My love affair with Japanese food started when I was a student in Paris, going to Japanese language evening classes after the Sorbonne and popping into Ozu films afterwards with a long-haired philosophy student who shared a love of Spinoza… Then, I learned how to deftly roll out sushis or fry tempura but today I am experimenting with pasta. The very same type of pasta early italian explorers like Marco Polo might have brought back in their luggage !
2 tbsp japanese soy sauce
pinch of white pepper
1 tbsp of mirin (sweet japanese vinegar)
2tbsp sesame oil
Finely shredded cabbage (a big handful)
3 or 4 shiitake mushrooms (soaked in hot water)
A few shredded spring onions
Minced pork 150 g (optional)
A few drops of oyster sauce
A packet of gyoza wrappers
All of the ingredients can in found in the Japanese Centre in Regent Street, London. This is also where I found a cunning spring onion shredder that I now use all the time and the lovely raviolis press featured in my photo! It makes the whole job so much more enjoyable- but you can press the raviolis by hand with a fork just as easily.
Mix the shredded vegetables, the seasoning and the pork in a bowl then refrigerate for 1/2 hour. You can decide to forget the pork and do a vegetable version as in the photo above.
Take a wrapper and put a little mix in the middle. Wet the edge with a pastry brush then close one half over the other and press to stick between your fingers.
Store them on an oiled plate as you make them. Do not overfill or they won’t look good!
Then put some rapeseed oil in a cast iron pan and drop the raviolis one by one when the oil is hot. Quickly fry both side. When you have a good batch of them in and looking golden, with almost no oil left, pour a small glass of water in the pan, put the lid on and let it stem for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve hot with some stir-fried cabbage and soya shoots and a dash of tamari (japanese sweet soya sauce) or oyster sauce.
This went down particularly well with hungry children tonight – and they did not even notice the vegetable content!
PS. There is an Ozu film festival
at the BFI South Bank this week! I’ll try not to miss it…