Seafood

Smoked Mackerel Chirashi Sushi

I know it’s difficult to find sushi-grade fish outside of Japan. However, you don’t have to use raw fish to make sushi dish. You can use cooked or preserved fish or meat, a tin of fish, or smoked fish, which I used in this recipe.

I use smoked mackerel for this recipe, which is widely available everywhere in the UK.

This style of sushi dish is called chirashi, meaning ‘scattered’. Sushi rice is mixed with a few ingredients, typically cooked and seasoned vegetables, and the main ingredients are scattered on the rice.

I even cheated by using a ready-made chirashi sushi base mix product, which you can buy in the Japanese food section at most oriental grocery shops. If you can’t find any, just add sushi vinegar instead. Please refer to Key 1 below for that recipe.

There is no forming nor rolling involved in this recipe. The only technique required is mixing! So it’s fantastically easy to make and it tastes as good as any other type of sushi dish. If you are a novice at sushi-making, try this recipe first!

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Key

  1. If you don’t have the chirashi sushi rice mixture, just use 6 tbs of a bottled sushi vinegar, or make your own sushi vinegar by mixing 6 tbs of rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, 5 tbs of sugar and 1.5 tsp of salt.
  2. Because this is a simple sushi recipe, tasty cooked rice is vital. Draining the washed rice until the grains at the surface becomes dry makes a big difference in its taste. Don’t forget the steaming process as well. Please refer to my recipe for how to cook perfect rice.
  3. If you have time, grill or bake the smoked mackerel beforehand. This process makes the fish taste nicer.
  4. You can find how to toast sesame seeds here in the preparation section 3. Use plenty for this recipe.

Topic: What is chirashi sushi

Chirashi sushi is a style of sushi with several kinds of ingredients scattered on, or mixed in sushi rice, hence the name ‘chirashi’ (scattered in Japanese).

Although chirashi sushi is much easier to make than Nigiri or sushi rolls, it looks colourful and beautiful as it use variety of ingredients. Therefore, chirashi sushi is often served on a celebration day at home, most notably ‘Girls’ day’ or ‘Hinamatsuri’ on the 3rd March when we celebrate and pray for the health and happiness of girls.

In Japan, chirashi sushi is a popular dish for home cooking, so there are many kinds of ready-made base mixture products on sale. They typically consist of cooked and seasoned lotus root, carrot, kampyo (dried gourd strips), bamboo shoot, and shiitake mushroom in sushi vinegar.

Chirashi sushi is said to have been developed during the Edo era in Okayama prefecture. After horrific floods and a resulting food shortage, Mitsumasa Ikeda, the feudal lord of Okayama, issued rules restricting his people to only one soup and one side dish with rice for each meal. So people invented this way of eating lots of nice things by placing them at the bottom of a sushi tub and covering them with sushi rice. When it was safe to eat, they put them upside down and feasted. Ingenious! Their sushi is called Bara sushi which is now one of their local delicacies in Okayama prefecture.

Reference: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%81%A1%E3%82%89%E3%81%97%E5%AF%BF%E5%8F%B8 (Japanese)

Grilled Plaice with Spring Onion and Ginger Sauce

Plaice has a soft, mild taste flesh and is quick to cook. No wonder it’s one of the most popular and widely available fish in the UK. You can find plaice as a whole fish, or filleted pieces in the shop. Plaice fillets don’t have bones nor skins, so you can start cooking straightaway without any preparation. You also can find plaice fillets in the frozen food section.

Plaice is often used for fish and chips here, but I oven-baked fillets and served with ginger flavoured soy sauce and lots of spring onion on top. It’s simple and easy recipe but the result is fantastic. Plaice is much more succulent and softer when oven-baked than grilled. Serve with a bowl of rice or rice wine to enjoy its Japanese flavour.

You can use any kind of fish fillet, such as red snapper, sea bass, salmon or mackerel, instead of plaice.

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Key: Baking time can vary depending on the oven used. Check time to time to prevent overcooking the fish. If you use a different kind of fish, adjust baking time depending on the thickness of the fillet. Fish cooks fast and dries out by overcooking. Use ‘200°C for 15 minutes’ as a guideline. They become fully opaque and feel firmer when they’re done.

Topic: Not only for Fridays!

NHS in the UK recommend eating fish twice a week, as they are high in protein and low in saturated fat. What’s more, oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acid, which is good for your brain and heart.

