Washoku: get to know the healthy Japanese food trend (and how to cook it yourself)
Washoku is the Japanese food trend you probably haven’t heard of yet, but trust us when we say it’ll be your new go-to. All about fresh, seasonal ingredients, pickled vegetables and grilled seafood, we spoke to top chef Valentine Warner about how to bring this Japanese cuisine to your own kitchen. Get to know Washoku below, then try your hand at three of Warner’s delicious recipes.
So what is Washoku?
It translates as ‘Japanese cuisine’. These recipes take inspiration from the art of Japanese Washoku cooking but have been specially designed to make sure that they’re convenient and not overly complicated.
When did Washoku get so popular?
In 2014 Washoku became the second cuisine, after French, to be given heritage status. Since then, Washoku-inspired restaurants have popped up all over the UK.
What are some key Washoku dishes?
Much like the recipes I created, Japanese food is all about seasonal ingredients; fish, vegetables (often pickled) and meat dishes are side dishes to rice and soya, with seafood and vegetables also deep-fried in a light batter, or grilled over charcoal.
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How can I make it for myself?
Choose from the three Washoku recipes below, or make them all!
Crab Chawan Mushi (Serves 4)
4 Dried Shitake Mushrooms, soaked
4 Medium Eggs
350ml Waitrose Dashi Stock or Powdered Fish Dashi
2 tsp Cooking Sake
2 tsp Fresh Japanese Soya Sauce
150g White Crab Meat
2 Spring Onions, trimmed and finely sliced into rounds
(Optional) Furikake Japanese Sesame, Sugar and Seaweed Seasoning or Toasted Sesame
Please Note: Japanese soya sauce tastes very different to Chinese and it’s important that you use the right variant in this dish
How to make…
1. Turn your Panasonic Steam Combination Microwave (or any steamer) onto full steam.
2. Very gently beat the eggs avoiding frothing as this will lead to unwanted air bubbles in the Chawan Mushi. Slowly pour in the stock. Stir in the sake and soya sauce.
3. Press the white crab meat in some kitchen roll to rid it of any excess wetness. Divide up the crab meat in the bottom of the four ramekins. Pour over the egg and dashi mix.
4. Press the four soaked shitake mushrooms in kitchen roll. Quarter the mushrooms and place on top of the Chawan Mushi mix.
5. Cover each ramekin with cling film and pierce several holes in the top. Steam for approximately 15 minutes or until set with a faint wobble – test by gently prodding with a chopstick. Remove cling film and set ramekins on four plates with a teaspoon to serve.
6. Scatter over finely chopped spring onions followed by ½ tsp. sprinkling of sesame and seaweed seasoning (or toasted sesame seeds).
Sugar Snap Peas With Sesame Sauce (Serves 4)
100g Sesame Seeds
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Japanese Soy Sauce
Just under 1 tbsp Honey (runny)
70 ml Dashi Stock (available from Waitrose) or Vegetable Stock
2 tsp Dark Miso Paste (good quality)
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 half thumb Ginger
400g Sugar Snap Peas
Zest of ½ Orange
How to make…
1. Toast the sesame seeds over a low medium stirring constantly for approximately 7 minutes or until light hazelnut brown. Take care not to burn them as they will become bitter.
2. Pour the toasted sesame seeds into the Panasonic High Performance Blender. Switch to ‘M’ setting, turn up to high power and blitz until very fine. Add the sesame oil, soya sauce, honey, dashi stock and miso paste and blitz thoroughly until completely smooth. Stir in very finely grated ginger.
3. Spoon out into a bowl and stir in the mayonnaise.
4. Dry fry sugar snaps in a very hot pan for 4 minutes or until very charred, scattering them with a generous pinch of flaked sea salt.
5. Spoon the sauce onto 2-4 plates. Add the peas on top and grate over a little orange rind to taste.
Melon and Citrus Snow (Serves 6)
1.4 kg approx. Ripe Galia Melons (2 Melons)
50 ml Yuzu Juice (Available in Waitrose)
Juice of 1 Large Lime
How to make…
1. Cut all the peel from the melons. Cut the melons in half, spoon out the seeds and chop the flesh into chunks.
2. Using the Panasonic Slow Juicer, juice and then pour the melon water into a freezer proof container. Stir in the remaining ingredients and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves. Place in the freezer with a lid on.
3. After 2 hours, distress the semi frozen liquid with a fork. Return to this every 1-2 hours – doing so around 4 times in total.
4. Fluff once more before serving. Spoon into glasses and eat immediately.
Experience Fresh eating with this delicious range of recipes created by Valentine Warner in conjunction with Panasonic’s innovative Small Kitchen Appliance range, available now at major retailers nationwide