Sunday, 23 September 2007

Little Foodies Japan

Chicken Ramen

I mentioned that our next virtual visit was going to be Japan. We started today with chicken ramen for lunch, the recipe followed almost exactly from the Wagamama Cookbook (pg 68). It's a really simple dish using sliced chicken breasts, noodles, stock, pak choi or seasonal greens, tinned bamboo shoots and spring onions. It's great for children as nothing is over powering, it's just a good noodle soup. I admit that I have to add something to mine once it is served as I like LOTS of flavour. If you're interested in quick, fast food that's healthy then I'd urge you to get the book. I think I would happily eat everything in it and if you've never been to a Wagamama restaurant give that a try too. I sound like I'm on the payroll!

Wagamama's first restaurant opened in London, behind the British Museum. It was an immediate hit, modelled on the old ramen stalls of Japan, and a totally different take on fast food restaurants. With it's obvious success (voted London's most popular restaurant), more were bound to open. There are now branches around the world and over 50 in the UK. Click for details of locations and sample menus. I don't know why I'm banging on so much about it, I haven't been to one for years. I guess because my first experiences were such good ones. The children have never been but we're going to try and take them this week. Our nearest one being in Guildford, about 20 minutes away. I'll let you know if it lives up to my memories.

So moving on swiftly before you think I have shares in Wagamama... I have a few other Japanese cookbooks too, so what should we cook this week...? We'll definitely be making sushi (no raw fish as it's for the children and I can't guarantee the freshness to take the risk).
But what else - teriyaki chicken, tempura, tonkatsu..? Little is desperate to make yaki soba, as he loves the name, it's a chicken and prawn noodle dish. I'd love to make some gyoza (dumplings), one of my favourite things.

I'll admit to buying every type of bottle and jar in the Japanese section of Waitrose (without forward planning of what we might cook - note to self: work on that frugal thing you were talking about) and when I've looked through the cupboards I think we'll be okay for anything I may have forgotten - take a look! This shows things relating to Japanese cooking and doesn't include all the other Asian food bottles and packets we have, a very expensive on-line shop at Wing Yip and a bad habit of buying exotic ingredients as and when I see them! Really looking forward to this visit.


Asha said...

Are we in Japan now! Cool!!:)
My kids love Ramen noodles!:))

Baking Soda said...

Teehee! two out of three of my kids would love to go to Japan with you! (And their mum as well, pass me the flavours please!)

Nora B. said...

Hooray!! I love Japanese food. You've got an impressive array of Japanese condiments there. My fa Jap noodles is soba. And I love donburis (rice bowls topped with various stuff).

Joanna said...

I've never been to Wagamama, must obviously put that right. There are some easy Japanese flavoured recipes in every single one of Nigella's cookery books, she uses those flavours for dressings, slimming foods, etc, and they are all accessible for children. But possibly not Japanese enough. I don't think I could get my children to do Japan for a week, and certainly not my husband! Shame. Well done you!


Deborah said...

I love how you move around through the different countries. This sounds wonderful!

Jann said...

I do not even own one cookbook with Japanese foods...........and I do love it! Your kids will delight in this are-give them some chopsticks, too!I have been away most of the summer, but hope to catch up on your posts!

Cynthia said...

You're so lucky to find the ingredients to take these virtual trips.

Looking forward to the Japanese visit.

Marie said...

I'd like to try making my own sushi, but I'm afraid it would have to be vegetarian as I wouldn't be able to get really good fresh fish here. Can you believe I have never been to Wagamama's although I did go to a lovely Japanese restaurant one time where they cook your food right at the table. It was a wonderful and very entertaining production and very tasty as well! My sister in law is Japanese and my brother lived in Japan for quite a number of years. A very interesting country and culture!

KJ said...

oooh Japanese, exciting. I will be reading. I really like Wagamamas. The food is good and it's a fun place to eat.

Anonymous said...

Re: Figs - You post definitely took me back to Nana's with delicious fig rolls and a cup of tea. I have never found any nice fig rolls for years. I love fresh figs, although I couldn't see hubby ejoying the experience. I am going to try figs with home made rice pudding tonight. Thought it would make a change from sultana's and nutmeg.

Anonymous said...

Well you are well on your journey and I am sure the boys are loving every minute. After Saturday on the Farmers Market seeing children turning their noses up at wonderful fresh goats cheese whilst stuffing their faces with cheap sweets, full of e numbers. I take my hat off to you. I think all parents should take a leaf out of your book and take their children on an imaginery trip around the world and try all the different types of foods available. I am quite sure we would be a much healthier nation.
Well done.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Asha, I'm loving it! I feel like it's going to be a very healthy but delicious week.

Hi Baking Soda, you should join in, it would be fun.

Hi Nora, will look into the donburis, they sound good.

Hi Joanna, I'm quite amazed at some of the food. I always think of raw fish and ramen dishes but there's lots of stuff packed full of flavour. A lot of it is really heart healthy too. Take your husband to Wagamama, he might change his mind about it.

Hi Deborah, thank you, we love it too, it's good fun and we all learn something with each new country.

Hi Jann, I got them some trainer chopsticks (the jointed ones). Should be fun, if a little messy.

Hi Cynthia, we are lucky! That's what I love about being in England now. We embrace so many cultures and their foods that you can get your hands on almost any ingredient you could ever want.

Hi Marie, I think there's one in Tunbridge Wells which is quite near to you. They're quite reasonable and great if you're out doing a bit of shopping and want a quick bite to eat.

Hi KJ, glad you agree and if you've got anything you think we MUST try cooking, let me know.

Hi Mum, Thank you!! Though the boys do turn their noses up at some things. Some goats cheese can be quite strong, probably why the children you saw didn't want to eat it. A shame they weren't trying some of the other lovely things though. Nothing wrong with sweets Mum, all things in moderation, that's what I was always told! teehee!

Thank you all for your lovely encouraging comments.
Amanda x

p.s. Mum, the fig thing was good but you're right I don't think M would like them fresh/uncooked!

tash said...

Oh if only you were up here I'd take you to Wing Hong in Newcastle - it's got loads of yummy things. I am a sucker for the Chinese dim-sum and the rice vermicelli noodles. There is a reason we don't go there too often! I have a book on dimsum - will you be travelling to China anytime soon!? My tummy is rumbling!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Tash, we'll definitely be doing China at some point. I love Chinese food and dimsum are my all time favourite! What's not to love?! Next time I'm Up North we'll have to meet at Wing Hongs, it sounds good!

Aimée said...

Yay, Japan! Do make some tempura. Kids love to dip and you can make some lovely dipping sauces. My favorite is sweet potato tempura....well, when there's no shrimp around I mean!

Truffle said...

What you have planned sounds absolutely delicious! I'm very excited to see what you'll make next. Great choice of country!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Aimee, Would you pre-cook the sweet potato before dipping in batter?

Hi Truffle, I'm loving it already. Dinner last night was excellent and loved by all. I'll blog about it later in the week.

Thanks for your comments.
Amanda x

Gemma said...

I have the Wagamama book but haven't made the ramen. I have done the yaki soba and the negima yakitori and they were both delicious - yaki soba is my usual Wagamama order!

Kelly-Jane said...

Oh yum! Japan will be a voyage of discovery for me :) and love your stash of exotic ingredients too.


Aimée said...

No, Amanda, I just slice it very thin, but keep it wide--imagine four credit cards stacked together and that's about the size.

Cottage Smallholder said...

Really good Japanese food is such a treat. Love the look of the recipe above (just what I'd have loved when I was in bed with flu). Looking forward to seing what you rustle up in your Japanese kitchen.


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