Monday, September 28, 2009

Tofu, Minced Pork and Cabbage

One of my favourite dishes is Mabu Dofu, which I’ve loved every since I lived in Japan and always end up eating on my birthday.  Japanese mabu dofu is much milder than the original Chinese Szechuan dish – although I’ll more than happily eat either.

This isn’t quite mabu dofu, but is not a million miles away and still extremely tasty…


While the rice was happily cooking away in the Cook Japan rice cooker, I turned my attention to rest of the dish…mixing a bit of water, miso, sugar, mirin and salt in a bowl, then frying the cabbage over a low heat with the minced pork.  Once the mince starts to change colour in comes the mixed seasoning and then the tofu cubes for a final 10-minute simmer and the whole thing goes on top of a steaming bowl of rice.


Although the miso gives the dish a nice deep flavour, I love my mabu dofu a bit spicier than my children so in goes a really good dollop of gochujang (korean spicy miso paste) to give the whole dish a kick…

…as I say not really a “pure” traditional Japanese, Chinese or Korean dish, but one where having robbed bits and pieces from each kitchen the resulting dish is lovely.

Ottolenghi Roast Chicken and Three-Rice Salad

We’re going a bit Ottolenghi crazy at the moment…the cookbook is amazing!!

Sunday night (and yippe, left overs for lunch today) was Ottolenghi’s Roast Chicken with Three-Rice Salad.

First up, roast a chicken that has been liberally rubbed with olive oil and salt and pepper then when cooked put to one side at room temperature and let cool, and keep the juices.  While the chicken is roasting you start making the rice salad…first in the pan (or in our case the Cook Japan rice cooker) was the basmati rice which once cooked was then put to one side to cool, and into the rice cooker went the brown rice and wild rice to be cooked together, and then put the combined rice aside.

Carve the meat, or tear off in chunks, then mix lemon juice, sesame oil, thai fish sauce and olive oil and pour this dressing over the chicken. 

Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry sliced onions until brown and let cool.  Add the three rices, fried onion, spring onions, chopped chillies and coriander, mint and shiso (or rocket) to the chicken.

Absolutely delicious…

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For more information visit:

Nabe – Japanese One Pot Stew

Nabe (or nabemono) is the pot used in Japan for one-pot stews, which are placed in the middle of the table usually on a portable stove so the dish is kept hot, but also allows you to keep adding more food and keep eating.

In Japan a “shared pot” is an important aspect of building closer relationships, hence the phrase Nabe (w)o kakomu (鍋を囲む、"sitting around the pot" which implies that sharing nabemono will create warm relations between the diners who eat together.

Their is a huge variety of nabe dishes, plus its the sort of thing you can adapt to whatever ingredients you have at home.  Saturday night we opted for a pile of typical Japanese vegetables along with udon noodles and some meatballs made from pork mince, spring onions and ginger:

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These were then all cooked in the nabe, the water having been already seasoned with konbu (kelp) and served in individual bowls with ponzu (citrus based sauce similar to soya sauce) and some more spring onions, plus grated Japanese white radish:


Of course no meal in house tends to escape the Cook Japan rice cooker, so at the end of the meal the previous days leftover rice was mixed with the remaining liquid in the nabe along with an egg to make zosui/ojiya, a fabulous end to any nabe…


Friday, September 25, 2009

A beautiful bowl of Kosheri

We recently got the Ottolenghi Cookbook which is full of fabulous dishes, one we tried last night was KOSHERI…although we didn’t have all the ingredients so had to cut a few corners, but the result was still delicious.  Kosheri is a traditional rice and lentil dish from Egypt that is usually served alongside a spicy tomato sauce…


What you should do is fry some garlic and oil then add tomatoes, water, vinegar, salt and cumin and bring to boil, then simmer seasoning with coriander and a bit of salt ‘n pepper.  Then wash and cook lentils until tender, and then wash some rice, fry some vermicelli noodles in butter until golden brown, add the washed rice and cook.  Leave to steam then sautee the onions and add these plus the lentils to the rice, garnishing with a bit more coriander.

Takes a bit of pan juggling, but is a simple dish to make and tastes wonderful.

What we did, was basically as above, but didn’t have any tomatoes to hand (and couldn’t be bothered to go shopping at night for more) and our lentils were more yellow than green, but other than that we did what the book told us – and anyway, good cooking is always about tweaking things a little…

Its a great dish and a great cookbook if you don’t already have a copy…

For more information visit:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Double donburi delight

Yeah, not one but two bowls of food…double donburi delight!

I was still a bit peckish after my bowl of gyu-don…didn’t need to eat, but was suddenly given the glorious excuse of my wife also cooking up a batch of “buta no kakuni” – a real favourite.  For those of yet to try this delicious dish, its essentially Japanese braised pork belly.


I’m a huge fan of this dish, its a brilliant way to cook pork belly…and it goes wonderfully with sake.


