Blog, Spring Food


An onigirazu is a combination of an onigiri and a sandwich basically a rice ball with filling wrapped in nori seaweed. They are great as you can add what ever filling you like and are perfect for the coming Hanami season so you can pack them in a bento for an out door picnic or just to take to work or college as a change from an ordinary sandwich.

This particular one is a variation on the Japanese  tonkatsu sando using a vegan textured soy protein cutlet.

First take your nori and add cooked rice and a pinch of salt then place on top shredded cabbage or lettuce, on top of this place your cooked cutlet .

I made a kewpie mayo mustard and a vegan tonkatsu style sauce ( just tomato ketchup and tamari. Spread this onto your cutlet and then add more rice. Fold over the edges and wrap in cling film. Leave to set for ten mins then cut with a sharp damp knife leaving the cling film off or on that’s up to you.

There you have a perfect tonkatsu onigirazu.

Blog, Spring Food


Hinamatsuri is a festival in Japan celebrated on March 3rd.
Sometimes also known as girls day or dolls day. On this day parents celebrate their daughters happiness and good health.

It is tradition to display ceremonial dolls,sometimes past down from many generations. There are lots of special foods associated with this day. You will find three colours of significance often displayed in a layered mochi rice cake known as hishi mochi. I made a coconut ice in these three colours and also a tofu mousse dessert.

White is for purification, green for health and pink for luck.

Another sweet eaten is Sakura Mochi. Mochi rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf and topped with a salted Sakura flower. They are a nice combination of sweet and salty.

A drink called Umeshu or plum wine goes down well for Hinamatsuri. Have it chilled on its own or with soda or even a splash in green tea for a hot drink. Plum blossom is very significant at this time as it is the start of the Hanami or flower viewing festivals and marks the beginning of spring.

Temari sushi is one of the traditional meals you can have. These decorated sushi balls take their name from Temari balls which children used to play with. Temari means hand ball. They are beautiful embroidered balls that to day are mainly used for decoration.

Another food also associated with Hinamatsuri is chirashi sushi you can find a recipe for this in one of my other posts. Which is a simple scattered sushi dish.

For to day I also made Inari sushi for my final meal served with three colour coconut ice and a nice glass of Umeshu.

Happy Hinamatsuri 幸せなひな祭り

Winter Food

Mushi-Zushi ( A Winter Sushi )

A winter speciality in the Kyoto/Osaka region is mushi-zushi or steamed sushi. This is like a Chirashi sushi but eaten warm. Also known as Nuku-zushi this winter sushi uses prepared cooked vinegared rice called sumeshi normally with vegetables and eel. Obviously I will not be using eel and will substitute with shiitake. This is a really quick meal especially if you have left over sushi rice.

I used a bamboo steamer and placed in the bottom some parchment paper. Spoon sumeshi in to the bottom I then added a sprinkle of sesame seeds, then start to layer your vegetables. I started with sliced shiitake then added.carrot,daikon,asparagus,purple broccoli,baby corn green beans and romanesco.

Simply put on the lid and steam for 10 mins.


I served this with a simple soup and tofu dengaku.

I also think it’s nice to have some toasted nori on the side to make hand rolls.



Spring Food

Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi sushi and Maze sushi are so quick and easy to make. Chirashi sushi is prepared sushi rice or “sumeshi” with toppings scattered on top. Maze is when you mix in your ingredients.

This particular Chirashi sushi was a citrus version made with blood orange but you could easily use Mikan or grapefruit or even yuzu.

Using some of the juice from the blood orange and mixing it with sugar, salt and brown rice vinegar I used this as my seasoning and mixed this into cooked rice. I topped my sumeshi with scattered lotus root and pieces of blood orange along with blanched shiitake and asparagus and a scatter of toasted sesame seeds.

Chirashi Sushi is one of the tradition dishes eaten for a Hinamatsuri also known as dolls day or girls day.

I am running a giveaway of Ingredients to help you make your own on Instagram so why not enter you have until the 3rd of March 2018 .

Instead of using all the ingredients I used you can just use cooked sushi rice and the sushi seasoning I’m giving away. This will make delicious sushi. Good luck!



Plum Blossom Meal & Subscription Box

Ume plum blossom is starting to bloom now in Japan and marks the start of Hanami or flower viewing. Ume represents good fortune and wards off evil spirits so this is why you can often see it planted at temples and shrines. One festival  which happens every year is at Kitano Tenmangu Shinto Shrine in Kyoto. It is the Ume Matsuri it happens on February the 25th. One of the main attractions of this event is the outdoor tea ceremony. On the grounds are around 2000 Ume trees so well worth a view if your in the area. Sadly I am not so I decided to celebrate the start of spring with a plum blossom inspired meal.

Temari sushi with Ume seasoning and hoso maki sushi.

Purple sweet potato and cauliflower soup.

Pickled red cabbage and hijiki salad with Ume dressing.

Purple broccoli with a beetroot and miso dip.


Anko with marzipan flowers.

I also received to day in the post a wonderful subscription box by a company in Japan called Kizuna Box ( you can find them on Instagram for the link ). This also had a plum blossom theme and was filled with lots of lovely items to celebrate the beginning of spring. I particularly liked the chop sticks ( I wonder why )



Winter Food

Steamfried Brussels Sprouts with miso

Brussels sprouts are the perfect winter seasonal vegetable.

These panfried ones have lots of flavour start by cutting each Brussels sprout in half . Add a little oil to a hot pan and sear the flat side . Meanwhile make a sauce with 240ml of veg stock,1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger,2 tablespoon of mirin,1tablespoon soy sauce and four tablespoon of white miso paste and whisk.

The amount of sauce you need depends of how many Brussels you have so use your judgement.

Pour the sauce into the pan and cover to steam the Brussels sprouts. Then add shimeji mushrooms and crumbled yuba ( if you can’t get yuba you could maybe add some crumbled tofu)

Finally before serving add some yuzu rind (or lemon) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Lovely served on rice .


Blog, Winter Food

Damako Nabe ( Rice ball Hot Pot )

From the mountainous  region of Tohoku comes this local dish which is perfect for cold winter days.

After cooking your rice mash it and then sprinkle with potato starch and roll into balls then set aside.

Use a dashi stock for the broth I always like to make one in advance with kombu kelp and dried shiitake. Just place them in water for a few hours then take them out and add mirin and tamari.

The vegetables I used were leek,taro,carrot,mixed mushrooms spring onion,nappa cabbage,komatsuna and daikon radish.

Place your vegetables in your donabe pot with your dashi stock except the leafy greens.

Then simmer your vegetables and add your rice balls the rice balls soak up all the lovely juices.

You could also add tofu or yuba if you wanted.

If you do not have a donabe pot you could steam your vegetables or add them to a cooking pot.

Finely add your leafy greens when everything else is tender and a sprinkle of shichimi pepper.

A hot, healthy,cosy dish for a cold winter evening.


Autumn Food, Blog

Okayu Japanese Rice Porridge

This comforting healing dish is easy to digest,simple and filling. In Japan it is often made if you are recovering from an illness or not feeling well.

I have made two types of Okayu one for breakfast and one a little more savoury which you could have for dinner.

Both use a 1-5 ratio using one rice measuring cup of rice to five cups water or liquid.

There are lots of toppings you can use like Umeboshi,sweet potato,chopped green onion and nori.

I used my rice cooker to make these but you can just as easily use a pan if you don’t have a rice cooker.

Breakfast Okayu

Wash one rice measuring cup of rice and place this in your rice cooker or pan with five cups of water . Then add about one tablespoon of ginger juice . I use a Japanese ginger grater to finely grate the ginger and then squeeze out the juice. Let this sit to soak for about 30 mins.

Add a little salt and start to cook your rice it normally takes about 30mins.

I topped mine with grated ginger, rice malt syrup and some sesame seeds. I also added a splash of soy milk for extra creaminess.

Savoury Okayu

Wash the rice and then add 5 cups of hot water ( not boiling) to a jug with one tablespoon of white miso paste and dissolve. ( if you like instead of miso you can use vegetable stock ). Pour this onto the rice in your pan or rice cooker and let sit for 30 mins. After this time start to cook your rice.

While your rice is cooking prepare your toppings . I pan seared some maitake mushrooms  roasted some Hokkaido pumpkin and chopped some green onion.

When your rice is done spoon into a bowl and add your toppings and maybe a sprinkle of schichimi and sesame seeds.

There is also a special Okayu that people have in Japan on the 7th of January for health for the coming year ( see my winter post Nanakusa-Gayu ( seven herb soup).

Autumn Food, Blog


The Autumn equinox is nearly upon us. In Japan it is a Buddhist festival known as higan. In the spring it is known as haru no higan . To celebrate I made Ohagi. This is a traditional confectionery made of sweet mochi rice pounded and shaped with a red bean centre . It is traditional to take these with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time. In the spring the sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan . In the fall the same sweets are called ohagi named after the clover bush hagi. I covered mine with kinako and black sesame .

Served with a nice green tea they make a wonderful treat .

This is how to make your very own ( it takes a little time but is well worth the effort !)
1 cup of Japanese rice
1 cup of mochi rice
plastic wrap
tsubu-an ( bean paste )
toppings  matcha powder,kinako ground black sesame powder
first wash your rice together really well changing the water a few times
place in your rice cooker with water up to level 2 and cook until done
then pound your rice I use the end of a rolling pin until some it’s mashed but still has some grain don’t over pound or it will be to sticky mix it as your pounding in between with your rice paddle so it’s even.
take about 70g of rice if your having rice on the outside and make balls of these in plastic wrap . Flatten each one spreading it out. Measure out balls of bean paste 30g and place in the middle of each flattened out ball ( mould  the rice around the bean paste .
If you want to do a reverse 40g rice and 60g red bean paste .
when they are all done roll them in your chosen topping .
I like to then wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze them and defrost over night ( great for a bento dessert ) .

