Some ridiculously easy to make Japanese dishes

How about some Japanese food to really keep us in the Olympic vibe. Instead of ordering a pizza or a burger and a pint in a pub, why not impress the pals by whipping up a few super easy Japanese dishes from the host country for your socially-distanced viewing party or get-together.

Most of us would be hard-pressed to name more than two or three Japanese dishes… sushi immediately comes to mind but understandably many feel intimidated to even attempt to make sushi rolls. But scattered sushi, the most ancient form of sushi, is ridiculously easy to make and really delicious. How about ramen — silky noodles and many other good things in a bowl of deeply flavoured broth.

Here’s a list of essential Japanese pantry ingredients to get you started.

  • Sushi Rice
  • Soya Sauce
  • Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • Sake (rice alcohol)
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Miso (fermented bean paste)
  • Wasabi (mustard)
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Bonito Flakes
  • Kombu (kelp)
  • Yoma (sesame seeds)
  • Togarashi
  • Yuzu Sauce (citrus)
  • Nori (sheets of toasted seaweed)
  • Noodles

Yakitori chicken with teriyaki sauce

Yakitori, literally means grilled bird – a Japanese version of skewered chicken. I love this recipe, I’m using thigh meat here but use whatever you like, but do look for organic chicken

Yakitori chicken with teriyaki sauce


  • 450g boneless chicken thighs

  • 110ml dark soy sauce or tamari

  • 50ml mirin

  • 2 tbsp sake

  • 1 tbsp dark soft brown sugar

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • ½ tsp freshly-grated ginger

  • For the teriyaki sauce:

  • 110ml sake

  • 110ml  soy sauce

  • scant 75ml mirin

  • 3 tbsp dark soft brown sugar

  • For the garnish:

  • 2-3 scallions or spring onions, thinly sliced


  1. Cut the chicken into generous 2.5cm pieces. Combine the soy sauce or tamari, mirin, sake, brown sugar, crushed garlic and grated ginger in a small saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil and cook for 7 minutes or until just thickened, cool. Save 2 tablespoons, pour the remainder over the chicken and marinade for an hour if possible.
  2. Meanwhile, soak bamboo satay sticks in water. Alternatively, use flat metal skewers.

  3. Preheat the oven or grill to 220°C/gas mark 7.

  4. Make the teriyaki sauce by putting all the ingredients into a small saucepan over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Boil gently for 7-8 minutes or until the liquid thickens

  5. Thread 5 or 6 pieces of chicken onto the skewers.

  6. Roast or pan-grill, turning occasionally — for 6-7 minugtes. Careful not to overcook but nonetheless, it’s important that they are fully cooked.

  7. Drizzle with the remaining sauce, sprinkle with slivered scallions and serve immediately with teriyaki sauce.


Ramen is the ultimate comfort food, the basic broth needs to be well flavoured but it can be varied in so many ways. It can be a mixture of chicken, pork, dashi, miso or vegetable-based



  • 1.8 litres  homemade  broth

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp mirin

  • 2.5cm chunk ginger root, gently smashed

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil

  • 300g  squash or pumpkin, diced into 5mm dice

  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced

  • 200g ramen noodles or egg noodles

  • 100gmizuna or spinach or Swiss chard or kale, roughly chopped

  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime

  • 450g  sliced cooked chicken thighs, with or without skin

  • 3 hard-boiled’eggs — cook for 7-8 minutes rather than 10

  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

  • 6 lime wedges


  1. Heat well-flavoured chicken stock with soy sauce, mirin and ginger. Simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sesame oil, squash and sliced chilli and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and tweak if necessary, it needs to be highly seasoned.

  2. Cook the noodles in boiling water until just tender (usually 4 to 5 minutes but check the directions on the package). Drain well. Add the mizuna or other greens to the soup, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the coriander and lime juice.

  3. Place the noodles in each bowl, top with the sliced or shredded chicken. Ladle the broth over noodles. Shell the eggs, halve and lay half an egg in each bowl and sprinkle with lots of green spring onions and garnish with a lime wedge. Eat while very hot — broth first and then other ingredients or any way you want.



Waterford Harvest Festival

The Waterford Harvest Festival is one of Ireland’s leading food festivals and has been re-imagined this year into a week-long citywide initiative — running from Monday, September 6 to Sunday, September 12, 2021. The aim is to highlight and promote Waterford’s rich and diverse food culture and heritage. This major festival will revitalise the food experience industry following the pandemic, by providing an opportunity for local restaurants, eateries and food producers to showcase their talents nationally in Ireland’s oldest city.

The programme will include specialised menus, cooking showcases, collaborations and more.

Afternoon Cookery Demonstrations at Ballymaloe Cookery School

Exciting news from Ballymaloe Cookery School… Our Afternoon Cookery Demonstrations are back. Next up is Five Summer Tarts — Sweet and Savoury with Rachel Allen on Friday, August 20. Limited numbers, socially-distanced, complying with all government and NPHET regulations. €125 per person. Recipes and tasting of all dishes included. or call 021 4646785

Sligo Food Champions Launch Sligo Food Tours eBook

Hans and Gaby Wieland, founders of Sligo Food Tours, have just launched a new Sligo Food Tours eBook, featuring a dedicated digital guide to their very best culinary hotspots and food producers in Sligo. The eBook includes interviews with top Sligo chefs and cafe and restaurant owners, as well as the story of Sligo’s food history.

Taste of Japan in West Cork

Swing by Pilgrims Restaurant in Roscarberry, (Book first) to enjoy their delicious version of Katsu — a favourite on the menu for several years. Or journey on to Ballydehob: behind Levis’ pub, you’ll find Brian Donnelly and Jenny Holland’s Bia Rebel Food Truck serving up steaming bowls of Ramen, Kaarage and much more.

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