Japan Eats

Recipe: Nanohana and bacon pasta

A bittersweet spring dish.

Nanohana (or rape-blossom in English) is representative of spring. Like wild vegetables such as fuki (butterbur), taranome (the buds of Japanese angelica) and udo, nanohana is a seasonal vegetable with a slight bitterness. For this reason, nanohana goes well with two of the dish’s other ingredients: butter and bacon. These add a sweetness that offsets the initial bitterness of the vegetable.

I recommend adding a little butter to the olive oil (or vegetable oil) to sauté the nanohana.

Nanohana and bacon pasta

Nanohana and bacon pasta

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 80 g of bacon (thinly sliced)
  • 140 – 150 g of rape blossom (canola)
  • 150 – 160 g spaghettini
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 dried whole chilli pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 10 g of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of spaghettini‘s broth
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Method

Place a large saucepan with 2 liters of cold water on a high heat and bring it to the boil. Add 20 g of salt, then cook the spaghettini.

As soon as you start to cook the spaghettini, you should also start preparing the sauce. Cut the bacon into slices 3 – 4 cm wide. Remove 1 – 2 cm from the bottom of the nanohana‘s stem, and cut into pieces 3 – 4 cm wide. You don’t need to remove the bottom of the stems if they are fresh and still soft.

Break the dried chilli pepper into 2 – 3 pieces and remove the seeds. Place a frying pan with olive oil, butter, finely chopped garlic and dried whole chilli pepper on a low heat and sauté the mixture until it produces an aroma.

Next add the bacon and sauté for another 1 – 2 minutes on the same low – medium heat.

Add the nanohana (stems first, then the leaves) mixing and softening them quickly.

Turn the heat down to low, and add 4 tablespoons of the spagettini‘s broth, mixing well. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, mix again and turn off the heat.

Add the spaghettini, coating the pasta with sauce. Serve.

Recipe: Gyoza (pan-fried dumplings)

This Chinese side dish is hugely popular in Japan, and often associated with another import: ramen noodles.

Fried dumplings (yaki gyoza) are one of Japan’s most beloved dishes. They’re most commonly found as a side order in Chinese restaurants, as a beer snack at izakaya or even as the main meal at so-called “gyoza parties” held at people’s homes.

There are a number of variations on the recipe given here. Suigyoza are boiled gyoza, often added to Japanese nabe (hotpots) during the winter months. And there’s no reason you can’t alter the recipe to make the dish vegetarian.  Experiment with different fillings and let us know your favorites!

The yield for this recipe is 50 gyoza. That may seem like a lot, but you can always freeze them for cooking at a later date.

Fried gyoza

Fried gyoza.

Ingredients (for 6 – 8 people; makes 50 gyoza)

  • 400 g of pork mince
  • 400 g of cabbage
  • 70 g of Chinese chives
  • 6 tablespoons of green onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons of ginger (finely chopped)

Sauce for the filling

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 – 3 pinches of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sake (紹興酒)
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of cold water
  • 50 gyoza skins (10 cm in diameter)

Dipping sauce

  • 100 ml vinegar
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • A few drops of rayu (spicy sesame oil)

Method

First prepare the filling. Place a bowl (20 cm or larger in diameter) and place the finely chopped cabbage, add 1 teaspoon of salt (not included in the ingredients) and mix well and leave it for 10 minutes. Then squeeze the water out.

Slice the Chinese chives 5 mm thin.

Folding gyoza

Folding gyoza. Try to pleat each skin 5 times.

Place a large bowl (26 cm or larger in diameter) with 400 g of pork mince, add all of the sauce for the filling except for the 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix them well for a minute. Add the 3 table spoons of cold water at the end, then mix well.

Add the finely chopped squeezed cabbage, chopped Chinese chives, finely chopped green onion and ginger and mix roughly, then rest the mixture for 10 minutes.

