Thursday, 30 January 2014

Steamed seabass with freshly sliced ginger and scallion

We had this dish for dinner tonight to celebrate Chinese New Year. It's a special time of year in our family as my brother-in-law (William) is Chinese. William is head chef in his own restaurant, Ngai's in Athy, Co. Kildare so his Chinese cooking is pretty good! I wish I could take credit for this dish but he showed me how to make it. Ngai's restaurant has a selection of authentic Chinese dishes on the menu including this one. I hope you enjoy it.

Gong Xi Fa Choi - Happy Chinese New Year

Whole seabass
Thumb size piece ginger (peeled and thinly sliced into strips)
Few scallions/ spring onion (sliced into strips)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce


1. Ask your fish monger to clean and scale the fish. 

2. Place in a steamer for about 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the fish.

3. Once cooked place on a large serving plate and toss the strips of ginger and scallion over the fish. 

4. Heat the vegetable in a saucepan until smoking hot.

5. Pour the oil evenly over the fish and then pour the soy sauce in the same way. 

6. Serve with steamed rice and stir fried Chinese greens.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Edamame hummus

This recipe is a healthy lunchbox filler or an easy party food.

200g edamame
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
Half tsp sesame oil
Half clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp water
Freshly ground salt and pepper (to season)

You'll need:
Pestle and mortar

1. Toss the sesame seeds on a roasting tray and place in a pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes.

2. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the hot sesame seeds until most of the seeds are cracked and ground.

3. Place the frozen edamame in a saucepan of boiling water, reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Then drain.

4. Remove the edamame beans from the outer pod by using your fingers to gently squeeze the beans out of the pod. Remember you can't eat the outer pods!

5. Place all the cooked edamame beans, ground sesame seeds and the remaining ingredients in a blender and blitz until the texture is nice and creamy.

6. If you think the mixture is too dry then add a little more olive oil or water.

- To add a little spice to this recipe add cayenne pepper or Japanese seven spice (nanami togarashi).
- This hummus goes really well with toasted pitta bread, carrot or celery sticks.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Extreme Greens Understanding Seaweeds by Sally McKenna

I was delighted to meet Sally McKenna and her husband John last year when we were interviewed together on the Sue Nunn show on KCLR 96FM. During that interview Sally spoke about her recently published book "Extreme Greens Understanding Seaweeds" so I got to experience first-hand her passion for seaweed and great knowledge of everything about it. According to Darina Allen it is "a book that needed to be written".

 After spending time in Japan as a foreign student many years ago I returned to Ireland completely fascinated by seaweed. I questioned why an island nation such as Ireland didn't use seaweed the same way as Japan. After reading the introduction in Sally's book it appears we somehow lost our knowledge and appreciation of seaweed that our ancestors possessed. Sally mentions in her book that in pre-famine days the order of work for the woman of the house was said to be 1. potatoes (prataí) 2. children (páiste) and 3. seaweed (feamainn). 

In the past few years Ireland has rekindled its love and appreciation for seaweed. Irish seaweed companies are starting to sell this wonderful resource in shops across Ireland so we can use it in our everyday cooking. 

If you have an interest in learning about seaweed then this book is a user friendly guide. While reading Extreme Greens, I felt Sally's close connection to nature and her passion for seaweed and everything it represents.
These are some of the things I like about the book:
- gives you general knowledge on all aspects of seaweed including drying, storing, foraging
- outlines the wonderful health benefits of seaweed
- practical approach to cooking with seaweed (incl tips for using it for children's meals)
- easy to follow instructions on how to make homemade cosmetics using seaweed

Other reviews written about Extreme Greens:
Huffington Post
West Cork Times
Darina Allen

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Saba shioyaki - grilled mackerel recipe

A Japanese work colleague once told me that Japanese cooking is about bringing the flavour out of the food rather than creating complicated sauces to cover the taste of the food. This simple recipe called "saba shioyaki" demonstrates the Japanese way of cooking using only salt and letting the mackerel do the rest of the work. I'd encourage you to buy mackerel fillets from your local fishmonger to make sure that you get really fresh ones. Mackerel is known for not staying fresh for long.

I love cooking mackerel at home because it's really tasty and cheap! I bought these mackerel fillets for just over €3 from my local fishmonger.

This recipe will take a few minutes to prepare and then less than ten minutes to cook.

Sea salt
Fresh mackerel fillets
Vegetable oil (for frying)


1. Generously season the mackerel fillets with sea salt on both sides.

2. Pour vegetable oil into a non stick frying pan and set the heat medium to high.

3. Once the pan is hot place the mackerel fillets on the pan skin side down and fry for a few minutes depending on the size. Then turn over and cook the other side for another few minutes until cooked through. The skin should be nice and crispy.

4. Serve with a salad or with rice and vegetables. Traditionally in Japan saba shioyaki is served with grated daikon (mooli) and soy sauce.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Japanese Cooking Classes - Easy Japanese Meals

I'm really looking forward to the year ahead. I'll be traveling around the country giving Japanese cooking demonstrations at food festivals and events so keep an eye on my blog, facebook page and twitter account to get regular updates. 

I'm continuing my Japanese cooking classes in Miele Gallery in Citywest Dublin this year. My scheduled demonstrations will focus on "Easy Japanese Meals". These demonstrations will give you the knowledge and confidence to try Japanese cooking at home. The demos start at 6:30pm and cost €25 per person. You can book a place on or you can book directly with me by emailing

If the scheduled demonstrations are not suitable for you or you'd prefer a more hands on class tailored for a group then I also provide Japanese home cooking and sushi making classes for personal groups or corporate team building events. For enquiries or booking please e-mail

Miele Gallery Timetable 2014
Fiona Uyema - Easy Japanese Meals

All demos start at 6:30pm please try to arrive 10 minutes early. 

Thursday February 13th
Thursday March 27th
Thursday June 12th
Thursday August 14th 
Thursday September 18th
Thursday October 16th
Thursday November 13th
Thursday December 4th

I'm looking forward to sharing my Japanese cooking adventures with you in 2014 :)

Fiona Uyema

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Homemade Vegetarian Furikake Recipe

During the Christmas holidays my friend came home from Japan with her three children and stayed with us for a few nights. On the first morning of their stay I asked the kids what they wanted for breakfast and they said rice and furikake!! Furikake is a mix of dry ingredients that Japanese people love to use to season rice. I didn't have any furikake in the house so I made this recipe with ingredients I had in the cupboard. You can buy furikake in Asian markets but I like to make my own as I can control the amount of salt and sugar and avoid MSG.

For this recipe, I'm using milled Irish dillisk which is made by an Irish company called Sea of Vitality. They have a great selection of seaweed products including the milled dillisk, ground kelp and a bread mix with seaweed.  I also use this milled dillisk for soups, stews and bread recipes. 

8 tsp milled dillisk (dulse)
8 tsp black sesame seeds
8 tsp white sesame seeds
Freshly ground sea salt (to season)


1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 

2. Put in air tight container (e.g. empty jam jar).

3. It can be used as it is. Simply sprinkle over rice or add to other dishes/ salads.

- You can use other dry ingredients for the furikake mix such as dry nori flakes, bonito flakes etc.
- Furikake can be sprinkled over a bowl of rice or onigiri (rice balls). It can also be mixed with breadcrumbs for coating fish and chicken.

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