Japanese Cuisine · The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Akiko Katayama

From chefs to bartenders, Japanese food and drink has touched the lives of many people. It’s been a catalyst for changing lives and bringing new conversations to culinary communities across the globe. 

For Akiko Katayama, promoting Japanese cuisine has become a life-long pursuit and Yamato Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing her about her experiences. A tenured food writer, host of the Japan Eats! Podcast and representative of the New York Culinary Academy, Akiko is a leading expert in the world of Japanese food and beverages.

Read on to learn about how she became a food journalist, what it means to judge top-ranking chefs and how the story of Japanese cuisine continues to evolve. 

Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Akiko Katayama”

Japanese Cuisine

Get Your Fresh Wasabi Fix With The Wasabi Company

The Wasabi Company.

Across the world, there’s been an explosion of interest in Japanese ingredients, with chefs and bartenders infusing things like sake, dashi, miso and shochu into their culinary creations. Fresh wasabi is another ingredient that’s become highly prized, especially when you consider that much of the stuff that comes in mass-produced paste form is probably horseradish or mustard. 

Pound for pound, wasabi is arguably the most expensive vegetable on the planet because of how it’s produced and the demand for getting hands on the genuine article. Down in the South-East of England, The Wasabi Company has made a name for itself by growing fresh wasabi and championing it across the globe.

Continue reading “Get Your Fresh Wasabi Fix With The Wasabi Company”

Japanese Cuisine

Shoryu Piri Piri Tonkotsu Kit Review: Ramen As Good As You’ll Find In Any Restaurant

During lockdown, hospitality venues have needed to get creative in order to keep moving forward and this has led to the rise of DIY meal kits that recreate the quality of the food you would find in a restaurant. 

A venue I’ve seriously missed being open in the UK is Shoryu, as it’s where I’ve been able to get my ramen fix for years and slurp many good bowls of heart-warming broth. The next best thing to eating ramen at Shoryu was to order one of their meal kits, so I dived into the awesome Piri Piri Tonkotsu pack.

Continue reading “Shoryu Piri Piri Tonkotsu Kit Review: Ramen As Good As You’ll Find In Any Restaurant”

Japanese Cuisine

Sake Kasu Cheese Scones Recipe

Sake kasu cheese scones recipe.

Incorporating Japanese ingredients into your cooking is a sure-fire way to elevate a dish, adding a whole new world of flavours. In particular, sake is an exceptional ingredient, working as a liquid to thicken up a sauce, braise food and include some oomph in a Japan-inspired meal.

Have you ever considered using sake kasu in a recipe? During the pressing stage in sake production, solid lees are separated from the mash and work as their own unique product. This sake kasu embodies the Japanese philosophy of not leaving behind any waste and can be put to good use in your cooking.

With that in mind, here is my sake kasu cheese scone recipe that’s super easy and really brings on some delicious flavours!

Continue reading “Sake Kasu Cheese Scones Recipe”

Japanese Cuisine

Wasabi Macaroni And Cheese With Nori Dressing Recipe

Wasabi Mac and cheese.

Japanese ingredients are incredibly versatile, working with a number of dishes to draw out certain flavour profiles and an ingredient that I’ve enjoyed experimenting with recently is wasabi. 

Pairing this spicy Japanese staple with one of my favourite comfort foods seemed like a no brainer. So, let me introduce my wasabi macaroni and cheese recipe with nori seaweed.

Continue reading “Wasabi Macaroni And Cheese With Nori Dressing Recipe”

Japanese Cuisine

Sate Your Hunger For Japanese Food Knowledge With The Awesome Japan Eats! Podcast

Japan Eats! Podcast

When Japanese food comes to mind, ideas immediately form. Sushi, ramen, katsu curry, yakitori. Meals that have taken the world by storm and can be found in some form or another just about anywhere these days. Yet there is so much more to explore and the depth to be found in Japanese food is truly extraordinary.

If you have a hunger to learn more about the beauty, history and flavours of Japanese food, then it’s time to add a new podcast to your list. Japan Eats!, hosted by Akiko Katayama, dives deep into the exciting world of Japanese cuisine.

Continue reading “Sate Your Hunger For Japanese Food Knowledge With The Awesome Japan Eats! Podcast”

Japanese Cuisine

Native Soil: How The Earth Affects The Flavour Of Sake

Yamada Nishiki rice.

Sake production is a magical process that requires a great amount of skill, with the ingredients being a key factor in the finished product. Rice, water, yeast and koji are the main ingredients for brewing nihonshu. 

Another important factor to producing great sake is soil, yet it’s often overlooked. Soil imparts different nuances into sake, differentiating by region and rice varietal. Here’s why the earth should never be taken for granted when it comes to making sake.

Continue reading “Native Soil: How The Earth Affects The Flavour Of Sake”

Japanese Cuisine · Pop Culture and Japan

Making The Case For Koshu Sake

Embarking on a journey into the sake world means coming across a countless number of varietals.  From the type of rice used to the final flavour, there’s so much variation across the categories and a type of nihonshu that’s gained traction in recent years is koshu.

Known as aged sake, koshu can be recognised by its distinctive dark colouring and depth of flavour. Although there are no official rules for the category, sake must be aged for a minimum of three years to qualify as koshu. 

While considered a niche product today, there was a time where koshu was considered the cream of the crop, signifying its potential to rise to the top of the mountain again. The history of koshu is like the drink itself: intriguing, complex, full of contradictions.

Continue reading “Making The Case For Koshu Sake”

Japanese Cuisine

Wafu Shochu Pasta Jumble With Tofu And Cannellini Beans

Bringing together food from different cultures can be a fun way to experiment with new dishes and develop unexpected flavour combinations. That’s why I enjoy creating wafu meals that combine European aesthetics with Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques.

Pasta is one of the easiest ingredients to mix into a wafu meal, especially when using leftovers. With that in mind, here is my wafu pasta jumble recipe that includes tofu and cannellini beans soaked in a homemade shochu roux.

Continue reading “Wafu Shochu Pasta Jumble With Tofu And Cannellini Beans”

Japanese Cuisine

6 Types Of Wagashi That Represent The Beauty Of Japanese Aesthetics

Wagashi are beautiful Japanese sweets that tell various stories.

Beautiful food is an integral part of Japanese culture and perhaps the best kind of food to emphasise this fact is Japanese confectionary. Known as wagashi, Japanese sweets are traditionally served alongside coffee and green tea to heighten the drinking experience.

But what really stands out about wagashi is the depth of creativity and storytelling that goes into such a tiny object. Each style of wagashi is different, telling the story of a season or representing a certain mood or region. There are so many to appreciate and here are six types of wagashi that will make you appreciate the beauty of Japanese sweets.

Continue reading “6 Types Of Wagashi That Represent The Beauty Of Japanese Aesthetics”