This lamb stew recipe takes inspiration from my time in Japan using local Irish ingredients. The lamb meat fills this light Japanese broth with a delicious flavour which the potatoes and vegetables easily absorb.
- Rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion peeled & roughly chopped
- 250 g lamb meat chopped into cubes
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 large carrot peeled & roughly chopped
- 2 large potatoes peeled & roughly chopped
- Blanched green beans to serve
- Rustic bread to serve
For the broth
- 500 ml water
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- Sheet of dried Irish kelp seaweed
- 80 ml Fused soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan on a medium to high heat.
Add the onion and fry for a minute or so. Then add the lamb and ginger and continue to fry for a few more minutes.
Toss in the carrot and potatoes.
Mix all the ingredients for the broth together in a large bowl and then add to the saucepan.
Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Using a ladle remove any foam that floats to the top of the water.
Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through (remove the kelp seaweed before serving)
Serve in a bowl and top with thinly sliced blanched green beans, accompanied by rustic bread.
This lamb stew recipe would also work well with a slow cooker!
Makes 6 cupcakes
For the cupcake mix
2 eggs (preferably free range)
125g caster sugar
125g soft butter
125g self raising flour
1 tsp matcha powder
For the matcha icing
200g Icing sugar
2 tablespoons matcha
100g soft butter cubes
Matcha Pocky, to decorate (available in Asian supermarkets)
- Preheat a fan oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahreinheit).
- Sieve the flour and matcha together a few times to make sure the matcha powder is completely mixed into the flour.
- Whisk all the ingredients for the cupcake mix in an electric mixer for a few minutes or until it’s well mixed together.
- Place the cupcake cases in the baking tin. Using a large spoon to fill the cases over half-way with the batter.
- Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and firm on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the green icing, sieve the icing sugar and matcha together a few times to make sure the matcha powder is completely mixed into the icing sugar.
- Using an electric whisk, beat together the butter cubes and icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Finally add the milk and continue to whisk for a few more minutes.
- Use a piping bag to decorate the top of the cupcakes with the green icing.
- Break a few pocky sticks in half and place on top of the cupcake to finish decorating.
I’m really excited to share my Japanese inspired Barmbrack recipe which brings together my love for both Japanese and Irish ingredients. Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake that is the centre of Halloween here in Ireland.
What is the meaning of Barmbrack? The name comes from the Irish words “báirín breac” which translate as “speckled bread”. The Barmbrack cake recipe is full of flavour with mixed spices and dried fruit. The Japanese “kaki” fruit adds a lovely moisture to the cake also. Traditionally the dried fruit is soaked in tea overnight however in busy households like mine I need to be able to make the cake at the last minute so I’ve removed that step.
Traditionally a ring is placed inside the cake which signifies a wedding in the near future. As a child I remember the excitement around the table to see who would find the ring in their slice of cake!
225g self-raising flour
150g brown sugar
150g kaki (peeled and grated)
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of bread soda
Kaki (peeled and sliced), to decorate top
Ring, optional if you want to add a little Irish mystic!
- Preheat the oven to 170˚C/327°/Gas Mark 3
- Place all ingredients (apart from the kaki slices for decorating) in a large bowl and mix well together.
- Grease a loaf tin and pour the mixture into it.
- Optional, if you want to add a little Irish mystic wrap a ring in greaseproof paper and add to the middle of the batter.
- Place the kaki slices on top to decorate.
- Put in the oven for up to 1 hour or until it’s baked. To check if it’s baked through insert a skewer or knife in the middle and if it comes out clean it’s ready.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before placing on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled wrap in grease proof paper and tin foil to keep fresh.
- Serve in slices with a fresh cup of tea or coffee.
For this recipe the lamb meat is seasoned with one of my favourite Japanese seasonings called shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) and served with a natural yoghurt dip. Shichimi togarashi goes really well with all types of meat including chicken and beef but also pairs well with white fish.
- Vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion peeled and finely diced
- 500 g 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
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.
In a large bowl mix together the minced lamb, parsley, shichimi togarashi and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
With dampened hands take a handful of meat and using a firm hand form a rectangular shape. Push a skewer through the meat.
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.
Mix all the ingredients for the dip together in a bowl and serve on the side.
