Japanese cooking with Teruko Chagrin

JAPANESE cook and cookery teacher Teruko Chagrin, who lives near Shaftesbury, believes in using the wonderful produce available in Dorset whenever she can for her recipes. For these recipes she is using Arctic Char, which she sources in North Dorset from Houghton Springs Fish Farm, at Winterbourne Houghton.

Arctic Char is a special fish and only exists in the mountain area of Japan, where the spring water is so clean and pure. I am not sure if it’s still the same, sadly after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011. Hans Hoff from Haughton Spring Farm tells me that his fish is exported to Japan via his country, Denmark.

My love of cooking is to source local fresh ingredients and combine them with Japanese cookery ideas.
It is best not to play with the ingredients too much, just find ways of bringing out the potential flavour from the ingredients.

How to present it makes for a special experience and a feast for the eyes. Pottery as vessels for food has such an important role in enticing the appetite and the appreciation. Yo Thom’s pottery is a great vessel for my food.  They complement each other, her pottery and my food.

Paper wrap-steamed Arctic Char with Shiitake mushroom and Sake

For two peoplefood-japanese

1 med fillet Arctic Char
4 Shiitake mushroom
2 spring onions
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbs sake
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp butter
Half lemon

How to fold the parchment paper: Prepare 2 sheets of parchment paper sized  12“ x 15”. At first fold the sheets like Origami paper! Bring the 12” sides ends together. Fold over twice to create a tight seal then make it to the centre to press the tube flat. (It makes a rectangular shape.) Fold both the bottom corners up to meet the opposite folded edge to make a triangle. Turn it over then fold the pointy corner down to make the triangles in half. It is easy if you pre-fold the parchment paper ready to bake the fish in it.

Salt the fillet and leave it for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 180°/350F/Gas 4.

Slice the Shiitake mushrooms and spring onion thinly. Open the folded paper and place the mushrooms and the spring onion on top of the fish with little butter, a dash of sake and soy sauce. Fold the paper with all the ingredients inside then put them on the oven tray to cook for 20 minutes. Serve the fish parcel on to individual plates with a lemon wedge. Open the parcel individually just before eating.

Udon noodle in Arctic Char and Kombu stock with Daikon radish leaves

How to make the delicious stock with good ingredients is the key for authentic Japanese cooking. This noodle soup is made with the locally farmed Arctic Charr with Kombu seaweed from Ireland.

For two people

1 Arctic Char (mainly bones after filleting the fish)
10 cm Irish Kombu seaweed
4 Shiitake mushroom
A few stalks radish leaves or watercress
2 bunches Udon noodle
1 spring onion
1.5 tsp sea salt
2.5 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs Sake
800 ml water

Salt the fish bones after filleting and grill them on both sides.  (The fish head makes good stock but if you are not brave enough to use it, do not worry). Turn the grill off when the bones are lightly brown.

Put the water in a saucepan with lightly washed Kombu seaweed then bring it to boil. Traditionally take the Kombu out when the water boils, however, the Irish Kombu is very sweet, so I leave it in throughout the cooking. Add the grilled fish bones into the stock then cook on low heat for few minutes.

Strain the stock and add sliced Shitake mushrooms and the cooked Kombu if you like. (If you take the Kombu out and slice it thinly, you can eat it with the noodle soup.) Simmer the soup for another 3 minutes then  season with soy sauce, sake and sea salt.

Prepare another saucepan with boiling water for noodles. Cook noodles for slightly undercooked than required time, then wash them under the running water. Add the noodle into the soup and turn the heat to highest until it boils up. Put some radish leaves on top of the noodle soup then bring it to the boil until the greens are just cooked. Serve the noodle soup while it’s hot with sliced spring onion on top!

Pictured is the Udon noodle soup in one of Yo Thom’s bowls.