Japanese food such as sushi, sashimi, yakitori, tempura etc are the 'hip' meals now adays.. It has lots of varieties, and fun to make. Practical and easy to pack for lunch or outing or even party. I know that sometimes it's not easy to put it together into the right shape and taste, but don't worry.. you can get some help to create your personilize dishes.
Well.. these are some recipes that I've been trying for my family meals and specially for my daughter's lunch pack and also for bbq gathering.
So, I hope it's worth trying it and starting to love this easy, healthy and fun meals.......

Thursday, February 14, 2008


1. Take one piece of nori seaweed in one hand and add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegared rice (sumeshi). Spread the rice over one half of the nori.
2. Arrange your choice of fillings diagonally over the rice from the centre to the outer corner.
3. Take the bottom right-hand corner and curl it towards the middle to form a cone.
4. Keep rolling the cone until complete. To glue the cone closed (optional), put a few grains of rice on the edge of the nori, and press together.
5. When the cone is complete, add your choice of a few drops of soy sauce, a few pieces of pickled ginger and a dab of wasabi paste.


Makes enough for 10 pieces rolled sushi

Freshly grated wasabi root, available in Japan, is divine. However, ready made wasabi pastes are now so good that many restaurants, even in Japan, use them rather than laboring to grate fresh ones. Pastes are sold in tubes, and powder in cans. Tubes are handy to use but freshly made paste from powder has more kick and better flavor.


Serve 2

A bowl of sushi with sashimi on top is a favorite in Tokyo. You can use just one ingredient like tuna, or the assorted sashimi normally used in restaurants including tuna, prawn, eel, sea bass, shellfish, herring roe, salmon roe – almost any good material from the market on the day. My selection is good for serving at home.

½ quantity vinegared rice

Sashimi (your choice of):
2 uncooked tiger prawns, peeled but with tail fins intact
1 octopus tentacle
125 g fresh tuna and/or salmon
1 turbot fillet, about 75 g
1 small squid, cleaned and skinned
2 large dried shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon mirin (rice wine)

To serve:
4 cm cucumber
Pink pickled ginger
Wasabi paste
Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)

1. Make the vinegared rice (sumeshi).
2. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the prawns and poach for 1-2 minutes until just pink.Remove with a slotted spoon, cool under running water, then pat dry with kitchen paper.
return the pan of water to the boil, add the octopus tentacle and cook for 7-8 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and slice diagonally into thin discs.
3. Cut the fish into 4 slices each.
4. Put the squid, skin side up, on a cutting board and make very fine slits two-thirds of the way through the thickness, first lengthways, then crossways.Put in a bowl, pour over boiling water and drain. As the squid curls up, the slits open to form a flower. Immediately plunge into cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and cut into 4 bites size pieces.
5. Soak the shiitake in warm water for 30 minutes and drain, retaining the soaking liquid. Cut off the stems and put in a saucepan with the sugar, mirin and a pinch of salt. Cover with some of the soaking liquid, stir, then bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes until most of the liquid disappears. Let cool in the liquid.
6. Cut 2 green slices off the cucumber, 5 cm wide. Make fine slits lengthways, leaving 1 cm intact on one side. Open up the slits to make 2 cucumber fans.
7. Divide rice between 2 bowls and arrange the seafood over the rice and top with a cucumber fan and a pile of pink pickled ginger. Serve on small individual plates with a tiny heap of wasabi, and a little jug of soy sauce.


Makes 8 rolls

A perfect sushi for parties. Serve the rice, nori sheets and prepared ingredients on plates and let people roll their own. Choose ingredients with varied tastes and colors. This is a delicious variation of the hand roll using smoked salmon instead of crabsticks.

½ quantity vinegared rice

4 sheets nori seaweed or 8 salad leaves
Pickled ginger, to serve

Hand roll fillings:
125 g smoked salmon
4 spring onions
6 cm pickled daikon (takuan)
1 avocado
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Make the vinegared rice (sumeshi).
2. Cut the smoked salmon lengthways into 5 mm wide strips.
3. Finely slice the spring onions lengthways into 8-10 cm strips. Slice the pickled daikon thinly.
4. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and peel carefully. Thinly slice the flesh and brush with lemon juice.
5. Toast the nori sheets by quickly passing over a low flame to make them crisp and bring out the flavor. Cut each sheet in half crossways.
6. Put the rice in a serving bowl and arrange salmon, spring onion and avocado on a platter. Serve them on the table with the nori and pickled ginger in small separate plates.
7. To assemble, follow the step-by-step directions of how to make a hand roll.


Makes 1 battera (16 pieces)

Battera, a speciality from Osaka, is one of the most popular sushi in Japan. It is made in a container or moulded into a log with a sushi mat and cut into small pieces. In restaurants and shops, it often comes wrapped up with a transparent sheet of kombu (dried kelp).