Gyoza also called Chinese Dumplings has become popular outside of Asia and across the Globe particularly in Japanese restaurants such as Tani, Eatokyo and Wagamama. If you’re looking for it ready-made you can find frozen gyoza in Asia Market in Dublin. Gyoza is served with a dipping sauce made of equal amounts of soy sauce and rice vinegar with a few drops of sesame chilli oil.
- 25-30 gyoza skins also called wrappers
- Bowl of water for sealing the dumplings
- Vegetable oil
- 80 ml cold water for steaming
- Sesame oil to season
Ingredients for the filling
- 200 g minced chicken or prawn
- 100 g 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 Fused Clever Classic soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil salt and pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
Ingredients for the dipping sauce
- 2 tablespoons Fused Clever Classic soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- a few drops of chilli oil (la-yu) or Fused Cheeky Chilli soy sauce to add spice
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 Fused soy sauce and rice vinegar dipping sauce.
Go to Fused online shop to see Fused range of real soy sauces with no MSG, no nasties & no refined sugar. Free delivery on orders over €25
If you fancy adding seaweed to your store cupboard ingredients it’s stocked in fishmongers, health stores, larger supermarkets and Asian markets. There are also some wonderful Irish seaweed companies selling their products online including Wild Irish Sea Veg, This is Seaweed. A lady called Prannie Rhatigan wrote an intriguing book on seaweed & stocks some seaweed products on her website.
I started to use seaweed in my recipes and cooking when I lived in Japan. Seaweed is an important part of the Japanese diet, from sushi making to simple stocks and salads. Now, back in Ireland I continue to integrate seaweed into all types of recipes! Here is a list of the seaweeds that I regularly use for cooking.
Kombu (kelp) seaweed
It’s filled with umami (the fifth taste) and one of the main ingredients used to make Japanese cooking stock (dashi). It’s also used for salads and stews. Kelp seaweed can be found along the coast of Ireland.
Nori is best known outside of Japan for wrapping sushi rolls and onigiri (Japanese rice balls). Nori can be bought as roasted seaweed sheets or milled (aonori). This type of seaweed is relatively easy to find in most supermarkets. Once opened, nori sheets need to be stored in an airtight container or they will lose their crispy texture. Ao-nori (milled nori) is often sprinkled over dishes such as okonomiyaki and yakisoba just before serving.
Wakame can be bought as small dried pieces. It is added to miso soup and salads. Be careful how much dried wakame you add to a dish as these tiny pieces of seaweed expand once they are in water.
This is a reddish-brown seaweed that you can easily find along the coast of Ireland. It is packed with vitamins and minerals. It can be used in cooking and baking.
The first thing to learn before you start cooking Japanese food at home is how to wash and cook Japanese rice properly. Click here to see my post on washing and cooking Japanese rice. There’s also a separate post on how to make sushi rice.
To understand the importance of rice in the Japanese diet you only need to look at the word ‘gohan’, which means both meal and rice. A typical Japanese home-cooked meal always includes a bowl of rice accompanied by soup and several other communal dishes, including vegetables, fish and meat, to give a nutritionally balanced meal.
I lived in a rural village called Nishiyama on the western coast of Japan for several years. It was surrounded by endless rice fields and mountains. There I got to truly experience the importance of rice in Japanese society. I remember one neighbour who warmly welcomed me to Nishiyama village with gifts of his own harvested rice and seasonal vegetables. I became good friends with him and his wife, and learned so much from them about Japanese food and culture. One day they brought me along to their rice field to watch their son plant rice seeds. After witnessing the hard work involved in planting, cultivating and harvesting rice, I gained a deeper appreciation for this sacred grain.
At home I prefer to serve rice in small Japanese-style bowls rather than on plates, as it’s easier to control portion sizes this way. The concept of communal eating and the use of chopsticks during eating also help control the amount of food eaten during a Japanese meal, without people having to make a conscious effort to do so.
Kombu & Shiitake Dashi (Kelp & Shiitake stock/broth)
Makes 1 litre
1 litre water
20g dried kombu (kelp) – a piece about the size of a postcard
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 Put 1 litre of cold water in a large saucepan.
2 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 this case, place in the fridge). This will fill the water with the goodness and umami from both the seaweed and the mushrooms.
3 Heat the water until it comes to the boil and then remove the kombu and mushrooms immediately.
4 This can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days, or you can freeze it.
Tip This is an ideal dashi for vegetarians and a base for soups or ramen.