Imagining plates of cool sashimi and delicate confectionery, we Brits don’t often associate traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku) with comfort food. With the ubiquitous exception of ramen, most of the winter warmers well known in Japan are not yet familiar here. In fact, with winter temperatures rarely rising above freezing in some regions, Japan is home to many hearty meals and steamy hotpot-style recipes. Shabu-shabu, oden and yudōfu are just three Japanese winter dishes that I’d love to see more of in the UK.
It’s fair to say, however, that we have plenty of our own traditional comfort food. We certainly need it; this week it was revealed that the optimal outdoor temperature for growing well-adjusted humans is 22°C, a level of warmth which no British city reaches on average. Particularly now that Christmas is drawing near and the cold is starting to bite, it seems everybody is gravitating towards the heavy, familiar recipes of tradition. Even I am following suit. As a result, we have recently enjoyed some interesting fusion dinners such as this one.
On my table today:
- miso soup with shiitake, sweet potato and chives
- soy simmered squash (follow link for the full recipe)
- asparagus karashizu
- cottage pie
Notes after the jump!