Prepare a cup of 150 ml of cold water (not included in the ingredients), divide the filling into four. The basic idea is to shape 15 – 17 gyoza from 1/4 filling.

Place a sheet of gyoza skin on your palm place a heaped teaspoon of filling onto the center of the skin using a butter knife or teaspoon. Dip a finger into a cup of water, wet it and coat the whole edge of the skin with the water. Now fold the skin in half, shaping the gyoza by making 4 – 5 pleats on one side (refer to the photograph on the left). Don’t worry if you mess up the first few – after 50 gyoza you’ll be much better!

Gyoza, ready for cooking

Gyoza made with shop-bought skins. These are thin and best for frying. Homemade gyoza skins are usually thicker and better for making boiled gyoza (suigyoza).

Pinch the skin together securely, otherwise you will lose the juice when you cook them.

Once you have shaped the gyoza, line them up on a dry plate or cutting board. Repeat the procedure until you use up either the skins or the filling.

Now it’s time to cook the gyoza. You’ll need a frying pan which has the perfectly matched size for the number of gyoza as well as a transparent lid.

Place a frying pan (20 cm diameter) with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on a medium heat and move the pan so that it’s surface is coated in oil. Once the pan is warm, place the gyoza base-down in the pan. Usually 8 – 10 gyoza will fit inside a fry pan 20 cm in diameter, but if you have a larger pan, add more vegetable oil (perhaps 2 tablespoons) and cook 15 – 18 gyoza at once.

Fry the gyoza until the base of the gyoza tuns brown. Check the color by picking one up with your fingers.

When they have turned brown, turn the heat up high. Add 1/2 cup of water (not included in the ingredients) and close the lid immediately. The water-level should reach a third of the height of the gyoza.

While the gyoza cook, prepare the dipping sauce. Pour both the soy sauce and the vinegar into a small dish. Add a little rayu for spice.

Gyoza cooking

Before adding water, make sure the base of each gyoza is dark brown.

When almost all the water in the fry pan is gone, open the lid. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (not included in the ingredients) and extend to add the aroma and make the base crispy again.

Turn off the heat and use a spatula to serve.

Recipe: Tarako butter spaghetti

A quick and easy pasta dish

Tarako (salted pollack roe) is often used as an ingredient in onigiri (Japanese rice balls). If you visit a Japanese supermarket, you’ll find a similar product called mentaiko. It’s also salted pollack roe, but is seasoned with tougarashi – red chili powder.

Tarako spaghetti is a dish that’s easy to make and is particularly popular with children. The saltiness of the tarako is a good match for the sweetness of the butter, together producing a wonderful flavor. I recommend a garnish such as shiso or radish sprouts to add a sharpness to the dish.

Tarako butter spaghetti

Tarako butter spaghetti

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 160 – 180 g of spaghettini (1.7  mm)
  • 160 – 180 g of tarako
  • 60 g of butter
  • 1 sheet of nori ( 20 cm x 20 cm dried sea weed)
  • 10 sheets of shiso (green perilla)

Method

Place a large pot with 2 liters of cold water on a high heat. Once it comes to boil, add 10 g of salt and cook the spaghettini based on the introductions on the package.

While you’re cooking the spaghettini, prepare the sauce and the garnish. Cut the butter into 1 cm square cubes and put these in a large bowl.

Next, place the tarako on the cutting board and cut the skin. Use the back of the knife to scrape the eggs into the bowl.

Cut the nori into pieces 3 – 5 cm wide, then place these in a stack and cut into 1 – 2 mm strips with scissors.

Slice the shiso leaves 1 mm thin.

Once the spaghettini is cooked, drain and quickly add them to the bowl, mixing well so that the butter melts with the heat of the spaghettini. Make sure that you keep a little hot water when you drain the noodles – it can be used to adjust the sauce. If you think it needs to be more smooth or still has lumps of butter, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of hot water to the bowl.

Plate the pasta, garnish and serve.

Recipe: Tebasaki to daikon no kurozuni (simmered chicken wingtips with daikon)

The perfect antidote to those winter blues

This is a popular (and inexpensive) dish usually eaten during the colder months in Japan. It can be served as either an appetizer or as a main course.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the browning of the chicken wings is important in giving the dish it’s deep and savory smell. I recommend you to adopt a similar approach when cooking thick negi (spring onions) or deep-fried tofu to be used in nimono or nabe.

Add the kurozu (black vinegar) to the chicken stock at the very end when cooking the chicken.

Tebasaki to daikon no kurozuni (simmered chicken wingtips with daikon)

Tebasaki to daikon no kurozuni (simmered chicken wingtips with daikon)

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 600 g of chicken wings
  • 500-600 g of daikon (Japanese radish)
  • 30 g of ginger
  • 4 boiled eggs

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of sake
  • 4 tablespoons of soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of mirin
  • 2 tablespoons of black vinegar
  • 2 cups of cold water

Method

First, prepare the chicken wings. Cut off the very tip of the wings tips. Use the knife and cut the gristle, then break it with your hands. This is both for looks and to make the wings easier to eat.

Next, prepare the daikon. Peal it and slice into pieces 2 – 3 cm thick, then cut into half rounds or quarters. Now peal the ginger and cut it into 1 mm slices.

Place a casserole dish on the gas table, pour 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the pot and warm it on the low to medium heat.

Remove the liquid on the chicken wings with a paper towel and then sauté with the skin face down until they are browned.

Be patient and don’t turn them around often so as to brown them. Don’t worry – the skin won’t stick to the bottom of the casserole if you brown them enough.

Add all the ingredients for the sauce  except the kurozu (black vinegar). Next, drop the ginger and daikon into the casserole dish and turn up the heat to medium-high.

Once the liquid comes to the boil, turn it down to a low heat and put the lid on. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the daikon becomes soft.

While you’re cooking the soup, prepare the boiled eggs. I am sure that everybody knows how to do that…!

Once the eggs are cooked, move them to a cold bowl of water and let them sit in the bowl for 2-3 minutes, then remove the shells.

Confirm the daikon is soft and add the kurozu and the boiled egg. Cook for another 10 minutes with an otoshibuta (a drop lid made from paper) over the ingredients. For instructions on how to prepare one, click here.

Serve the chicken wings, daikon and egg halves, taking care to arrange the ingredients so they look good on the plate.

Recipe: Tsukemen (dipping noodles)

Tsukemen may have started out as summer dish, but you can eat it all year round.

Tsukemen is a dish featuring ramen-style noodles, a dipping sauce and usually some kind of garnish. Served separately, it’s the diner who dips the cool or luke-warm noodles in the hot soup. It’s a fun twist on ramen, and increasing popular in Japan, particularly in Tokyo where the dish is said to have originated.

Tsukemen

Tsukemen

This particular recipe has a distinctly Chinese flavor, thanks to the mix of chilli bean paste and tianmianjiang sauce. Note that the soup should be a little salty as the noodles and garnish will water down the flavor. Experiment with boiled cabbage, boiled spinach and fresh coriander as a garnish.

This dish involves a little preparation, but comes together quickly at the end.

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4 people)

Tsukejiru (soup)

  • 100 – 130 g minced pork
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of doubanjiang (Chinese chilli bean paste)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of douchijiang (blackbean chilli paste)
  • 400 ml chicken soup stock
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of tianmianjiang (sweet soybean paste)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of roughly chopped green onion
  • 2 – 3 pinches of black pepper

Garnish

  • 50 g string beans
  • 50 g carrot
  • 100 g bean sprouts
  • 30 g radish sprouts
  • 10 stalks Asatsuki chives

Noodles

  • 100 – 120 g Chinese noodles per person

Method

First prepare the garnish. Cut off both sides of the string beans. Place a pan with 4 – 5 cups of water on a high heat. Once it comes to the boil, add a pinch of salt and boil the string beans for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain and cool them down in a bowl of cold water; drain again and cut them diagonally into 4 – 5 cm lengths.

