We caught up with Panasonic brand ambassador Valentine Warner to discuss Japanese cuisine and how to cook it at home
If you haven’t heard of the term washoku before, you soon will. It simply means ‘food of Japan’ and covers all traditional Japanese cuisine from sushi to yakitori. With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, the cooking style boasts a range of health benefits, promotes healthy eating and uses numerous superfoods as key ingredients. Thankfully, washoku has sailed west and is now trending in the UK with Japanese eateries popping up more frequently in our big cities, especially London. Hooray!
TV chef Valentine Warner, a Japanese foodie who spent his early years in the country, tells us what it is he most enjoys about the national cuisine. “I love its great attention to detail but I also love its simplicity,” he muses. “I like its close dance with the seasons, too. It also puts a lot of fish on the table, something I am always keen on.
“Fundamentally it’s simple, very tasty and involves lots of wonderful flavours. It’s very clean food and if I had to eat one cuisine for the rest of my life, it would probably be Japanese.”
The art of cooking fresh, restaurant-worthy meals in your own home is not as difficult as it first sounds. With a range of ingredients readily available,Valentine explains how simple it is to adopt the cooking trend into family life.
“Japanese dishes are relatively easy to prepare and share a huge amount of core ingredients with more traditional British meals. Whether that’s pumpkins or mushrooms – there’s a lot of cross over,” the Panasonic brand ambassador tells us. “Plus, it’s very easy to purchase staple Japanese ingredients. Miso, soya sauce, rice, and seaweed are very easy to pick up in the UK.”
But why is washoku such a health buzz? “There’s a lot of broth, a lot of fish and a big emphasis on vegetables,” Valentine says. “It’s high in protein and it’s healthy – there isn’t a huge amount of fat or sugar which we see in the UK.”
The combination of fresh, seasonal ingredients cooked in a healthy way can give us a much-needed energy boost too. “I certainly feel alive for the rest of the day when I eat Japanese food. It doesn’t make me want to fall asleep, unlike the very carb-based British diet,” Valentine confesses.
Have we inspired you to try washoku? Good news ladies, Valentine has shared three of his wonderful, yet oh-so-simple Japanese recipes made with the latest Panasonic Small Kitchen Appliance range.
“A popular dish across Japan, chawan mushi infuses warm set custard with the savoury richness of crab meat. It is a favourite of mine as it really does leave you feeling satisfied. It’s a good choice as a starter when entertaining as it's incredibly simple to make. “The key to getting the crab chawan mushi spot on is ensuring that the steaming element is right so you can create that faint wobble. Try using the Panasonic Steam Combination Microwave to ensure consistency.”
“A great way to experience fresh food the Japanese way, mackerel tataki is full of ingredients that optimise healthy eating whilst bursting with vibrant flavours. Ensure the mackerel is super fresh with bright green and iridescent backs and bright eyes before purchasing. This dish is also delicious when made with red mullet as well!”
“Sugar snap peas are a popular vegetable in Japan and sesame sauce is often an accompaniment for green vegetables. This recipe makes for an energising quick lunch while also making a great partner to steamed or roast chicken.“The sweetness of the honey combined with the tang of the soy sauce and crunch of sesame really complements the sugar snap peas and will prove a firm favourite for the whole family. This is another recipe that proves Japanese cuisine is often a go to for those with limited time.”
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