1 medium fresh mackerel, about 400 g, filleted
3-4 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
½ quantity vinegared rice

Hand vinegar:
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
125 ml water

To serve:
Pickled ginger
Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)

A wooden mould or rectangular plastic container, 18x12x5 cm

1. Start the preparation for this dish a few hours before cooking the rice. Take a dish larger than the fish fillets and cover with a thick layer of salt. Put the mackerel fillets, flesh side down, on top of the salt and cover completely with more salt. Set aside for 3-4 hours. Remove mackerel and rub off the salt with damp kitchen paper. Carefully remove all the bones with tweezers, then put into a dish and pour the rice vinegar over the fillets. Leaves to marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Make the vinegared rice (sumeshi). Mix the hand vinegar ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Using your fingers, carefully remove the transparent skin from each fillet, starting at the tail end. Put the fillets, skin side down, on a cutting board and slice off the highest part from the centre of the flesh so the fillets will be fairly flat. Keep the trimmings.
4. Line a wet wooden mould or rectangular container with a large piece of cling film.
5. Put a fillet, skin side down, in the mould or container. Fill the gaps with the other fillet and trimmings. Dip your fingers in the hand vinegar, then press the cooked rice down firmly on top of the fish. Put the wet wooden lid on top, or fold in the cling film and put a piece of cardboard and a weight on top.
6. You can leave it in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for a few hours. When ready to serve, remove from the container and unwrap any cling film. Take a very sharp knife and wipe it with a vinegar-soaked cloth or piece of kitchen paper. Cut the block of sushi in 4 lengthways, then in 4 crossways, making 16 pieces in all.
7. Arrange on a plate, and serve with pickled ginger and a little soy sauce in small individual dishes.


Makes 1 omelette

This is the basic method for cooking Japanese omelette. It is a regular breakfast item as well as being used for sushi.

4 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
1-2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 Japanese omelette pan or 20 cm non-stick frying pan
Hashi (chopstick) or fork

1. Using a fork, beat the eggs and egg yolk and strain through a sieve into a bowl. Add the sugar, soy sauce and pinch of salt and stir well until the sugar has dissolved. Do not whisk or make bubbles.
2. Heat a Japanese omelette pan or frying pan over moderate heat and add a little oil. Spread evenly over the base by tilting the pan, then wipe off excess oil with kitchen paper, at the same time making sure the surface is absolutely smooth. Keep the oiled paper on the plate.
3. Lower the heat and pour one-third of the egg mixture evenly over the base by tilting the pan. If large air bubbles pop up immediately, the pan may be too hot – then remove the pan from the heat and put it back on when the egg starts to set.
4. Prick any air bubbles with a fork and when the egg is about to set, using chopsticks or a fork, roll the egg layer 2-3 times from one side to the other. Oil the empty base of the pan with the oiled paper and push the rolled egg back to the other side.
5. Again using the oiled paper, brush the base of the pan, then pour half the remaining egg mixture evenly over the base by tilting the pan and lifting the egg roll so the egg mixture flows underneath.
6. When the egg starts to set, roll again, using the first roll as the core. Repeat this oiling and rolling using up the remaining egg mixture. Remove from the pan and let cool before cutting.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Make the vinegared rice (sumeshi), prepare and assemble the ingredients, then dip your hands in the bowl of hand vinegar.

1.Put a sushi rolling mat (makisu) on your work surface, then put half a sheet of toasted nori seaweed on top. Take a handful of the rice (2-3 heaped tablespoons) in your hands and make into a log shape. Put the rice in the centre of the nori.
2. Using your fingers, spread it evenly all over, leaving about 1.5cm margin on the far side. (The rice will stick to your hands, so dip them in the hand vinegar first.)
3. Take a small dot of wasabi paste on the end of your fingeer and draw a line down the middle across the rice, leaving a light green shadow on top of the rice (not too much – wasabi is very hot).
4. Arrange 1 strip of cucumber across the rice, on top of the wasabi.
5. Pick up the mat from the near side and keep the cucumber in the centre.
6. Roll the mat over to meet the other side so that the rice stays inside the nori.
7. Lift the top edge of the mat. Press and roll the cylinder slightly. The join should be underneath so it will stick well (it sticks together because of the moisture in the rice.) Remove the cylinder from the mat and put, join side down, in a covered flat container while you make the remaining rolls.
8. Cut each roll in half, then each half into 3, making 6 pieces. Arrange on a serving plate and serve with pickled ginger, a little pile of wasabi paste and a dish of Japanese soy sauce.