Cut the carrot into 4 – 5 cm sections. Cut lengthwise, with the grain, so that you can create rectangles 2 mm thick. Now lay them on their sides and slice them again so they form 2 mm x 2 mm strips. Place a pan with 2 – 3 cups of water on a high heat. Once it comes to the boil, add a pinch of salt and boil the carrot for 1 minute. Drain and cool in a bowl of cold water, drain again.

Put the bean sprouts in a bowl and cover them with water to prevent the color changing. Pluck away the roots. Place a pan with 4 – 5 cups of water on a high heat and once it comes to the boil, cook the bean sprouts for 1 minute. Drain and cool them in a basket.

Cut the roots from 30 g of radish sprouts and rinse them in cold water.

Cut the asatsuki chives into 4 – 5 cm lengths.

Place a small pot (enough to hold 500 – 600 ml) with 1 table spoon of sesame oil on a low heat. Once it has become warm, add the finely chopped garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 – 2 mins. Add the minced pork, turn the heat up to medium and cook well. Turn the heat down to low and add 1 – 2 teaspoons of doubanjiang and douchijiang. Mix and sauté for another 1 – 2 min until the mixture gives off a spicy aroma.

Now add the 400 ml of chicken stock. Once it comes to the boil, add 2 tablespoons of sake, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 – 3 tablespoons tianmianjiang and 2 – 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and mix well.

Turn off the heat, add 2 – 3 tablespoons of roughly chopped green onion and 2 – 3 pinches of black pepper.

Finally, cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain them and cool in a bowl of cold water. Wash the noodles carefully while still in the bowl, changing the water a couple of times so you can remove the starch.

Serve the noodles, garnish and soup separately. When eating, choose your favorite garnish and place it in the soup with the noodles.

Recipe: Kajiki to natsuyasai no ponzu sarada (swordfish with summer vegetables)

A light dish, perfect for the last days of summer.

Swordfish has a delicate flavor and works well tomato, mustard or teriyaki sauces.

Here we’re going to coat the swordfish with a sauce blending the refreshing citrus of ponzu and the spiciness of wholegrain mustard.

In order to reduce the smell of the fish, sauté with garlic and rosemary. You can add any vegetables you like, but take into account the overall texture and the vegetable’s affinity with the dressing. Personally, I prefer mild-flavored vegetables such as zucchini. It’s also important to cut the ingredients into pieces of the same shape and size.

Swordfish with summer vegetables and ponzu

Swordfish with summer vegetables and ponzu

Ingredients (serves 2 – 4 people)

  • 150 g of swordfish (two slices of swordfish )
  • 50-70 g of red pepper (red paprika )
  • 50-70 g of yellow pepper (yellow paprika)
  • 50-70 g of string bean
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 branch of rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salad dressing

  • 3 tablespoons of ponzu
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of mustard (with seeds)
  • ½ tablespoon of olive oil

Method

Mix the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl.

Cut the string beans into 5 cm lengths and boil them for 2 – 3 minutes. Drain and allow them to come to room temperature.

Next, slice both the red and yellow peppers into strips roughly 5 cm long.

Now cut the swordfish into 1 x 5 cm slices.

Peal the garlic and then squash it. Together with the rosemary and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, gently heat the garlic in a frying pan.

When they begin to give off a strong fragrance, increase the heat to medium and sauté the swordfish until it becomes lightly brown then add the fish (except garlic, rosemary and extra olive oil) to the dressing bowl.

Use a sheet of kitchen paper to clean up the oil in the frying pan then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the string beans, red pepper, yellow pepper on high heat for 1 minute. Add to the bowl.

