Yokoso! Welcome to my blog.
I have spent so much time in the kitchen: a Japanese kitchen with a fish grill but no oven, a kitchen in a bedsit in Tokyo which is smaller than one in a caravan, a Mediterranean stone built kitchen with a big marble table for kneading pizza dough or pasta, a campsite kitchen where rice is cooked in a kidney bean shaped pan, a farm house kitchen with an Aga. I do remember them with fondness but this is partly because the inconvenience and hardship have somehow mellowed in my memory to form a kind of nostalgia. Here in England, it seems to me that we are highly equipped for any type of cooking. We can also obtain ingredients from all over the world relatively easily. So why not spend some quality time in our kitchens to enjoy the wealth of food available?
I would like to share with you my recipes which use healthy Japanese ingredients. The essential ingredients are available from our shop. Behind the creation of these recipes are my friends in the UK who are so good at making authentic Japanese dishes by using ingredients sold at supermarkets and a friend in Japan who took their passion of food a step further to become a professional Chef.
My first recipe here is a popular Lebanese dish with a Japanese twist. Instead of bulgur wheat, I use Konjac grain (Konjac is a product from a root vegetable with a lot of health benefits. Konjac grain is a Konjac product shaped like a grain of rice.) Yellow peppers contain many more vitamins than green ones. Together with the unique healing properties of parsley, this is one of my favourite ‘Taste good, feel good’ foods.
Preparation: 20 min
60g Konjac grain
100g cucumber finely diced
100g tomato finely diced
100g yellow bell pepper finely diced
50g onion very finely chopped
A bunch of parsley
6 mint leaves
2-3 tablespoon of lemon juice
A teaspoon of cumin powder
- Preboil the Konjac grain in water for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain and set aside.
Alternatively, the Konjac grain can be precooked in a microwave. See Chef’s Tip below.
- Wash the parsley and mint, remove the tough stems, dry well with kitchen paper. Chop them very finely.
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Konjac Tabbouleh is ready to be served or refrigerated overnight.
How to precook the Konjac grain in a microwave
- Soak the Konjac grain in a microwavable bowl with 250ml of water. Soak for 10 minutes.
- Cover the bowl and cook for 2 min 30 sec at 700W, 2 min at 900W.
- Stir well, cover and stand for 3 minutes.
- Cook again in the microwave for 1 minute. Stand for 2 minutes before rinsing. Then you can go to Step2 above.
You can enjoy it as a light lunch or as a sharing plate for your dinner party. The taste settles even better when it is chilled overnight in a fridge.
When I first made this, I did not have cumin powder so I crushed cumin seed in pestle and mortar. The flavour was amazing. If you have not got cumin powder, I recommend cumin seed instead.