My wife’s killer recipe for buta no kakuni is to cook the pork belly in earl grey tea for 1-1.5 hours until it is really tender, she then changes this to fresh water and adds ginger, garlic, leeks/spring onions along with soya sauce, mirin, sake and sugar which gives the dish its lovely sweet syrupiness.  The dish is then left to simmer on a low-heat for around 2-hours until the liquid is almost gone and reduced to a sauce.

Try this, its a fantastic way to cook belly pork – there’s a bit left in the pan, tomorrow I’ll eat these remnants and the flavours will be even deeper, yummy!

As for my "entree", by the time the pork belly was done I'd already tucked into a nice bowl of gyu-don for dinner – essentially a “beef bowl”.  Its lovely thin slices of beef that are simmered in a sauce (made from soya sauce, dashi and mirin) and some onions – my wife then popped a dash of corn flour in to just thicken the sauce a little and make it stick to the beef.  Throw some pickles, or in my case shichimi (seven flavour chilli pepper) and you can sit back and enjoy a lovely meal. 

(Of course the rice for both was out of our Cook Japan rice cooker…where else?)


If you love a bit of gyu-don - check out my blog on the packet of "Yoshinoya Gyu-don" I was sent from Japan...oishii!!
For more information visit:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Unagi-don (grilled eel) for lunch

Had to some left over rice in my trusty Cook Japan rice cooker and thanks to my giri-no-haha (mother-in-law) back in Osaka one last packet of unagi (grilled eel) with sauce – perfect for making one of my favourite dishes…Unagi donburi.

In Japan the hottest day of the year is known as Ushi-no-hi, if you eat unagi on that day it will strengthen your body so you don’t get ill as the year starts to get colder.  Unfortunately, here in England its already cold, but any day is a good day for unagi donburi…


A wonderful hot bowl of porridge…

…blimey it was cold this morning, not that we had much of a summer but it seems autumn is fast coming upon us now.

Forced my tired limbs out on to the streets in the early hours for a heavy-legged 5km run (which I could say it was fast and furious), but plodding is probably the best I can hope for…

…got home and wanted a bowl of porridge to warm the bones and give me the energy for the rest of the day I was so obviously missing

So popped the oats and milk (1:2.5 ratio) into the Cook Japan rice cooker, along with a drop of vanilla essence, put it onto “porridge” function end hit START.  Went upstairs for a shower and to get changed, came back down a little over 10-minutes later and the porridge was cooked and sitting on “keep warm”.
Gave it a swirl of maple syrup and a dash of nutmeg and…

…it was lovely

better still, the cooking bowl was a dream to clean…not elbow grease to clean out the usual congealed bits from a saucepan and no need to sit there constantly stirring it either.  Simple and really yummy breakfast.

For more information visit:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yummy Char Siu Congee

Really tasty dinner tonight…was a little bit torn on what to do and make and too tired to put much effort into it, so opted for a lovely bowl of Char Siu Congee made in the rice cooker.
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Simple to to make, popped in some cha siu pork with shiitake mushrooms, corn, soya beans and some asparagus topped at the end with some spring onions… what could be easier.

All you have to do is wash the rice, pop it in the rice cooker (i went for 1.5 cups of rice and 8 cups of liquid).  Rather than going with all water I also used the water the shiitake had been soaking in and a good glug of soya sauce and ponzu.

Everything went in the Cook Japan rice cooker, stick it on “congee” mode and 45 minutes later it was all set to eat…delicious!  Easy to make, really tasty and great for when you can't face slaving over a hot stove

For more information visit:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Japan Matsuri – London, 19th September

Really looking forward to the Japan Matsuri this weekend in London (, should be a great day…top entertainment and some yummy food no doubt.

Also looking forward to talking to people about Cook Japan Rice Cookers, be great to see the reaction to being able to buy an affordable and hi-tec rice cooker in the UK.

Hopefully the weather will stay nice and the day will be a great success for all.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cooking perfect rice in a rice cooker…

Here’s a simple easy to follow run down on how to cook rice in a rice cooker.  Following these easy steps (or using the more detail guidance at should ensure that you can make perfect rice everytime.
Happy eating…
For more information visit:
Rice Cooker on Foodista

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Cook Japan Website goes live…

The new website for Cook Japan as just gone live, check out
Cook Japan™ is a shop and community set up to help you find some of the key tools you need to make great Japanese, and other Asian, food.

One of the biggest problems for lovers of Japanese and Asian food is being able to make perfect rice at the drop of a hat.  Finding high performance rice cookers in Europe like we have at home is extremely difficult and more often than not nigh on impossible.

Cook Japan rice cookers have all the functionality and technology you would expect from a Japanese rice cooker.  We want to make it easy and affordable for you to find and buy top quality micro-computer controlled rice cookers utilising state of the art fuzzy logic and induction heating (IH).  We'll also bring you great recipes and an increasing range of other Japanese cookware.

We are sure you'll have great fun and make great food with your Cook Japan rice cooker.