Mix all the ingredients in the bowl carefully and cool them down in the refrigerator for 30 – 60 minutes. Serve.

Recipe: Marinated zucchini in ponzu sauce

This citrus-flavored side salad is the perfect accompaniment to a summer barbeque.

Ponzu is a well balanced sauce, but you can add other flavors to suit your own taste. Here, tobanjan has been added to produce a Chinese-style spiciness. You could also add 1 or 2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard, a few teaspoons of sesame oil or a pinch of chopped garlic.

Japanese supermarkets stock a wide variety of ponzu, and a bottle makes an ideal souvenir for overseas visitors.

Marinated zucchini in ponzu sauce

Marinated zucchini in ponzu sauce

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4 people)

  • 350 – 400 g green and yellow zucchini
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Ponzu sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of ponzu
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon tobanjan
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Method

Mix the ingredients of the ponzu sauce in a bowl. Slice the zucchini into 1 cm thick rounds. Place a fry pan in the gas table with one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Warm it on a medium heat then saute the zucchini until they’re browned.

While they’re still hot, pour the zucchini into the bowl containing the ponzu sauce. Mix thoroughly.

Finally, place the bowl in the fridge and cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe: Teriyakidon (chicken teriyaki rice bowl)

A classic Japanese rice bowl that’s a cinch to prepare.

Donburi, rice bowls topped with fish, meat or vegetables, are one of Japan’s most popular lunchtime meals. Their appeal lies in the fact that they are quick to prepare and can be made from just about anything.

This recipe calls for rice topped with chicken coated in a delicious teriyaki sauce. The addition of pickled ginger ties the dish together beautifully.

Teriyakidon

Teriyakidon

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 100 – 120 g green onion
  • 300 g chicken thigh
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 20 – 30 g of pickled ginger (half finely chopped, half thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds

Teriyaki sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of sake
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of mirin

Method

First, cut the green onion into pieces 4 – 5 cm in length. Fry in pan on a medium heat without any oil. Once they have become brown, remove the pieces to a tray.

Prepare the chicken by chopping it into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the chicken and let it rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove any liquid that comes out of the chicken with a paper towel.

Next, cover the chicken with 1 tablespoon of flour. Make sure the pieces are evenly coated.

Pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into a frying pan and place this on a medium heat. Saute the chicken until it has browned on one side. Turning the chicken over, place a lid on the pan and allow the second side to cook.

Now for the teriyaki sauce. Mix the sake, soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl. When both sides of the chicken are brown remove any extra oil from the pan with a paper towel then slowly add the sauce from the edge of the frying pan. Cook until the sauce has thickened and has completely covered the chicken.

Finally, mix a bowl of cooked rice with the finely chopped ginger and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Cover with a layer of chicken and garnish with the thinly sliced pickled ginger.

Recipe: Spicy soboro salad

Soboro is an ideal topping for rice, noodles or even salads.

Soboro is seasoned ground meat that’s usually eaten on rice (soborodon) or in noodle dishes such as tantanmen. It has a salty-sweet flavor, with some recipes calling for the addition of chopped ginger to balance the flavors.

For most Japanese, the word soboro conjures images of torisoboro, made from chicken which is then spread over rice and served as part of a bento. However it also makes an excellent addition to salads, particularly when they contain sprouts like those of radishes, broccoli or kale. The sprouts add a sharpness which cuts through the flavor of the seasoned meat. The following recipe uses pork and a seasoning that includes both soy sauce and doubanjiang, a Chinese paste made of fermented fava beans.

It’s important to cook the soboro immediately before preparing the salad. Mix into the salad when the soboro is still warm. It will slightly soften the leaves of the vegetables and help bind the ingredients together.

