Top chef dishes advice on how to make Japanese food

Ask chef and owner of Japanese soul food restaurant, Nanban, Tim Anderson how people can initially get into cooking their own Japanese food, and this is what he’ll tell you:

“They should learn to cook rice – a lot of people can’t, even really experienced chefs say, ‘I can’t do it’, but it’s just about measuring and timing, and that’s about it. If you have your measuring and your timing’s right, it shouldn’t be very difficult.

“There’s a troubleshooting guide [in my new book Tokyo Stories] in case things go wrong, because they always do.

“If you learn to cook Japanese rice, you can make a Japanese meal very easily then, because all you need to make is some simple protein like mackerel or teriyaki chicken, and have it with salad or miso soup, and you’re having Japanese food. Start with that.

“It’s boring, but it’s the gateway, that opens you up. Then there’s a bunch of things you can do with the rice itself, like fried rice, rice just steamed with clams – it’s so good, just so comforting when you have that with miso soup. Omurice, rice that you stir fry with ketchup, just a little bit, not so it’s really sweet, but you season it with ketchup and soy sauce, put a bit of chicken in it if you want or vegetables, then you make a nice fluffy rich omelette that you fold over the top – it’s this egg, ketchup, rice combo that’s just amazing.

“Start with rice and go from there. I haven’t messed up rice in a long time, because once you have a rice recipe that works, you hold onto it.

“I’m pretty good at rice now, it took me a long time, so I’m proud of that.”

And if all else fails? “Get a rice cooker, for sure.”

Tokyo Stories: A Japanese Cookbook by Tim Anderson is published by Hardie Grant. Photography Nassima Rothacker. Available now.

- Press Association

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