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.

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.

Tarongia (Sicilian Flatbread)

Taken from Psychologies Magazine (May 2019) and recipe published in Moorish: Vibrant recipes from the Mediterranean.

From the Aeolian Islands off the Sicilian coast, the dough for this bread is fried in olive oil for a few minutes before the toppings are added.

IMG_2029 (2)

Serves : 6

For the Dough :
240ml lukewarm water
50ml red wine
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tblsp runny honey
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast granules
425g strong white flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1/2 tsp fine salt
Olive oil

For the Filling :
1 fennel bulb, cored and finely sliced
75g sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
18 salted anchovies
100g pecorino or caciocavallo cheese, grated
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves

Step One : First, make the bread dough. Put the water, wine, oil and honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir. Leave to activate and become foamy. Now, add a third of the flour, the lemon zest and salt, then whisk to a smooth batter. Mix in the remaining flour to form a manageable dough.

Step Two : Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Shape into a ball, put in a bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Step Three : Cut the dough into six equal portions. Roll out each piece into a rough circle. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before cooking.

Step Four : Heat enough olive oil for shallow frying in a deep pan – to 170oC. In batches, carefully lower the breads into the hot oil, using a metal spatula, and fry for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the pan, then drain on kitchen paper.

Step Five : To make the filling, heat a pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the fennel and season, then cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onion and chilli and cook for a further 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Step Six : Preheat the grill. Divide the fennel and tomato mix among the flatbreads, spreading it over the top, followed by the anchovies and the cheese. Place under the grill and cook for3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

Sizzling Beef Fajitas with Salsa

Mexican food can be high in fat, but this dish uses extra-lean rump steak, half-fat creme fraiche and only a little oil. The tortillas aren’t brushed with an oil as is usual either.  You’ll notice the great taste, but you only been eating half the fat.

Serves: 4;  Cals per portion:  495;  Total fat per portion: 17g

Ingredients Salsa:  1 beef tomato, skinned, deseeded and finely chopped; 4cm (1 1/2in) piece of cucumber, finely chopped; 1 small red onion, finely chopped; 30ml (2tbsp) fresh chopped coriander; juice of 1 lime; freshly ground black pepper

Fajitas:  325g (12oz) extra-lean rump steak, cut into thin strips; 1-2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and chopped; 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped; juice of 1 lime; 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh chopped coriander; 325 (12oz) pack, 8 ready made wheat tortillas; 15ml (1 tbsp) corn oil; 1 medium spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced; 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced; 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced; 5ml (1tsp) taco seasoning; 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) half-fat creme fraiche

  • Mix all the salsa ingredients together and spoon into a serving bowl.  Cover and leave in the fridge.
  • Put the beef strips in a shall bowl with the chillies, garlic, line juice and coriander.  Mix well, cover and leave to marinate for 1 hour.
  • When you’re ready to cook the beef, wrap the tortillas in tin foil and put them in the oven at 170oC/375oF/Gas 3 to warm them through (or seal them in microwave ffilm and heat them in a microwave oven according to the packet instructions).
  • Remove the beef from the bowl, reserving the marinade.  Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the beef over a high heat, turn once, for 1 min.  Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm on a plate.
  • Stir-fry the onion and peppers over a high heat, until starting to char.  Return beef to the pan and add any reserved marinade.  Add taco seasoning and sizzle for 1-2 mins.  Serve with tortillas, salsa and the creme fraiche drizzled over each portion.

Chicken Korma

Serves:  4;  Prep:  20 mins;  Cook:  40 mins;  Cals per portion:  267

This simple curry dish is mildly spicy with a delicious creaminess

Ingredients:  1 tsp/5ml cumin seeds; 1 tsp/5ml coriander seeds; 10 cardamom pods; 3 tbsp/45ml vegetable oil; 6 large boneless chicken thighs, halved; 2 large onions, sliced; 4 cloves garlic, crushed; 2 in/5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated; 2 in/5cm cinnamon stick; 1/4 tsp/1.25ml turmeric; 10 cloves; 1/2 pt/300ml chicken stock; 2 tsp/10ml cornflour; 4 tbsp/60ml double cream; salt and pepper; 1 tbsp;/15ml chopped fresh coriander

  • Lightly crush cumin, coriander and cardamom using a pestle and mortar.  Heat the oil in a pan.  Add chicken and fry, stirring for 2 minutes. Add onions, garlic, ginger, spices and stock and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, then bring to boil.  Cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes, until tender.
  • Mix cornflour with 1 tbsp/15ml liquid from pan and stir into curry.  Simmer for 1 minute, stir in cream, seasoning and fresh coriander and heat for 1 minute.  Serve with rice.

Mexican Kebabs

You can cook these spicy kebabs on the barbecue or grill – just turn them often to prevent burning.

Serves:  4;  Cals per portion:  250

Ingredients:  4 chicken breast fillets, skinned; 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil; juice of 1 lime; 5ml (1 tsp) each ground black pepper, chilli powder and paprika; 10ml (2 tsp) dried oregano; 1 large onion, cut into pieces; 1/2 green pepper, cut into pieces; 8 small tomatoes; lime wedges and oregano to garnish.

  • Cut the chicken fillets into even-sized pieces and place in a sealable non-metallic container.  Mix together the oil, lime juice, spices and oregano, then pour over the chicken.  Leave to marinate for 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Thread the chicken on to 4 metal skewers with the onion and pepper pieces, placing a tomato at each end of a skewer.
  • Cook under a medium grill for 20-25 mins.  Turn occasionally until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred.
  • Garnish with lime wedges and fresh oregano, then serve with warmed tortilla pancakes, soured cream and salad.