Sweet potato croquettes (Satsuma-imo korokke)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Japan: The Vegetarian Cookbook written by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

‘The unusual additional ingredients in these croquettes make them extra special and extra tasty. Substitute the eggs with finely grated mountain yam, for a vegan version.’

Serves: 4

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 small ear corn
½ tbsp unroasted sesame oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
4 tbsp coarsely chopped cooked edamame or green peas
2 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
60g organic panko
Neutral oil, such as rapeseed, for deep-frying
1 lemon, cut into small wedge


  1. Place the peeled sweet potatoes in a bamboo or metal steamer and cook over a pot of rapidly boiling water until completely soft in the centre, about 25 minutes. Mash while hot.
  2. Fill a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and dunk in the corn for 30 seconds. Allow the corn to cool to room temperature before cutting the kernels off the cob with a razor-sharp knife. In a large frying pan, warm the sesame oil over a medium heat. Add the diced onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until softened but not coloured, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sauteed onion and carrot into the bowl with the mashed sweet potato and fold in the corn kernels, edamame, 1 tsp flaky sea salt, and ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Form eight small but fat rounded cylinders and roll them in the flour, making sure that all surfaces have been dusted. Shake off excess.
  3. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs until homogenous. Make a mound of panko on one side of a clean baking sheet. Working one by one, dip each croquette into the egg, allowing excess to drip off, and roll in the panko to coat evenly. Line up on the opposite side of the baking sheet from the panko side. Add panko as needed.
  4. In a large high-sided saute pan, heat 3cm oil over medium heat until about 170oC. To check the oil temperature, sprinkle a few pinches of panko into the oil. The panko should sink to the bottom of the pan, then immediately float back to the surface, and there will be a few medium-sized bubbles.
  5. Slip the croquettes into the oil, taking care it does not overflow, and fry until golden on all sides, 3-5 minutes. Drain briefly on a rack set over a pan to catch the drips. Serve hot with a lemon wedge.

Fried okra with tomato sauce (Age-okura to tomato no marine)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Japan: The Vegetarian Cookbook written by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

‘Summer-grown okra and tomatoes so together well. Here the fresh tomato sauce is intentionally light to balance the fried element of the okra’

Serves: 4

5 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
5 large capers, finely chopped
2 small Japanese green olives or Picholine, pitted and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive brine (from the jar of olives)
1 green shiso leaf, finely chopped
Neutral oil, such as rapeseed, for deep-frying
200g okra, brown portions of tops pared off
1 tbsp potato starch


  1. Finely dice 2 of the tomatoes and scrape into a bowl. Stir in the vinegar, olive oil, capers, olives, olive brine, and shiso. Refrigerate to chill.
  2. Slice the remaining 3 tomatoes into rounds 1cm thick and sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Heat a large well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the tomatoes in the pan in one layer and sear for about 2 minutes on each side to caramelise. Line a dinner plate with overlapping layers of the tomatoes. Once cooled, refrigerate to chill.
  3. In a high-sided saute pan, heat 3cm oil over medium-low heat until you can feel heat rise from the pan. The oil temperature should be lower than normal frying temperature, about 160oC.
  4. Arrange the okra horizontally to you on a cutting board and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Roll the okra in the salt with your flattened palms to break down the fibres a little. Wipe off the salt and any moisture with a paper towel, and halve the okra lengthwise. Dust lightly with the potato starch, shake off, and sip into the oil. Fry, turning for about 1 minute. Drain briefly on a rack set over a pan to catch the drips. Once cool, refrigerate to chill.
  5. Once chilled, divide the tomato among four salad plates to one side so they are overlapping slightly. Arrange the okra in the middle of the plates or stack them in the centre so the okra tops are laying across the bottom of the tomato slices. Sprinkle evenly with ¼ tsp salt. Spoon the tomato sauce over the okra, allowing the okra to peek through. Or mound the tomato sauce over some of the bottoms of the stacked okra at the opposite side of the plate from the tomato slices. Serve as a light side course.

Ume miso-sauteed summer vegetables (Natsu yasai no ume miso itame)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Japan: The Vegetarian Cookbook written by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

Pure, seasonal ingredients and mindful preparation form the basis of this elegant and flavorsome dish. Suggested by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, ‘choose a full-flavoured miso of your choice (not white miso). Miso is a natural match for aubergine and peppers, and these miso stir-fries – colloquially ‘abura miso’ – are served often in the Japanese countryside during the summer.’

