East meets west
Husband and wife team Zenta and Meg Tanaka’s dishes showcase their trademark Japanese flavours with a twist, and are simple to cook, too. Here, they share four of their favourite recipes
Surprisingly easy Japanese recipes
Baked salmon with mushrooms and sweet miso sauce
If you can’t find shimeji and enoki mushrooms, button or brown ones are good substitutes. — ½ leek, sliced into 5mm pieces
— 1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
— 4 x 90-100g salmon fillets — 3 tbsp sweet miso sauce (see baked miso eggs recipe on p80)
— 8 thin slices of lemon, plus juice of ½ lemon, to garnish — 100g shimeji mushrooms — 50g enoki mushrooms — 20g salted butter
— 1 tbsp finely sliced spring onion, to garnish Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas mark 6.
Cut out four 30x30cm squares of baking paper.
Divide the leek and onion between the four squares, then lay the salmon fillets on top. Pour over the miso sauce, then top with the lemon wheels, mushrooms and butter. Close each parcel, tying it with kitchen string.
Transfer them to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Plate the parcels, cut them open, then garnish with the spring onion and lemon juice. Serve immediately. IN JAPANESE, cibi (pronounced ‘chibee’) means ‘a little one’. Each one of us was once a cibi, enjoying that pure and innocent time when we could do whatever we liked. A cibi is always curious, exploring and playing.
We opened Cibi, our concept store in Melbourne – a multipurpose cafe, shop, event and neighbourhood space – in 2008, with recipes that reflect our signature style: a blend of Japanese ingredients and cooking methods with western flavours and seasonal produce, creating unique dishes that nourish body and soul. We enjoy eating dishes where each ingredient can be tasted and appreciated, knowing they were cooked well to preserve what makes them unique; when they lose their identity in a dish, it reduces the pleasure of eating it.
Japanese cooking can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. These recipes will introduce you to the many ways you can infuse your cooking with beautiful Japanese flavours to make each day a little bit special.
Cibi, by Meg and Zenta Tanaka, is out now (Hardie Grant, £22). Buy yours for £18plus p&p at books.telegraph.co.uk or call 0844-871 1514
Slow-cooked beef cheek with red wine and hatcho miso Serves 4
— 3 tbsp olive oil
— 1kg beef cheeks, fatty membranes trimmed off, cut into 5-7cm pieces — 1 large onion, finely chopped
— 1 garlic clove, sliced — 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
— 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
— 1 tbsp tomato purée
— 2 tbsp plain flour
— 1 litre red wine
— 2-3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
— 2-3 thyme sprigs
— 2 tbsp hatcho (very dark) miso
— 2 tbsp whipping cream, to serve
— 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve — steamed vegetables and/or crusty bread, to serve Preheat the oven to 150C/ 130C fan/gas mark 2.
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large cast-iron stockpot over a high heat. Sear the beef cheeks on each side for 3-5 minutes, until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the carrot and celery, and sauté for another five minutes, until soft.
Return the beef and its juices to the pot and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, then add the tomato purée and mix again. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the beef and stir it in well.
Pour the wine into a separate pan and bring to the boil. Bubble it for five minutes to cook off the alcohol.
Add the reduced wine to the beef and simmer over a high heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens. Drop in the bay leaves and thyme, then check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Make an otoshi-buta (drop lid) out of baking paper by cutting a circle just smaller than the circumference of the pot. Place it on top of the simmering ingredients.
Put the pot in the oven and cook for 1½ hours. Add the hatcho miso and stir gently, then cook for another 30 minutes until the beef is very tender.
Serve each bowl with a little cream and some parsley. The stew is even more enjoyable if you leave it overnight and eat it the next day.
Baked miso eggs with roasted aubergine and pumpkin
A great marriage between eastern and western flavours. You can swap aubergine and pumpkin with other winter vegetables such as cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms and sweet potato. — 500g aubergine, sliced into 1cm-thick rounds — 90ml olive oil
— 250g butternut squash, cubed
— 4 eggs
— 125ml whipping cream — 2 tbsp spring onion, chopped
— 150g provolone cheese, or similar, sliced — coriander leaves, to garnish
For the sweet miso sauce
(makes 250ml) — 90g white miso — 90ml mirin — 60g sugar Preheat the oven to 170C/ 150C fan/gas mark 3½. Grease a heavy cast-iron pan or gratin dish (approximately 30x25cm), or four individual cast-iron pans.
Soak the aubergine in salted water for 10-15 minutes to eliminate its harshness.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sweet miso sauce and mix well.
Arrange the aubergine in a roasting tin, drizzle it with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until soft. Meanwhile, steam the squash for five minutes, or until cooked through.
Distribute the aubergine and squash evenly in the cast-iron pan(s). Gently crack the eggs over the vegetables. Pour the cream and 80ml of the sweet miso sauce evenly over the top (the remaining sauce is great for marinating fish, meat or vegetables, or for using in salad dressings). Sprinkle over the spring onion and top with the provolone.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Garnish with the coriander and serve immediately, piping hot.