Sachie’s Kitchen

Sachie’s kitchen

Ever since I was a little girl I remember loving Japanese food. My very first memory of it was being introduced to sushi by my aunt, uncle and cousins at a little sushi stand in a local shopping center in Melbourne, Australia. I must have been about twelve years old but I’ll never forget the experience; Popping the tiny little pink parcel of salmon nigiri into my mouth with a dot of wasabi some pickled ginger and soy. I remember the smooth silky texture of the fresh raw pretty pink salmon and the sweetness of the fluffy white rice. I remember my cousin showing me how to snap the wooden chopsticks apart and mix the wasabi into the soy. This was the start of my obsession with sushi and Asian cuisine. As a twelve year old, sushi was not only very tasty but also a lot of fun and still to this day I find the same enjoyment when I go to a Sushi restaurant.

Over the last ten years in Israel sushi has taken off and grown to become one of the most popular cuisines eaten by Israelis in a restaurant setting. Back in 2005 there was only a handful of sushi restaurants in Jerusalem, and nothing to write home about either (literally, as I was on my year abroad in Israel after school)- and yet just a little less than ten years later there are more than ten different sushi restaurants in the city, the majority of them being kosher. Tel-Aviv too can boast well over one-hundred restaurants that serve sushi with around 20% being kosher.

 Super Sushi- Dizengoff st Tel Aviv (kosher)

Sushi Rehavia- Emek Refaim Jerusalem (Kosher)

Israel in-fact has the third highest per capita consumption of Sushi in the World! That’s huge! In laymen’s terms basically in order of highest sushi consumption Japan is first, followed by New York and then Tel-Aviv!

Eat your sushi-filled hearts out rest-of-the-World!

Israelis just love eating sushi,  so much so  that to celebrate the sushi-eating culture that’s been cultivated here, Israel hosts an annual sushi making competition with around 30 Israeli sushi restaurants competing for the top prize. Over 500 people attend the competition every year including Japan’s ambassador to Israel Ambassador Shigeo Matsutomi.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wpKFYQFQO0

It with this obsession that Israelis seem to have with Sushi and Asian cuisine that The Food Channel has introduced the latest cooking show and celebrity chef to its viewing repertoire; Sachie’s kitchen.

 

Image: Sachie on set

Sachie is a Japanese born chef who lives in New Zealand and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing her all about Japanese food and her personal food Journey.

Sachie’s food obsession began at a young age but it wasn’t until she moved to New Zealand where she found herself sharing an apartment with some Japanese chefs that things started to really take off. There they taught her ‘a variety of invaluable techniques’ and particularly ‘how to be creative using domestic appliances and ingredients’.

On her show, Sachie goes through different Japanese recipes, mainly noodles and fish and beef dishes but occasionally Sushi makes an appearance. I asked Sachie if Sushi is considered an everyday food in Japan. She explained to me that growing up she would only eat sushi ‘3-4 times a year because it was very expensive and usually was eaten to celebrate an occasion.’ In Israel many people would consume Sushi 3-4 times in one month! Sachie believes that sushi has become a kind of ‘healthy fast food’- A trend that is reflected all over the World and Israel is no exception!

Sachie’s show is really all about making Japanese food simple. She believes that ‘the biggest myth about Japanese cuisine is that it’s complicated- because of the beautiful presentation’. Her ‘whole mission is demystifying Asian food for people so they can cook at home and enjoy the meal with friends and family’. Personally I love watching Sachie cook up a storm with her Japanese- New Zealand accent which reflects the style of cooking which is often a mix of Asian and Western recipes.

Every show starts with an adventure to a market or factory in Japan, followed by a trip to the local supermarket in New Zealand and then finally an explanation of how to assemble the dish at home. With her beautiful bubbly personality as passion for food and life that comes through the screen of the TV (her philosophy is ‘Happy food-happy home’) Sachie is slowly taking over and becoming one of the first mainstream celebrity chefs to grace our screens with Japanese cuisine- and I for one love it!

Sachie now owns the largest Asian cooking school in Australisia (That’s Australia and New Zealand for those who were wondering) with over 13,000 students in the last five years alone!

Sachie celebrating the release of her cook book

As for her career aspirations there seems to be a lot in the works.

Sachie’s cooking school in New Zealand is doubling in size and she also plans to host more TV shows featuring different Asian cuisines. She also has ‘something very exciting in the way of consumer products range’ but when I asked her what exactly she told me with a figurative wink ‘I can’t tell you too much about that just yet….shhh’.