Serves: 4

3 small aubergines
½ medium courgette
1 large red bell pepper
10 slender green beans
1½ tbsp lightly roasted gold sesame oil
½ tbsp fine slivers fresh ginger
5 tbsp sake
4 tbsp miso
1 tbsp gold sesame seeds, warmed in a dry frying pan until fragrant


  1. Slice off the ends of the aubergines and courgette and discard. Halve them lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1cm pieces. Soak the aubergine in cold water to keep it from discolouring. Core and seed the pepper and cut into 2cm irregular pieces.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan three-quarters full of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until their green colour just brightens, 1-3 minutes, depending on thickness. Trim off the stem ends and cut the beans crosswise into 2cm pieces. Set aside.
  3. Drain the aubergine and blot dry. In a large frying pan, warm 1 tbsp of the oil over low heat. Add the ginger, stir once to coat with oil, then add the aubergine, courgette, and bell pepper. Increase the heat to high, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the remaining ½ tbsp oil and the sake and toss well. Add the miso and stir-fry to coat evenly. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fully softened, 2-3 minutes longer. Fold in the green beans and sesame seeds and serve hot or at room temperature. Keeps well for 2 or 3 days, if refrigerated.

A taste of Persia – Kabab Koobideh

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour.

Makes 5-6 large kebabs or 10-12 small patties

A signature Persian dish, the word kebab – or kabab, as the Persians call it – means ‘to grill’, usually over fire. Serve street food-style with flatbreads or as a satisfying dinner accompanied by grilled vegetables and flavourful saffron rice.

Ingredients :

1 kg minced lamb (30 per cent fat is essential)
2 large onions, minced in a food processor and drained of any liquid or very finely chopped
2 level tbsp ground turmeric
2 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
6 tomatoes
Flatbreads, to serve

Method :

  1. Put all the main ingredients into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, work them together well, pummelling the meat mixture for several minutes into a smooth paste.
  2. To make large kebabs, divide the mixture into 5-6 portions and form each portion around a flat sword skewer about 25cm long. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the meat widthways from one end of the kebab to the other to create the classic ridges.
  3. Cook the kebabs over a charcoal barbecue that has been burning for about 30 minutes, alongside the whole tomatoes. The trick is to cook them for about 10-15 minutes in total, until the meat is browned and cooked through, while turning them every 2 minutes to help the fat render and prevent the kebabs from burning.
  4. To make small kebabs, preheat your oven to its highest setting (with fan if it has one). Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Divide the mixture into 10-12 portions, form into sausages, then flatten and pinch to create ridges. Place on the baking tray with the tomatoes and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Serve the kebabs and tomatoes immediately on the flatbreads so the bread absorbs the juices.

A taste of Persia – Kidney Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour.

Serves : 4-6

The yoghurt in this veggie stew cools the heat of the mint oil, a traditional addition called nana daagh. Serve with rice or bread.

Ingredients :

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 large onion, diced
4 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli flakes
690g (1 large jar) passata
500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
400g can kidney beans, drained
1 small packet (about 30g) flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp dried mint
150g Greek yoghurt
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Method :

  1. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and pour in enough oil to coat the base of the pan. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent, then add the garlic, stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn. Continue cooking until both have softened without browning.
  2. Add the spices to coat the onion and cook, stirring, for a minute. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the passata. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in the sweet potato and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the potato is tender. Add the beans and most of the parsley to heat through.
  4. Place a separate pan over a medium heat, add the dried mint and 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat the mint for a few minutes, without letting it burn.
  5. Transfer the stew to bowls, add dollops of yoghurt and scatter over the remaining parsley, then pour over the hot mint oil and serve at once.

A taste of Persia – Yoghurt and Spice Roasted Salmon

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Simply written by British-Iranian cook and author Sabrina Ghayour.

Serves : 4

These oven-baked salmon bites are roasted quickly for slight charring on the outside and delicate flesh on the inside. Pop leftovers into your lunch box for the following day.

Ingredients :

500g skinless salmon fillet, cut into 4cm cubes

For the marinade :

4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp garlic granules
1 heaped tbsp rose harissa
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
Grated zest of 1 lime and its juice
1 tsp olive oil
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

To serve :

Tortilla wraps
Sliced tomatoes
Finely sliced onion
Coriander leaves
Greek yoghurt

Method :

  1. Preheat your oven to its highest setting (with fan if it has one). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add the salmon and turn until well coated in the marinade.
  3. Spread the salmon out on the prepared baking tray and roast for 10 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with tortilla wraps, tomatoes, finely sliced onion, coriander leaves and Greek yoghurt.

Patatas Bravas

Recipe courtesy of an article in Psychologies Magazine (June 2020) and taken from a recipe book called Big Night In: Delicious Themed Menus to Cook & Eat at Home by Ryland, Peters & Small.

This classic Spanish tapas dish worked beautifully with a selection of other little dishes – frittata, salads, olives and dips – or enjoy on its own as a starter.

Patatas BravasServes : 4

Ingredients :
300g waxy potatoes, peeled
2 tblsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 dried chilli
1 tblsp sherry vinegar
1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Bullet logo Boil the potatoes in salted boiling water until just tender. Drain, cool and dice.

