Salad

Tofu and Lentil Sprout Salad

You can probably find tofu at your regular supermarket or grocery shop nowadays. Tofu is made from soy beans which is a great source of protein with all sorts of goodness inside.

This is a healthy tofu salad recipe with lentil sprouts: a super food rich in vitamin C, folate and potassium.

The refreshing taste of tofu and lentil sprouts go well with flavoursome soy sauce and sesame oil dressing. Nori seaweed adds a hint of the taste of the sea.

It’s a very simple recipe anyone can have a crack at. It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly, too. With two types of bean, you’ll definitely be full of beans after eating this salad!

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Key

You can get rid of excess water by putting the wrapped tofu in a microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.

Topic

Tofu is an indispensable ingredient in the Japanese diet. It’s coagulated soy milk which contains lots of isoflavones. Some studies suggest isoflavones balance hormones for women. It’s a good source of iron and calcium and a great substitute for animal meat as well.

Lentil sprouts is a new face to the superfoods and is packed with vitamins and minerals. Lentil sprouts are healthier than already healthy boiled lentils, as the nutrients in the beans increase as they sprout, as well as no lost nutrients from the cooking process.

Lentil sprouts are available to buy in the salad vegetable section of supermarkets. You can find Nori sheets in oriental grocery shops or at the world food section in supermarkets.

Chicken Breast Salad with Spring Onion

Chicken breast contains high levels of protein and is low in calories and fat, so it’s inarguably the healthiest meat to eat. However, it can become a bit dry when overcooked. In this recipe, I’ll show you how to cook succulent breast fillet. What’s more, it’s probably the easiest way to cook it: you don’t need any technique, only a kitchen timer. You can use the cooked breast fillet, not only for salad, but also many other dishes including sandwiches and pasta dishes. The cooking time for this recipe is 50 minutes, but 30 minutes of it is waiting time! Learn how to cook breast fillet from this recipe. It’s so handy to know and you’ll definitely use it again.

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Key: You can find how to make toasted sesame seed in THIS RECIPE. Please refer at ‘Preparation 3’ section.

Topic 1: Are you a breast person, or thigh person?

The breast fillet is the most popular part of chicken in the West. However, do you know that the succulent thigh is the most popular part of the chicken in Japan? It’s much more expensive than breast too.

It’s one of those interesting things about how food culture differs in each country. I’d like to know if you have any interesting differences in food culture in your country. Please let me know in the comments below.

Topic 2: Combat fatigue with chicken breast

A group of Japanese scientists studied the secret of stamina in migratory birds: the reason why they can fly long distances for long durations. They found a substance called ‘Imidazole dipeptides’ which have strong anti-fatigue and anti-oxidative effects, in their breast muscles. Most creatures have this substance in their most used therefore fatigued areas of their body, for instance, the root of the caudal fin of a bonito fish and the brain of a human. Although we all know chickens can’t fly, its breast is rich in Imidazole dipeptides, interestingly.

Research carried out in 2009 in Japan showed the continuous intake of Imidazole dipeptides for over 8 weeks showed signs of reduced fatigue. Dr Keiichi Shimizu, who led the research, said that eating 100g chicken breast per day for at least 2 weeks will make a difference. Let me know if it works for you!

References:

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jcam/6/3/6_3_123/_article

https://yomidr.yomiuri.co.jp/article/20150906-OYTEW57436/ (Japanese)

The Ultimately Tasty Celery with Garlic Sauce

I personally think this is the most delicious way to eat celery on Earth. Yes, the best in the world!

Celery tastes good and is inexpensive, so I usually get one when I go grocery shopping. However, celery is usually a main dish outcast and I haven’t had a celery dish which made me surprised about how tasty celery is from the bottom of my heart.

So, I decided to cast Mr. Celery as the main role on the dining table stage. Supporting role will go to Miss. Garlic. Enjoy the joint performance of the two talented ingredients yourself!

celery 1

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Key

  1. This celery dish can be eaten soon after cooked, however it’s best to eat after 2 hours as the celery absorbs all the flavour.
  2. Use toasted sesame seeds instead of Bonito Flakes for a vegetarian and vegan friendly dish.

Topic: Something Smells Like Celery…

Japanese scientist Kikue Kubota and her fellow researchers studied what the subtle, yet distinct smell of celery is. The subject came up because they wondered why celery makes every soup taste better, despite the fact that these soups don’t have the taste of celery. After extensive experiments, they published a study entitled ‘Potent odorants characterize the aroma quality of leaves and stalks in raw and boiled celery’. The study explains that a compound called phthalides is what gives celery its unique smell, and guarantees an improved flavour. Oddly enough, the compound itself smells like celery, but doesn’t have a taste at all.

What’s more, a recent study showed phthalides can relax the muscles around our arteries, therefore, together with the diuretic effect of celery, it can lower blood pressure. Another compound behind the smell of celery called Apiin is said to have a calming effect.

Celery is full of antioxidants and eating celery has so many health benefits: lowering cholesterol, fatigue recovery, fighting cancer, and lots more. What are you waiting for? Let’s cook this recipe and eat lots of celery!

References:

https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/essence-celery

http://www.wakasanohimitsu.jp/seibun/celery/ (Japanese)

Asazuke: Japanese Style Lightly Pickled Cabbage

We have so many varieties of pickled vegetable in Japan with diverse ingredients, techniques, and localities. The main difference from the western pickles is that Japanese pickles is mainly salty and not overly sour.

