On this page are 'my best bits' from my first cookbook Simple Japanese published on Quadrille in 2006. As the book has now celebrated its 10th anniversary I will share some of the highlight and most popular recipes with you here. When I wrote the book I wanted to convey a good overall introduction to Japanese food, in particular sushi, sashimi and tempura. Since then the culinary landscape across the globe has exploded for Japanese traditional and inspired food, but Simple Japanese is still a great tool for your first journeys into the amazing world of umami, raw fish, nori, wasabi etc.  There is also a few of my original fusion dishes of which some have become classic like Deep Fried Tuna Maki and Japanese Fish and Chips - enjoy!

The book is still in print, full title: Simple Japanese by Silla Bjerrum (Quadrille £12.99) Photography: Lars Ranek and available from Amazon here   

 Photo by Lars Ranek   Japanese Fish & Chips Served w/ Danish Remoulade   This recipe dates back to 2002 and became one of the most popular dishes on the menu for the sushi chain I just to take care of. Originally served with chips made of half and half of potato and sweet potato. This was in many ways most ambitious fusion for years - Japan meets Britain with a Danish detour. The Danish influence is the tradition of serving fish and chips with remoulade sauce (something totally forbidden in my childhood) which is a wonderful medley of homemade mayonnaise and piccalilli style pickles, packed with turmeric, not only adding a beautiful color, but also brilliant for it anti-inflammatory qualities.       The quantity of pickled vegetables in this recipe is much more than you will need for one batch of remoulade sauce, but it's the sort of thing that is impractical to make in smaller amounts. Keep the pickles in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to 3 months, suing them for meat, cheese or even more luscious remoulade.    For fish the best choice fish I would recommend cod, hake, haddock or coley, all 4 species are now MSC certified and therefor the best ethical option.     Serves 4    1 fillet of white fish, about 600-700 grams, skinned   2 large sweet potatoes   2 large white potatoes, like Maris Piper or Edwards   3 liter sunflower oil for frying    For the pickles    2 large carrots   Small head of cauliflower   Small head of broccoli   4 sticks celery   1 small butternut squash   300 gram caster sugar   1 tablespoon mild curry powder   1 tablespoon turmeric   1 tablespoon whole peppercorn   4 bay leaf   1.5-2 liter of rice vinegar   3-4 tablespoon cornflour    For the remoulade sauce    1 whole egg   1 egg yolk   1 tablespoon yuzu juice   1 tablespoon rice vinegar   1 tablespoon sugar   50 ml, olive oil   100 ml. rapeseed oil    50 ml. sweet chili    200 ml. pickles    For the tempura batter   1 egg   1 teaspoon carbonated soda   1/2 liter ice cold water   400 gram sifted OO flour   Extra flour for dusting   To make the pickles: peel and cut all the vegetable in 1 centimeter dices. Place vegetables in a large heavy-based saucepan with the sugar and species. Add enough rice vinegar to just cover all the vegetables completely. Bring to the boil and cook until the vegetable is al dente, aka still crunchy with a bite.   Place a large colander on top of a large bowl and drain the vegetables, saving the liquid. Return all the liquid to the saucepan and bring it back to the boil. Dissolve the cornflour in a little cold water and gradually add it to the vinegar mixture to give a thick, smooth consistency (you may not need all the cornflour). Pour the sauce over the pickled vegetables, stir and set aside to cool.   To make the remoulade sauce: place the egg, egg yolk, yuzu juice, rice vinegar and caster sugar in a food processor.and blend until white and fluffy. Combine the two oils and add them to the mixture gradually, blending to give an even consistency. Now poor in the sweet chili and pulse until incorporated. