Healthy eating certainly doesn’t have to mean bland food, especially not in summer time! Luckily, the fresh flavours of Japanese food lend themselves to light summer meals, and the flavours of seaweed, pickled courgette and avocado are robust enough to stand up to any barbecue – while Japanese coleslaw makes a delicious and slightly punchier alternative to the usual!
What’s more, avocado is brimming with healthy fat, your stomach will thank you for the pickled courgette and seaweed is filled with nutritious goodness for shiny hair and strong nails. Try turning up to your next summer foodie event with one of these, and wait for the compliments to roll in!
Pickled Courgette and Samphire with Chilli and Ginger
1 teaspoon salt
40g ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
80g pickled ginger, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
For the pickling liquid
350ml rice vinegar
1 teaspoon instant dashi powder 2 teaspoons kombu sprinkles 11⁄2 tablespoons sugar
Mix all the ingredients for the pickling liquid with 100ml water in a small saucepan and then bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Turn o the heat and let the liquid cool.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the samphire for 1 minute, then drain under cold running water until cooled.
Cut each courgette into 4 chunks rst, then cut each chunk into 2 vertically. Slice each chunk into 2mm thick pieces so they are fat strips. Put the sliced courgettes into a colander, sprinkle over the salt and gently rub the salt into the courgettes. Lightly rinse under cold running water and drain.
Mix the courgettes, samphire, ginger and chilli in a bowl and then pour in the pickling liquid. Stir well, put a similar sized bowl on top and place a heavy jar or tin inside to weigh it down. Keep the whole assembly in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Just before serving, drain about 70 per cent of the pickling liquid (you may reserve the pickling liquid and use it for other vegetables) and quickly mix the pickled ginger and toasted sesame seeds with the vegetables.
Note: is dish is best consumed immediately as the samphire will discolour if you leave it too long beyond the 3 hours above.
Dulse Seaweed and Avocado Salad with Ume Dressing
Dulse is a new seaweed for me as we don’t see much of it in Japan. It has a sea-rich flavour and stunning deep purple hue. In this recipe, I’ve combined it with rich and creamy avocado and tangy umeboshi (salt preserved plums), which balances nicely. It’s a beautiful dish to taste and look at!
50g dried dulse seaweed 100g sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
For the ume dressing
2–3 tablespoons umeboshi (salt preserved plum) purée
4 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons clear honey
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
Soak the dulse in a bowl of cold water for 10–15 minutes and then drain and squeeze out the excess water.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch the sugar snap peas for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold running water until the sugar snap peas become completely cool. Cut lengthways in half.
Slice the onion in half and then slice very thinly along the bre. Place the slices in a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt, then rub vigorously into the onion until it becomes very so and wet. Rinse very well in water to remove the salt, then squeeze out excess water.
Mix all the ingredients for the ume dressing in a large bowl until sticky and shiny.
Add the dulse and sugar snap peas to the dressing and mix well, making sure to evenly distribute the dulse. Slice the avocados in half, remove the stone and peel. Cut the esh into segments and add to the bowl along with the onion and sesame seeds, and gently toss, taking care that the avocados don’t lose their shape. Dish up the whole salad and serve.
Surprisingly delicious! So easy and so different to an ordinary coleslaw. The sesame oil and the rice vinegar make this coleslaw very oriental.
200g Chinese cabbage
2 tsp salt
150g daikon radish
2-3 tsp black sesame seeds
½ cup Japanese mayonnaise
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sake
1 tsp Japanese mustard (not wasabi) or 2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp sesame oil
3 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp white pepper
1. Finely slice the cabbage and put in a large bowl. Cut the carrot and daikon into very thin matchsticks. Or use the food processor with the right blade to make thin sticks.
2. Place the daikon and whit part of cabbage in a colander, sprinkle with salt and roughly mix them with a hand, then allow to sit for 5-7 minutes. Rinse with cold water and squeeze out any excess moisture with your hands. Pat them dry with the kitchen paper.
3. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a mixing bowl and mix until it has all combined and smooth texture. Season to taste with salt & white pepper.
4. Add the daikon, cabbage and carrot in a bowl and mix. Toss the mixture with the black sesame seeds and dressing just before serving.
* This is a perfect side dish for grilled fish or meat