Makes 1 litre

Sushi is a general term for all food with ‘sumeshi’or vinegared rice. Remember – sushi should never be put in the fridge (it will go hard). The vinegar will help preserve it for a few days if kept, wrapped, in a cool place, such as a shady window sill. To make sushi rice, boil 15 percent more water than rice. So use 1 cup rice to 1 cup plus just over 1 tablespoon water.


400 ml Japanese rice
1 piece of dried kelp (kombu), 5 cm square, for flavoring (optional)
3 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt

How to make it:

1. Put the rice in a large bowl and wash it thoroughly, changing the water several times, until the water is clear. Drain and leave in the strainer for 1 hour. If short of time, soak the rice in clear cold water for 10-15 minutes, then drain.
2. Transfer to a deep, heavy-based saucepan, add 460 ml water and a piece of dried kelp (kombu), if using. Cover and bring to the boil over a high heat, about 5 minutes. Discard the kelp.
3. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Do not lift the lid. Remove from the heat and leave, still covered, for about 10-15 minutes.
4. Mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small jug or bowl and stir until dissolved.
5. Transfer the cooked rice to a large, shallow dish or handai (Japanese wooden sumeshi tub). Sprinkle generously with the vinegar dressing.
6. Using a wooden spatula, fold the vinegar dressing into the rice. Do not stir. While folding, cool the rice quickly using a fan. Let the rice cool to body temperature before using to make sushi.


Makes 36 pieces

Other ingredients traditionally used for rolled sushi in Japan include kanpyo (dried gourd ribbons), tuna with spring onion, natto (steamed fermented soy beans), chili-marinated cod’s roe and salted plum (umeboshi) with shiso herb. You can also make variations using ingredients more readily available in the west.


¾ quantity vinegared rice
3 sheets nori seaweed
A sushi rolling mat (makisu)

Hand vinegar:
4 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
250 ml water

100 g fresh salmon, skinned
6 cm pickle daikon (takuan), cut lengthways into 1 cm square sticks
4-6 fresh shiso leaves or 6-8 basil leaves
2 small red salted plum (umeboshi), pitted and torn in pieces
Wasabi paste

To serve:
Pickled ginger
Extra wasabi paste
Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)


1. Make the vinegared rice (sumeshi). Mix the hand vinegar ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Cut the piece of salmon into 1 cm square sticks. To make a salmon sushi, follow the method on the previous page, using a row of salmon strips instead of cucumber. (enough to make 2 rolls).
3. To make a pickled daikon sushi, put 3 strips of pickled daikon (takuan) in a row, and omitting the wasabi paste. (enough to make 2 rolls) and follow the steps how to make a sushi roll.
4. To make the pickled plum sushi, use the shiso or basil leaves and the pieces of plum (enough to make 2 rolls) and follow the steps how to make a sushi roll.
5. Cut each roll into 6 pieces, then arrange on a plate and serve with pickled ginger, a mound of wasabi paste and a dish of soy sauce.

You can also leave the salmon fillet whole, then lightly grill it for about 2 minutes on each side. Cool, put in a bowl, flake with a fork, then stir in 2 finely chopped spring onions. Mix in 2 teaspoons mayonnaise, salt and pepper, then proceed as in the main recipe.


Makes 12

Battleship rolls can be made with lettuce leaves instead of nori. Use a lettuce with flexible leaves, such as butter lettuce or lollo rosso as ribbons and iceberg as cups.


½ quantity vinegared rice
4 small lollo rosso leaves
4 butter lettuce leaves
4 small iceberg lettuce leaves
Japanese soy sauce (shoyu) to serve

Hand vinegar:
4 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
250 ml water

75 g smoked haddock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
75 g smoked salmon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4-6 tablespoons black lumpfish caviar
1 tablespoon caperberries or capers, drained


1. Make the vinegared rice (sumeshi) following the last recipe. Mix the hand vinegar ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
2. Put the haddock and bay leaf in a saucepan, cover with boiling water, return to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes or until cooked. Drain well. Remove and discard the skin and all the small bones. Put in a bowl and flake finely with a fork. Stir in the sugar and let cool.
3. Sprinkle the smoked salmon with lemon juice.
4. Cut a 3 cm wide strip crossways from the top of the lollo rosso and butter lettuce leaves. Make a small cup, 7 cm diameter, from the inner iceberg leaves.
5. Make 12 rectangular mounds of rice. Instead of wrapping in nori, wrap 4 in lollo rosso leaves, 4 in butter lettuce and 4 in iceberg lettuce cups. Put 1-1 ½ tablespoons caviar in the iceberg cups. Top the haddock with a little caviar, the salmon with caperberry or caper and the caviar with a few flakes of haddock.
6. Arrange on a platter or small plates and serve with a small dish of soy sauce.