A study in 2014 in the US found a link between fish consumption and volumes of brain parts which deal with memory and cognition. It also revealed that people who eat fish regularly are more likely to have a higher education.

In the UK and other Christian countries, fish is traditionally eaten on Fridays. So, it’s good idea to add one more fish day in your weekly diet. Unfortunately, fish and chips are not as effective as baked or boiled fish, because, not only is it much higher in calories, fatty acids are destroyed by the high heat of frying.

In contrast, in Japan, a survey conducted in October in 2017 found that 58.8% of Japanese adults eat fish more than twice a week. The survey also revealed that 65.1% of the people who eat fish more than twice a week consider themselves as healthy, compared to 50.2% of the people who eat fish less than once a week.

Here, I declare, “Fish is not only for Friday!” If you want to know more fish recipes, click the ‘Seafood’ tag on the right column of the page. Why not try my TERIYAKI SALMON RECIPE? If you are not used to cooking fish, you can start with THIS RECIPE which uses a tin of mackerel.

References:

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/fish-shellfish.aspx

http://www.upmc.com/media/NewsReleases/2014/Pages/pitt-study-fish-boots-brain-health.aspx

https://www.maruha-nichiro.co.jp/corporate/news_center/research/pdf/20171003_totonohi_cyousa.pdf (Japanese)

 

Butter and Soy Sauce Flavoured Cod

Cod is unarguably everyone’s favourite fish, because of its delicate taste and soft texture. It’s also adaptable to varieties of cooking methods and flavourings.

We all know fish dishes are good for us, though ways of cook them tends to become monotonous. This recipe uses a sauce made from butter and soy sauce, which gives an interesting Japanese-ish twist to crispy pan-fried cod. I serve with sautéed leek, which adds sweetness to the dish.

The flavour of the soy sauce, the richness of butter, and the sweetness of the leek make the difference to ordinary pan-fried cod.

You could also try my other Japanese influenced flavour, miso and butter sauce for fish recipe here. This sauce is also fantastic with cod.

 

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Key

Adjust cooking time for cod depending on the thickness of the fillet. For instance, if your fillet is thinner than the cod in the picture, reduce the cooking time.

If your fillets don’t brown, quickly pan-fry them over a high heat until browned at the end of cooking.

Serve the cod with rice or mashed potato as a main. It’s also nice on salad leaves to serve as a starter.

 

Topic 1: Butter and Soy Sauce Flavour

Butter and soy sauce flavour is one of the most popular flavourings in Japan. We even have butter and say sauce flavoured snacks, including crisps and popcorn. Everyone loves the charred aroma of the soy sauce and rich butter taste.

Butter and soy sauce are great with light and delicate ingredients, such as white fish and chicken breast, as they accentuate their tastes. Adding soy sauce to butter sautéed vegetables is equally tasty.

 

Topic 2: Cod

Cod is an excellent source of protein and, as it’s much lower in calories and saturated fat, a healthier substitution for meat. It’s also rich in health beneficial properties, such as omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

Unfortunately, cod is currently classified as ‘at risk’ due to overfishing in the UK, Canada and most other Atlantic countries. You can use haddock, hake, coley, or pollock instead of cod.

In Japan, cod is called tara and its Kanji character is ‘鱈‘. It’s a Japanese-made Kanji, and the left side signifies fish, and the right side signifies snow. The character was created because of its snow-white meat. Cod is said to taste nicer during winter because they keep more fat against coldness. Salted cod roe is called tarako, literally meaning ‘cod’s children’, and is one of the most widely available side dishes in Japan. Shirako, meaning ‘white children’, is milt of male cod and prized as a seasonal delicacy by many Japanese. I must warn you that shirako is not for everyone, but only for those people who are adventurous enough with food.

 

References

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cod/

https://www.sustainweb.org/sustainablefishcity/top_ten_swaps/#cod

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=133

 

Prawns Stir-fry with Wasabi Flavoured Buttery Soy Sauce

This recipe is quick and easy to cook, yet really tasty. A great starter to impress your guest!

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: for two

150g King Prawns (raw)

2 tbs Plain Flour

30g Butter

30g Spring Onion (sliced diagonally)

2 tsp Soy Sauce

½ tsp Wasabi Paste

1 tbs Water

Method

  1. Place the prawns in a bowl and sprinkle the plain flour. Coat the prawns with the plain flour evenly.DSC_8887
  2. Heat the butter in a frying-pan. When the butter has melted, fly the prawns over a medium strong heat on both side until they are cooked.DSC_8891
  3. Mix the soy sauce, wasabi paste, and water, then add to the frying-pan. Coat the prawns with the sauce. Add the sliced spring onion and mix. Serve immediately.DSC_8892

Key

  • Mix the soy sauce, wasabi paste, and water well until the wasabi is completely dissolved.  DSC_8894

Prawns with Wasabi Flavoured Buttery Soy Sauce

This recipe is quick and easy to cook, yet really tasty. A great starter to impress your guest!