Asazuke is the quickest and simplest type of pickle, and it’s super easy to make at home. It’ll require only 15 minutes to cook, and will be ready to eat in 3 hours after leaving it in the fridge. Enjoy its freshness and crunchiness like salad. A hint of garlic and ginger gives an interesting twist to this recipe.

Eat asazuke cabbage like a salad, and the great thing is it’s oil free, therefore much lower in calories than a salad dish.

This recipe requires no special ingredient. So, there is no excuse not to try asazuke yourself!

NB: The featured picture shows the asazuke left in the fridge for 3 hours.

 

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Key

  1. Leaves of pointed or sweetheart cabbage come off easily. Remove the required amount only, and save the rest for next times.
  2. Make sure you squeeze all excess water before serving.
  3. I use the least amount of salt for this recipe for you to eat a lot of asazuke like salad.
  4. Alternatively, you can leave it longer in the fridge, up to overnight. Its texture becomes softer and its flavour develops.

 

Topic 1: Japanese pickles

Basic Japanese pickles are to pickle cut vegetables with salt, vinegar, sake lees, or anything else. By pickling, vegetables can be preserved for longer, as well as it enhances their flavour.

Pickles are one of the most important side dishes in Japanese food culture. It’s said that people has been making pickles since ancient periods. A written record regarding pickles appeared in the 8th century. During the Edo period, common Japanese people’s eating style was called ‘ichi shiru issai’, literally means one soup and one side dish. The soup is miso soup and the side dish means pickles in this context. This simple eating style is reappraised as a healthy eating style in recent Japan.

Since pickles are necessary on our daily table; there are so many types of pickles all over Japan, and some of them are prized as local delicacies.

Reference:

 

Topic 2: Salt

Do you think salt is just salt? Well, there are roughly three types of salt; sea salt, rock salt, and lake salt. They are produced from different sources with different methods, and actually taste different. Recently, people in Japan have taken a keen interest in salt. They try, not only different types of salt, but also flavoured salt including salt and black sesame seeds, salt and dashi stock, and salt and maccha. Why not try an interesting combination of salt yourself?

Japanese Style Salad with Tofu and Kale

Tofu (bean curd) and kale salad is super healthy and nutritious. It’s a great dish for vegans, however the Japanese style fried garlic flavoured dressing makes this salad everyone’s favourite!

Are you one of those people who knows tofu is good for you but isn’t so keen on it? If so, this delicious salad recipe is for you.

Looking gorgeous and vegan friendly: it’s a perfect dish for parties.

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Ingredients

75g Kale

1 packet Tofu

1 Spring Onion (chopped)

2 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)

2 tbs Soy Sauce

1 and 1/2 tbs Apple Vinegar

2 tbs Sesame Oil

2 tsp Sugar

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Method

  1. Boil the kale for 3 minutes. Dice the tofu. Arrange them in a serving bowl.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and fry over a medium heat until golden brown.
  3. Add the soy sauce, apple vinegar, and sugar to the frying pan. Once boiled, turn off the heat. Leave to cool.
  4. Sprinkle the spring onion over the kale and tofu in a bowl and add the dressing.

Key

  • You can find tofu for this recipe easily in your local supermarket nowadays. I use the one pictured below.

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Vinegary Salad of Cucumber and Wakame

Vinegary salad, or we call it “Sunomono” which literally means vinegary dish, is a very popular side dish in Japan. Its clean and refreshing flavour goes well with any main dishes. It’s oil free so you don’t need to worry about calories, though you can get all the goodness from the Wakame seaweed which is packed with all the vitamins and minerals from the sea.

Ingredients For 2

150g Cucumber

5g Dried Wakame (Seaweed)

1 tbs Salt

2 tbs Rice vinegar

1 tbs Sugar

1 tbs Parched white sesame

Method

  1. Soak the dried Wakame (Seaweed) in a bowl to reconstitute and drain.
  2. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and slice thinly. Place the cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle the salt, then massage them. Wash out the salt and squeeze out excess water from the cucumber.
  3. Place the vinegar and the sugar in a bowl. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Add the Wakame, cucumber and sesame. Mix well then serve.

Tofu (Bean curd) and Avocado salad with Wasabi Sauce

Some of you might say that Tofu, a block of soy bean curd, tastes bland and boring. If you are one of these people, please try this recipe. It only takes 5 minutes to make.

The Sharpness of the Wasabi paste and buttery rich flavour of the avocado transform tofu into an interesting dish. It’s healthy and nutritious too!

Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids, so a great vegetarian alternative can be made when replacing the tuna with olive oil.

Ingredients for 3people

1Pack of Tofu (Bean Curd)
1 Avocado
1 Tin of Tuna (Drain excess oil)
1 Pack of Salad Cress
3-5 tbs Soy Sauce
1-2 tsp Wasabi Paste (Mix with the soy sauce)

Method
1. Dice the tofu and avocado, and then place them in a bowl.

2. Add the drained tuna, the soy sauce and the wasabi paste mixture into the bowl.

3. Add the Salad Cress in the bowl and roughly mix all the ingredients.

Key
1. Adjust the amount of soy sauce and wasabi paste for your liking.
2. If you have time, drain the tofu block before cooking. First, wrap the tofu block with kitchen paper, then place on a large plate. Put a wooden chopping board or something similar on top of the tofu, making sure the tofu will be pressed evenly. Drain for about 30 minutes.
3. For a vegetarian alternative, replace the tin of tuna with 1 tbs of olive oil.