Soboro Salad

Soboro Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 200 g of red cabbage
  • 50 g of red-leaved chicory
  • 50 g of red radish
  • 100 g (1 package) of radish sprouts

Soboro

  • 100 g of pork mince
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of doubanjiang (Chinese chili bean paste)
  • 1 teaspoon of douchijiang (blackbean chili paste)
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce

Dressing

  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons of sesame oil

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of roughly crushed peanuts

Method

First, prepare the vegetables. Rinse the red cabbage and red-leaved chicory then slice into pieces 1 mm thick (cut against the grain). Rinse the red radishes and slice them thinly. Cut off the root part (sponge bed) of the radish sprouts, the cut them into half, leaf and stem. Use leaves later as a garnish.

Fill a large bowl with enough ice water to cover the red cabbage, red-leafed chicory, red radish and radish sprout (only the stems) and rinse the vegetables for 5 – 6 minutes before draining.

While you are refreshing the vegetables, prepare the soboro. Place a frying on the stove with a tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic.

Turn the heat to low and saute for 1 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of doubanjiang (Chinese chili bean paste) and 1 teaspoon of douchijiang (paste) to the pan and saute till they give you the spicy aroma. Then add pork mince and turn the heat to medium, fry them till they cooked and crumbly. Finally, add ½ teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and mix thoroughly.

Now for the dressing. Mix ½ teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar in a cup, then add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and mix again. At the end of this process, add 3 teaspoons of sesame oil. Stir thoroughly.

Prepare the garnish by placing a frying pan on a low heat and roasting the sesame seeds slowly for 5 minutes.

Place the vegetables in a large serving bowl, then sprinkle the roasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts over the leaves. Next, place the soboro and radish leaves on top the vegetables. Finally pour the dressing over the vegetables. Mix the whole salad evenly before eating.

Recipe: Asian chicken salad

This coriander-packed Thai salad makes a great appetizer, but it’s just as good as a spicy sandwich filling.

To give the salad a fresh, crispy texture, it’s important to rinse the sliced vegetables in ice water. It’s also best eaten within 24 hours.

When you mix the ingredients in the bowl, use both hands. The taste will be much better than if you mix using utensils (wood, metal or otherwise).

Asian chicken salad

Asian chicken salad

Ingredients (for 4 – 8 people)

  • 500 g of chicken breast
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of sake
  • 200 – 250 g cabbage
  • 120 g cucumber
  • 50 – 60 g red onion
  • 40 – 50 g celery
  • 20 g of roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint

Dressing

  • 2 red peppers (dried and finely chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil
  • A pinch of salt

Garnish

  • Roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons of crushed peanuts

Method

First we’ll prepare the chicken. Remove any excess moisture with a paper towel then sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt and black pepper onto all sides of the chicken breast. Place the chicken on a plate then rest it for 5 minutes. Pour 2 tablespoons of sake over it then wrap the plate with cling film (2 layers) before cooking it in the microwave for 5 ½ minutes. Take the plate out of the microwave and allow the chicken to rest until it is cool enough to touch.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dressing. Mix all of the ingredients other than the peanut oil and salt in a large bowl. Now add the peanut oil. Do so slowly stirring the dressing with your other hand. Check the flavor and add salt to taste.

As the chicken cools, prepare the vegetables. Rinse the cabbage then slice into pieces 1 – 2 mm thick. Rinse the cucumber and cut into slices approximately 1 mm thick. Peel the red onion then slice thinly, following the grain. Remove the strings from the celery and slice the stems diagonally into 1 – 2 mm pieces. Cut the leaves into pieces 1 – 2 mm thick.

Fill a large bowl with ice water (enough to cover the cabbage, cucumber, red onion and celery) and rinse them for 5 – 6 minutes before draining.

Once cool, break the chicken breast by hand into bite-sized pieces (follow the grain). Add this together with the liquid on the plate into the bowl containing the dressing.

Now add the vegetables to the chicken/dressing mixture.

Add 20 g of roughly chopped coriander and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint to the bowl. Combine all the ingredients by hand.

Decorate the salad with fresh coriander and crushed peanuts before serving.