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha & Miso Risotto

Autumn is a favourite time of mine. I love the colours and the delicious seasonal  food .

It really is beginning to feel like Autumn is on its way here in the U.K. already. The nights are drawing in and the weather is chilly in the mornings . The leaves are already turning, so I felt like I wanted to make something with my favourite pumpkin Japanese kabocha. It has such a lovely nutty flavour and is really comforting.

I decided to make this risotto

You will first need to roast half a medium size kabocha you can keep the skin on but remove the seeds.

Then in a pan add one cup of short grain brown rice and to that around 800ml of vegetable stock. Place you rice on a medium heat and simmer adding a little more water until almost done if needed.

Then add a cup of pumpkin to your rice ( just scoop out the flesh but discard the skin. Also add one heaped tablespoon of white miso and stir well. I then added a heaped tablespoon of nutritional yeast for extra flavour .

Spoon in to a bowl . I added some roast king mushrooms and broccoli to mine with some fresh black  pepper but you could add anything you like.

This makes a really hearty meal ( nice with some warm bread to scoop up the risotto too.)


Blog, Summer Food

Shiitake Brown Rice & Miso Burgers

I have been experimenting making burgers for a while but now I have a favourite recipe I want to share with you using some Japanese ingredients.

This recipe make three or four good size burgers and they freeze well so they are good to have on stand by when you don’t want to cook.

First cook one cup of brown rice until al dente . I cook brown rice like pasta.

Next in a food processor add one cup of drained chick peas to this add one heaped tablespoon of brown rice miso, 1/4 cup of finely grated carrot,1tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce,1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast,1tablespoon of brown rice vinegar and some fresh black pepper. And blend.

Next finely chop 1/4 cup of red bell pepper and 1/4 of red onion,1cup of shiitake mushrooms  finely chopped and add this to a pan and sauté in a little toasted sesame oil until soft. Add this to the already processed ingredients and blend again.

Tip the ingredients into a bowl and add your cooked brown rice and some chopped parsley and mix together.

I find the easiest way to shape the burgers is with plastic wrap. Take a sheet and add about three heaped tablespoon of your ingredients and shape into a ball then press down to form a burger shape . Place your burger shapes on parchment paper and brush with a little tamari and sprinkle on some shichimi pepper for extra spice. If you don’t have any you could use cayenne pepper.

Bake in the oven until golden .

I have served my burgers in pitta breads or even made Japanese Moss burger type rice buns.

Serve with what ever relish you like here I served some with butternut squash fries and Japanese vegan kewpie Mayo which were delicious.

Blog, Summer Food

Vegan Kabayaki Bowl (mock eel)

Around this time of year in July there is a tradition in  Japan called Doyo-no-Ushi-no-hi. It falls this year on the 25th of July 2017. This is a day when some people eat eel . (Unagi) It is said that eel helps with the summer heat. Well I don’t know about that but I thought I would make a vegan version of this dish using eggplant . This mock eel dish doesn’t look particularly pretty but then neither does a dead eel and I’d much rather eat an eggplant .

First of all prick your eggplant with a toothpick to stop it exploding in the oven when baking and score around the top of the egg plant this will help when peeling off the skin.

Bake in the oven until tender. Take out the oven and when it’s cool enough to handles strip off the skin. Cut down the eggplant but leave a little bit attached at the top so it fans out into two halves.

Then make your kabayaki sauce using two tablespoons of  tamari or soy sauce two tablespoons of mirin  and a teaspoon of unrefined sugar.

Add this to a pan and put the egg plant into the pan cook and then flip over to coat both sides and let the eggplant soak up the sauce. Then cut some nori and add this to one side of your egg plant and place under the grill to make a crispy skin.

Serve this on rice mixed with gomashio ( a dry condiment like furikake made of sesame seeds and salt) topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds,sansho pepper and chopped onion or chives.

I think you will agree it may not be eel but a lot more ethically friendly.

Blog, Summer Food

Vegan Tekka Don (tuna bowl)

Tekka don is a rice bowl dish topped with raw marinated tuna sashimi.

I wanted to make a refreshing but vegan friendly version of this dish and this is what I came up with.

You will need three large firm tomatoes cut a small cross section on the bottom of each tomato and drop into a pan of boiling water. To cook the tomato doesn’t take long you will know they are done when the skin starts to peel. Plunge the tomato into cold water to cool and then peel off the skin from the cross section you cut into the tomato.

When the tomatoes are peeled cut them into quarters discarding the seed part.

Make a marinade of tamari,lime juice and mirin ( around two tablespoons of each ) you can add some shichimi spice pepper if you like. Coat the tomatoes in the marinade and chill in the fridge

when you want to serve your Tekka Don wash and cook some sushi rice in your rice cooker and when your rice is done place into the bottom of a bowl.

Top the warm rice with the marinated tomato chopped green onion a sprinkle of sesame seeds sliced lettuce  kizaminori ( shredded nori) and angel hair chilli threads if you can get them they are called Ito togarashi if you live in the U.K. You can get them from www.souschef.co.uk