Archives for category: Rice

Tai is the name for Sea Bream in Japanese. Meshi means rice and this simple yet beautiful dish is basically Sea Bream rice. The fish is cleaned, scales removed and simmered in a pot with rice, ginger and dashi stock. Very healthy and easy to make and although I forgot to include Mitsuba which would have really made the dish, it was still perfect. The recipe was kindly shared by a good friend Yuko and her knowledge of fish dishes is huge so I love getting simple recipes and trying them. Although this is usually considered a very special dish, made on occasions like birthdays and New Year, I made this on a weekday for lunch with friends. Soaking Konbu in water first, adding some Japanese seasonings and cooking the fish with the bones really gives such an incredible flavour and the key is to remove the bones and mix gently before serving. Mitsuba, the Japanese Parsley really would have been great thrown on top before serving but hey, next time…

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Spinach is one of my all time favourite leafy vegetables.  It has amazing health benefits and needs very little cooking, preparation and can be incorporated in anything. High in calcium, Vitamin A, C, K, folic acid and iron it is good for our bones, memory and provides important nutrients and minerals for protecting us against a whole range of diseases. Containing important enzymes, the best way to reap the benefits is by chopping the spinach, not tearing, and not overcooking. The ensures you get the best from the enzymes, and they are broken down and absorbed easily.  This rice is an easy dish to make, very pretty with any curry or side dish, and with the cumin and onions, added flavour and health benefits can be enjoyed.

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Zakkoku (雑穀) means mixed grains/cereals in Japanese and with rice being such a fundamental part to meals here incorporating Zakkoku in your cooking means you benefit from lots nutrients and fibre when cooking with white rice. I love Genmai brown rice (玄米)with it’s nuttier flavour and obvious health benefits that you lose when you use white rice. I love white rice too however. Although it gets bad press for taking more time to process, therefore being environmentally worse as uses more energy. And due to all this processing loses much of it’s goodness, it is cheaper, softer and much quicker to cook. Zakkoku is the magic solution! As most things in Japan it is sold in convenient packets and there are lots of varieties. You can get white mixes that often include barley, sesame seeds, millet and sprouted brown rice and a more colorful set that can include azuki beans, black rice, red rice, and any number of extra goodies. I love the subtle flavour that it adds, clearly the health benefits and it looks pretty too. You can buy this outside Japan, I know it is available in the UK at the Japan Centre and your nearest Japanese grocery might stock some. If you can’t find any, you can easily make your own mix and keep it in a ziplock bag adding whenever you need to. Some things you could add include beans, sesame seeds, barley, quinoa, mung beans, lentils, black rice, red rice, poppy seeds, flaxseeds..  anything you like! If adding bigger beans that look like they might take longer to cook you might to pre-soak the mix before you use it, overnight or in the morning.

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A great way to use any vegetables you have, some pre-cooked rice and I just love the combination of the heat, salty, sweet, tangyness that you get from Thai Fried Rice. It always tastes better when you buy from made fresh from a street stand in Thailand or from someone who cooks it piping hot in a big wok but this version does the trick just as well. And it’s the little things that make it stand out from other fried rices. The white pepper, fresh lime, coriander are worth finishing the dish with as they just make the flavours pop in your mouth and take you back to your own Thai memories.

You can make this with just vegetables, chicken or any anything you feel like really. This time I made it with some fresh shrimp and squid as I had this for breakfast everyday when I once stayed in Koh Lanta and is a total treat!

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Yes, Autumn is here in Japan. The fake red and orange leaves in convenience stores, Pumpkin flavored HaagenDazs, the sweet smell of the Kinmokusei tree flower.. and of course the real trees and lovely Autumn feeling.

Heaps of different mushrooms, pumpkin and lots of great other food is abundant and after a walk in the mountains last weekend and picking up some really fresh Shitake mushrooms, I made this colorful rice night.

Actually the rice was from the day before which made making this even easier and a great accompaniment to some Mung Daal Soup.

Some pumpkin to steam in a small pot and in a large frying pan, heated some olive oil – quite generous so it could coat the rice. Threw in some cumin, added some finely chopped garlic and sliced green chillis, chopped and added half a red onion, thinly sliced and added a big handful of Shitake mushrooms and okra. When the pumpkin was soft, after about 5 mins left it to cool. Added salt and turmeric powder to the frying pan and mixed in the rice. Chopped and stirred in the pumpkin and a final big stir on a high heat until all yellow from the turmeric and it was ready in about 10 minutes.

Need: 2 cups pre-cooked rice, half red onion, about a sixth of a pumpkin, 8-10 okra, 4 garlic cloves, handful shitake mushrooms, 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2/3 fresh green chillis

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