Makes 3 rolls (24 pieces)

Thick nori rolls normally contain 5 ingredients with contrasting colours, all wrapped up in a whole sheet of nori. A little difficult to eat, but a beautiful party dish.


1 quantity vinegared rice
3 sheets nori seaweed
1 sushi rolling mat

Hand vinegar:
4 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
250 ml water

9-12 uncooked king prawn tails, unpeeled
4 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
250 g spinach
3 ½ tablespoons Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
20 g dried gourd (kanpyo) or 1 carrot, cut into 5 mm square shreds
5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon mirin or sweet sherry

To serve:
Pickled ginger
Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)


1. Make the vinegared rice. Mix the hand vinegar ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Skewer a cocktail stick through each prawn from head to tail to prevent curling while cooking. Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes until firm and pink. Immediately plunge into cold water and drain. Remove and discard the cocktail sticks, shells and dark back vein.
3. Using the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and a pinch of salt, make an omelette . Let cool, then cut lengthways into 1 cm square sticks.
4. Blanch the spinach in lightly salted water for 1 minute. Plunge into cold water. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons soy sauce and set aside.
If using kanpyo, rub it with salt and a little water, then soak in water for 10 minutes and drain. Cut into 20 cm lengths. 5. Soak the shiitake in warm water for 30 minutes, then drain, retaining the soaking water. Cut the shiitake into 5 cm strips. Put 250 ml of the soaking liquid in a small saucepan with 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the mirin or sherry. Bring to the boil. Add the kanpyo or carrot shreds and shiitake strips. Simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. Let cool in the liquid and set aside.
6. Toast the nori and put, crossways, one whole sheet at a time, on a sushi rolling mat, follow the method how to roll sushi. Dip your hands in the hand vinegar. Take one sixth of the rice and squeeze it between your hands into a firm ball. Put the rice ball on one side of the nori sheet in the centre and, using wet fingers, spread evenly over the half side of nori, leaving about 3 cm margin on the far side. Repeat this once more to fill the other half. The rice layer should be fairly thick – add extra rice if necessary.
7. Arrange 3-4 prawns in a row across the rice about 5 cm from the front edge. Add a row of omelette strips and a row of spinach on top of the prawns. Add a row of kanpyo or carrot and a row of shiitake on top, so that all 5 ingredients are piled in the centre of the rice,like logs of timber. Each roll should use one-third of each ingredient.
8. Pick up the mat from the near side and, keeping all the ingredients in the centre, roll the mat as you follow the steps how to make a sushi roll. Remove the mat and put the roll on a plate, join side down. Repeat to make 2 more rolls.
9. Cut each roll into 8 and serve with little dishes of soy sauce and pickled ginger.


Makes 20 pieces ( 4 rolls)

Uramaki is an inside-out roll, with nori inside and rice outside. This prawn tempura version is popular in restaurants – the nori prevents the vinegar in the rice and the oil in the tempura from touching each other. The unlikely combination of two opposing tastes makes a surprisingly delicious match.

¾ quantity vinegared rice
2 sheets
nori seaweed
Pickled ginger, to serve
8 cocktail sticks or bamboo skewers
A sushi rolling mat (makisu) covered with clingfilm

Hand vinegar:
2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
125 ml water

Tempura prawns:
8 large uncooked tiger prawn tails, 4 peeled completely, 4 left with tail fins intact, deveined
100 g plain flour, sifted
4 tablespoons sesame seeds, black or white
Sunflower oil, for frying


1. Make the
vinegared rice (sumeshi) and divided into 4. Mix the hand vinegar ingredients in a small bowl. Skewer a cocktail stick through each prawn from top to tail to prevent curling while cooking.
2. Cover one side of a sushi rolling mat (makisu) with clingfilm and put it on a dry cutting board, clingfilm side up.
3. Fill a wok or deep saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to 170C (340F) or until a cube of bread browns in about 60 seconds. To make the tempura batter, put 100 ml water in a bowl, sift the flour into the water and mix with a fork. One by one, dip the prawns in the batter, then fry in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and carefully remove and discard the cocktail sticks.
4. Put a nori on a completely dry cutting board. Dip your hands in the hand vinegar. Take a handful of the rice (2-3 heaped tablespoons) in your hands and make into a log shape. Put the rice in the centre of the nori. Using your fingers, spread it evenly all over, right to the edges. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sesame seeds all over the rice.
5. Turn the whole thing over onto the clingfilm-covered mat.
6. Arrange 2 tempura prawns down the centre of the nori, with the tails sticking out at the ends (you can remove the tail fins if preffered).
7. Roll the mat. Remove from the mat and repeat to make 3 more rolls, using black or white sesame seeds.
8. Cut each roll into 5 pieces and arrange on a platter. Serve with pickled ginger and a little soy sauce in a small dish beside the platter or in small individual plates.