Bullet logo Meanwhile, prepare the spicy tomato sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add the shallot and garlic and crumble in the dried chilli. Fry, stirring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the sherry vinegar and continue to cook for 1 minute until syrupy. Add the canned tomatoes and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and add the smoked paprika.

Bullet logo Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce, uncovered, stirring often to break down the tomatoes, for 10-15 minutes until reduced.

Philippine Beef Sinigang

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (July 2016).

Serves : 4

Beef SinigangIngredients :
700g rib-eye steak
1.2 litres water or bone broth
2 medium onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
5cm piece of fresh root ginger (unpeeled if organic), thinly sliced
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tamarind paste (or to taste)
A big pinch of black or white pepper
3-4 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
400g green beans, tops trimmed
400g pak choi, leaves and stalks roughly chopped
2 whole, fresh red chillies
400g spinach

Method :

Bullet logo Cut the meat into 3 cm cubes, retaining the fat, to flavour the stew.  Place in a large saucepan and add the water or broth.  Bring to the boil, cover, quickly reduce the heat and cook at a medium-to-low simmer for 20 minutes.

Bullet logo Add the onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes with the tamarind paste, pepper and fish sauce.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, adding more paste if desired.

Bullet logo Tip in the beans, pak choi and chillies, then bring back up to a simmer and cook, covered, for 5 more minutes.

Bullet logo Add the spinach and remove the pan from the heat, leaving the lid on to allow the spinach to wilt in the residual heat.  Remove the whole chillies and serve immediately.

Feast from the East – Clay Pot Chicken Rice

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

It’s mesmerizing watching street vendors make this dish with 10 charcoal stoves on the go.  They place the pots with rice on top of the hob, which gives the dish its smokiness.

Claypot chicken

Serves : 2

Ingredients :
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
150g boneless chicken thighs, sliced
1 tblsp vegetable oil
10g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced
4 tblsp sweet soy sauce
1 tblsp light soy sauce
3 tblsp water
200g jasmine rice
Birds-Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and Stir-Fried Lettuce, to serve (Optional)

For the marinade :
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
large pinch of caster sugar
1/2 tblsp cornflour

Step One : Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, cover with cold water and set aside to rehydrate for 2 hours.  You can speed up the rehydration by covering them with just-boiled water.  Drain the mushrooms, squeeze them to discard any excess water and cut off and discard the stalks.  Quarter the mushrooms and set aside.

Step Two : Meanwhile, put the chicken in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients.  Stir and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or 2 hours (covered) in the fridge.

Step Three : Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant, then add the sliced sausage and fry for a further minute.  Add the marinated chicken and the mushrooms to the pan and continue to fry until the chicken turns opaque.  Add half the sweet soy sauce and all the water.  Continue to fry for 2 minutes more (the chicken needs to be nearly cooked through).  Set aside.

Step Four : Wash the rice in cold water and drain, then repeat twice with fresh cold water.  This will get rid of excess starch.  Transfer the drained rice to the clay pot, then fill it with water, until the water sits about 2.5cm above the rice.  Bring it to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down to a low simmer.

Step Five : For about 10 minutes, once the rice has absorbed nearly all the water, put the chicken mixture on top of the rice and cover the clay pot.  Continue to cook on the hob over a low heat for a further 10-13 minutes.  The rice will form a crust at the bottom of the pot.   If using:  serve with Bird’s Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and the Stir-Fried Lettuce on the side.

Feast from the East – Steamed Hake with Garlic Oil and Oyster Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

Steaming fish is a great way to cook it as it stays moist and it locks in all the nutrients. This recipe also works well with seabass and salmon.  Bear in mind, cooking time will vary with different fish.

Steamed HakeServes : 2

Ingredients :
1 spring onion, finely sliced lengthways into strips
small handful of coriander leaves, torn
2 hake fillets (about 150g each), skin on
2 tblsp Garlic oil
2 tblsp oyster sauce

Step One : Place the steamer ring at the bottom of a wok.  Boil some water and pour it into the wok, up to the level of the ring.  Place the wok over a medium heat, and bring it to the boil, then lower the heat a little.

Step Two : Place the spring onion strips in a bowl of ice-cold water with the coriander: this will keep them fresh while the fish steams.

Step Three : Place the hake fillets, skin-side up, in a shallow, heat-proof bowl, making sure they are not overlapping, then add the Garlic oil and oyster sauce.

Step Four : Transfer the bowl to the steam ring, cover the wok and steam for 5 minutes.  Uncover and add three-quarters of the spring onion and coriander leaves to the bowl.  Recover and steam for a further 8 minutes.

Step Five : Carefully remove the bowl from the wok, sprinkle the rest of the spring onion and coriander leaves over the fish and serve immediately.