I’ve been to a couple of sushi restaurants recently and I felt an urge to cook Japanese food afterwards. Everything I’d eaten – from sushi to salads and hot main courses - had been so incredibly tasty.
So I started to look at recipes for Japanese hot dishes and vegetables and goodness me, what an amazing amount of sugar they use in a lot of dishes!
It seems counter-productive to me when you add 3 tablespoons of sugar to a marinade and then pour it over otherwise healthy vegetables. I can’t see the need for the sugar when there are so many other tasty ingredients in the marinade.
I used a recipe I had for Japanese-style beef with marinated cucumber and carrots and swapped the sugar in the vegetable marinade and stock for the beef for a bit of honey, and cut down on the amount of soya in the stock. It tasted amazing!
For 4 people:
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 heaped teaspoon honey (I use raw Manuka honey)
A good pinch of salt and pepper
½ cucumber, sliced really thinly
1 medium-sized carrot, cut into thin ribbons (use a potato peeler)
½ green pepper (bell pepper), diced
½ green apple, diced
½ yellow onion, diced
1 fat garlic clove, sliced
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced
200ml, 7floz, 0.9 cup water
4 tablespoons soya sauce (I use organic gluten-free Tamari soy sauce)
1 tablespoon mirin (you can find this in most well-stocked supermarkets)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons vegetable or groundnut oil
500g, 1lb2oz, sirloin or fillet of beef, sliced very thinly
Salt and pepper
Basmati rice - or use quinoa (healthier and better for the weight)
1. Using a whisk, mix together the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the thinly sliced cucumber and carrot ribbons to the bowl, mix well, cover the bowl and place it in the fridge. Leave to marinate for 1 hour (give the vegetables a stir half-way through).
2. Once the vegetables have been marinating for 30 minutes, place all the ingredients for the stock in a pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes before straining the stock through a sieve into a clean pot.
3. While the stock is simmering, cook the rice or quinoa according to pack instructions.
4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over quite a high heat. Once the oil is sizzling, quickly stir-fry the sliced beef - until browned - and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the beef to the pot with the stock and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.
5. Place a portion of rice/quinoa in 4 bowls or deep plates, divide the Japanese-style beef and stock between the bowls and top with the marinated vegetables.
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