on a medium heat and add the diced onion. Slowly cook the onion, allowing it to sweat, and then fry until translucent (do not brown). Remove from the heat and let it cool.
2 In a large bowl mix together the minced lamb, parsley, shichimi togarashi and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
3 With dampened hands take a handful of meat and using a firm hand form a rectangular shape. Push a skewer through the meat.
4 Place under a grill on a high heat for 10 to 20 minutes (or until cooked to your liking). Place a cup of water on the base of the grill to stop the meat drying out.
5 Mix all the ingredients for the dip together in a bowl and serve on the side.
When making this recipe make sure to lightly sear the tuna as I truly believe tuna tastes better either raw or lightly seared. Once tuna is cooked it becomes tough and loses its flavour. This salad is particularly nice eaten while the tuna is warm, so don’t waste any time once it’s ready and try to eat it straight away.
Mixed sesame seeds to coat the tuna
Salt and pepper to season the tuna
100g fresh tuna steak/loin
A few handfuls of mixed salad leaves
1 ripened mango, peeled and cut into strips
For the dressing:
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 Mix together the sesame seeds, salt and pepper on a flat plate.
2 Place the tuna on the plate and coat each side in sesame seeds.
3 Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan on a medium to high heat.
4 Place the tuna on the pan and sear each side lightly (less than 1 minute for each side).
5 Transfer to a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, thinly slice the tuna.
6 Place the mixed salad leaves on a serving dish along with the mango strips.
7 Carefully place the tuna slices on top.
8 Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and, just before serving, pour over the salad.
Gyoza originated in China and is a popular side dish in ramen shops and tapas-style restaurants called ‘izakaya’. It is served with a dipping sauce made of equal amounts of soy sauce and rice vinegar with a few drops of sesame chilli oil. You can make these dumplings using different fillings such as minced pork, prawns or vegetables only. I usually make a large batch and freeze them as they cook well from frozen. Remember to steam cook the dumplings for longer if you’re cooking them from frozen. Makes 25–30 gyoza (dumplings)
25–30 gyoza skins
bowl of water for sealing the dumplings
80ml cold water for steaming
sesame oil to season
For the filling
200g minced prawn/ chicken or add more vegetables
100g cabbage, finely diced 1 spring onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
3 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1 teaspoon sesame oil salt and pepper to season
2 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
a few drops of la-yu (chilli-infused sesame oil) to taste
A: How to make the dumplings
– Mix all the ingredients for the gyoza filling in a bowl together and set aside.
– Place the gyoza skins, a clean water bowl, teaspoon and large serving dish on the counter top before you start making the dumplings.
– Place a gyoza skin on the palm of your hand, take a heaped teaspoon of the filling and place it in the centre of the gyoza skin.
– Moisten the edge of the upper half of the gyoza skin by dipping your finger in the bowl of water and sliding it along the edge.
– Fold the bottom half of the gyoza skin over the filling so that it meets the moistened upper half
– Start to pleat by folding the edges (make one pleat in the middle and two pleats at either side)
– Press firmly on all pleats to ensure that the ingredients are secure within the gyoza skin.
B: How to cook the dumplings
- Heat oil on a non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat.
- Place the gyoza on the pan and fry until the base of the gyoza is slightly golden.
- Pour cold water around the edges of the pan and cover with a lid. Leave cooking for 10 minutes or until almost all of the water has evaporated.
- Remove the lid and continue to fry until the water is fully absorbed.
- Finally, drizzle sesame oil over the gyoza and fry until the base of the gyoza is golden brown.
- Serve with the soy sauce and rice vinegar dipping sauce.
Edamame are young soybeans in a pod. I loved this popular snack when I first moved to Japan as a student, as they are really cheap to buy and tasty, and go surprisingly well with beer. Generally, edamame can be found in the frozen section of Asian speciality stores or larger supermarkets. They are sold in the pod and also out of the pod. I prefer using edamame in the pod when serving as a simple snack or finger food and then using edamame out of the pod for when I’m making a dish with them.
To cook frozen pre-cooked edamame, place them in a large bowl and completely cover with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, then drain. Fresh raw edamame should be cooked in a saucepan of boiling water for about 5 minutes and then drained.
Serve edamame with an empty bowl to dispose of the pods. Remember you can’t eat the pods! Check to see if the edamame have been pre-salted or not and then season to your liking with freshly ground sea salt.
To eat edamame simply pop the beans out of the pod using either your hands or your mouth. To add a nice kick to your cooked edamame sprinkle with shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) or just cayenne pepper.
This is so easy to make, uses very few ingredients and is filled with flavour.
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
cooked Japanese white rice (1 rice-cooker-measured cup of uncooked rice, 160g)
soy sauce to season
sesame oil to season
shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) to serve
1 In a non-stick frying pan heat a generous amount of vegetable oil over a medium to high heat and add the garlic.
2 Fry the garlic until slightly browned and crispy, then remove from the pan, place on a small plate and set aside.
3 Add the cooked rice to the garlic-infused oil still sitting in the base of the frying pan and fry until the rice is evenly covered in the oil and hot. Add the garlic.
4 Drizzle a small amount of soy sauce and sesame oil over the rice and mix well. Take off the heat and divide between two plates.
5 Using the same frying pan, add more oil if necessary and put over a medium to high heat.
6 Crack the eggs into the frying pan and cook to your liking (preferably leave the egg yolk runny).
7 Place one fried egg on each plate on top of the rice. 8 Sprinkle shichimi togarashi over the egg and rice to