Eastern Promise: Delicious Japanese recipes from the Michelin star team at Ichigo Ichie

Still basking in the glow of a Michelin star, the team at Miyazaki share Japanese recipes to try at home

Takashi Miyazaki secured a Michelin star for his restaurant, Ichigo Ichie, last year.

Japanese cooking, according to Victor Barrado, head chef at sister establishment Miyazaki on Evergreen St, is all about balance.

“While in lots of Asian food, they call for balance between salty, sour, sweet and spicy, in Japan, we focus on umami,” he says.

“The style of cooking is not at all complicated; the Japanese look for fresh ingredients that are cooked only to enhance their flavour.”

Takashi Miyazaki

In terms of kit, we need very little, according to the chef. “A wok is always handy, but equally, a large pan will do. Mandolins are ideal for the fine chopping required in this style of cooking, and every cook needs an excellent knife.”

What should we include in our cooking to achieve the elusive umami flavouring so prevalent in Japanese cooking? “Think of the deeply savoury flavour that comes from salty food,” he advocates.

“Seaweed, of course, and a lot of our condiments will add umami to a dish, but also things like mushrooms. Shitake mushrooms are a big source of umami flavour.”

SALMON TONYU MISO (SOY MILK CHOWDER)

This dish is normally cooked in a Donabe, a Japanese traditional clay pot. It’s perfect for cold winter days. If you don’t have a clay pot you can always use a deep pan or small pot.

Ingredients

SERVES 4

· 450 g salmon fillet, no skin, cut into 4 cm cubes, lightly seasoned with salt.

· 12 fresh prawns, de-shelled and de-veined

· 120g broccoli florets, blanched

· 2 tbsp unsalted butter.

· ½ onion, finely chopped

· 2 tbsp plain flour

· 400ml fish stock

· 200g tofu, cut into small cubes

· 400ml pure soy milk

· 120ml white miso

· 150g shimeji mushrooms/Asian mushrooms

METHOD

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft. Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the stock gradually while stirring to avoid lumps.

As soon it starts to boil, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.

In a bowl, whisk together the white miso and the soil milk, add it to the pot. When simmering again, add the salmon, the vegetables and tofu.

Cover for a minute. When salmon is almost cooked, place the prawns on top and cover for another 30 seconds.

Turn the heat off and leave it to rest for couple of minutes.

TIP: You can us smoked butter. It gives it a nice touch, but use half the amount specified above.

AGE DASHI TOFU (DEEP FRIED TOFU WITH DASHI)

This is a very traditional and simple Japanese dish. Perfect as a starter or just to share before your main course.

Ingredients

SERVES 2

· 350g silken tofu

· 100g potato starch

· 500ml vegetable oil

· ¼ daikon (moolie) peeled, chopped and blended with water until very smooth. Strain the liquid through a small sieve and reserve the daikon ‘snow’.

· Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

· 30g chives, finely chopped

· Pinch of bonito flakes

· Thinly cut roasted nori seaweed

DASHI

BOIL TOGETHER:

· 1 cup kombu water (kombu soaked in water overnight)

· ¼ cup usukuchi, light colour soy sauce If not available, bit less of regular soy

· ¼ cup mirin

· Splash of sake.

METHOD

Carefully cut tofu in four cubes. On a flat surface, flour each side of your tofu cubes with potato starch. Remove any excess if necessary. In a pot with preheated oil, deep fry each piece until you feel it’s crispy and has a nice light golden colour. Remove from oil and place it in a small bowl with bit of warm dashi on the bottom. On top: spoon of your “ daikon snow”, a tiny bit of grated ginger, chives, a few bonito flakes and nori strips.

Tip: Dashi is perfect as tempura dipping sauce!

YAKI UDON NOODLES

One of the most known Japanese street food dishes. It’s very easy and quick to make.

Ingredients:

· 100g of thin pork belly strips

· 90g sliced onion

· 90g carrot, thinly sliced with a mandolin

· 90g green cabbage, diced

· Nice big handful of soy bean sprouts

· 2 tbsp veg oil

· ½ cup yakisoba Japanese sauce

· 1 packet Udon noodles.

· Pinch of bonito flakes

· Pinch of aonori (or nori strips if not available)

· 1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds

· Beni shoga pickled ginger

METHOD

Boil the noodles in water until they separate, strain and reserve. Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a wok or big pan and keep the stove on high fire. Stir fry the pork belly until half cooked. Add onion and carrot and stir for few seconds.

Add cabbage and then the noodles. Stir for three seconds. Now add your fresh sprouts and stir two seconds.

Pour the sauce and stir just until sauce is hot enough. Plate the noodles in a big bowl. Spread your garnish toppings all over the noodles.

Enjoy!

Tip: Follow the right order adding the ingredients, it’s all about textures!

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