As for coming to visit us over here in Israel she said she’d never been but it was ‘on her list of things to do’ and if an opportunity came up she wouldn’t say no!  Perhaps we could convince her to come and help judge the next Kikkoman Sushi Master competition here!

We wish Sachie the best of luck in all her endeavors! I for one will continue to enjoy Sachie’s easy no fuss approach to simplifying Japanese cuisine with her warmth and effervescence coming through the screen while I put my feet up at the end of a long day!

You can stay updated with Sachie’s adventures via her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sachieskitchen and watch her show most days at around 4pm on The Food Channel.

 

 

 

 

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No Yak Penis for me.

Life can get pretty hectic, between work, socialising, cleaning the house (arghhh) and everything else in between BUT it shouldn’t get too busy for you to be enjoying delicious fresh healthy food every day, because let’s face it- life is too short to be eating S#^t!

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Perhaps we should leave the yak penis to the Chinese… I personally prefer (as Donna Hay- a renowned Aussie cook) likes to put it “fresh, fast and simple” cooking.

Over the past few years of experimenting with food and flavours and trying to find the way to my husband’s heart (who was henceforth meant to be known as Jason), I’ve come up with a few winners that are not only delicious but really quick and easy (under 20 minutes). Although Jason doesn’t eat anything that has hot tomato in it, or resembles hot tomato (which is so annoying because it’s one of the quickest easiest things to cook) he will eat it when its disguised with other flavours (go figure) – So here are a few tomato and non-tomato recipes to delight you taste buds!

I really like PASTA- I think its soul food, ok it may inflate the soul in your butt as well if you over-indulge but here it is anyway- enjoy!

Boil some thin flat pasta (use spelt pasta for a slightly healthier variation) Cut a handful of cherry tomatoes in half- add a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper chilli, garlic and pine nuts, toss in a pan for a few minutes until warmed through, drain the pasta and add to the pan- toss together add some baby spinach leaves, grate some parmesan over it and bob’s your uncle! (as the Aussies say). There you have it A delish, healthy, fresh dinner or lunch in less than 10 minutes! (if you are cooking for Jason, leave out the tomatoes) 😉

You can also leave the spinach out and add basil pesto for a little more zing (I make my own and then freeze it in small cubes ready to use) 

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Another great quick pasta dish is with peas, feta cheese, olive oil, chili and cherry tomatoes on pene same method, just add the feta at the end.(I sometimes add the ‘dorot’ herb cubes for a little more flavour.)This dish tastes great cold or then next day- take it to work as a ‘salad’ mmmm!

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I also have a few really quick and easy Asian recipes to get you going- but fear not! You don’t need a massive hot wok to cook them (like you might for fried yak penis?) a simple fry pan will do just fine.

  1. Boil some Basmati rice for 13 mins in a simmering pot (I like the Basmati bc it’s a long grain fragrant rice)
  2. Cut up some chilli, garlic and ginger (again you can use the frozen dorot cubes-very handy) and spring onion
  3. Once the rice is ready drain it and add it to a hot fry pan, toss it around a little with some soy sauce, mirin and the garlic, chili and ginger.
  4. Make a space on the side of the pan and pour in one whisked egg to cook a little. (you can wait until it turns into an omlet or mix it around the rice depending on if u like it a little mushy-er or more cooked)
  5. Add more soy and mirin to taste, take it out and add the spring onion.

 Serve with some sesame seeds on top and VOILA! (how do you say that in Chinese!?)  You can also add cashews, tofu and/or chicken pieces for a more robust meal. YUM!

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Another good one is for that left over chicken soup on Sunday night. I hope my Mother doesn’t think this is blasphemous- her chicken soup really is the best but this recipe is for my left over chicken soup, not hers- so here we go.

 Put just the clear Chicken Soup (capitol letters for respect!) into a pot. Add half to ¾ a tin coconut milk, and some chili to taste. Marinate shitake mushrooms in mirin and soy for as long as you have (up to 4 hours is good but 15 minutes will do the trick) and fry them. Add boiled egg noodles, coriander, bean shoots and carrot for crunch (not the cooked one form the soup-fresh carrot).  You can take the chicken from the soup and add it back in too. Serve with a squeeze of lemon or lime- yum yum yum a rich Laksa soup with all the trimmings!

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Stay tuned for more D’lish recipes…

Happy eating! xx