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: for two

150g King Prawns (raw)

2 tbs Plain Flour

30g Butter

30g Spring Onion (sliced diagonally)

2 tsp Soy Sauce

½ tsp Wasabi Paste

1 tbs Water

Method

  1. Place the prawns in a bowl and sprinkle the plain flour. Coat the prawns with the plain flour evenly.DSC_8887
  2. Heat the butter in a frying-pan. When the butter has melted, fly the prawns over a medium strong heat on both side until they are cooked.DSC_8891
  3. Mix the soy sauce, wasabi paste, and water, then add to the frying-pan. Coat the prawns with the sauce. Add the sliced spring onion and mix. Serve immediately.DSC_8892

Key

  • Mix the soy sauce, wasabi paste, and water well until the wasabi is completely dissolved.  DSC_8894

Easy Peasy Mackerel Rice Bowl

It’s a super simple, easy recipe that requires no time. If you have a bowl of cooked rice handy, the only thing you need is to quickly stir-fry all the ingredients and put on the rice!

The sliced spring onion is called Shiraga-negi, literally meaning grey-haired onion, which is a popular garnish for Japanese dishes.

With a lot of watercress and a hint of ginger, it’s refreshing as well as really good for you.

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to have some omega 3 rich, fatty fish!

鯖丼1

Ingredients for 2

2 portions of Cooked Rice

2 Tins of Mackerel in Brine (approx. 160g when drained)

2 tbs Sesame Oil

2 slices of Ginger (chopped)

100g Watercress (roughly chopped)

I or 2 Spring Onions or Salad Onions

For cooking sauce (mix well beforehand)

1 tbs Sugar

2 tbs Soy Sauce

2 tbs Rice Wine (or dry white wine)

Method

  1. Cut the spring onions into about 4cm long pieces, and then thinly slice them lengthways. Place the sliced spring onions in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to crisp them up and get rid of any sharpness. Place them on kitchen paper to dry.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan. Add the tin of mackerel (drained) and chopped ginger, and then stir fry. Once they are coated with sesame oil, add roughly chopped watercress and stir-fry it further.
  3. Add the pre-mixed cooking sauce. Once the ingredients are coated with the sauce, place on the rice. Arrange sliced spring onion on top. Serve immediately.

Key

  • Don’t stir-fry for too long. All the ingredients are already cooked or don’t require cooking. You just need to combine the ingredients in the frying-pan and heat up.
  • If you want to know how to cook perfect Japanese rice using a rice cooker, click the URL below and  have a look my previous post.

https://yukariseasyjapanesecooking.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/how-to-cook-perfect-japanese-rice-using-a-rice-cooker/

Salmon with Rich Miso & Butter Sauce

Miso is fermented soy bean paste, which is delicious as well as packed with beneficial bacteria. Most of us start our days with a bowl of miso soup in Japan.

It’s also a great seasoning for Japanese dishes, especially with salmon. Imagine crispy grilled salmon with rich miso and butter flavoured sauce… I could eat a bowl of rice just imagining it!    

I served the salmon with stir-fried crispy bean sprouts and green peppers, seasoned with just salt and pepper. The colour combination made me want to eat more and I ate too much…AGAIN!

 salmon sub

Ingredients for 4

4 Salmon fillets (approx. 130g per fillet)

3 tbs Butter

 [Ingredients for miso and butter sauce]

  • 2 tbs Honey
  • 1 tbs (or less) Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbs (or less) Rice Wine
  • 1 tbs Miso

Chive (optional for garnish)

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce well.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying-pan. Once it starts melting, place the salmon skin side down over a lower high heat.
  3. When the edge of the salmon has turned white and its skin has browned, turn over and continue to fry until cooked.
  4. Pour the sauce mixture over the salmon and toss well to mix.
  5. Arrange on a serving plate and then spoon the remaining sauce from the frying-pan over the salmon. Garnish with chives if desired.

Key

  • The sauce is quite rich and strong, so use less seasoning for accompanying vegetables.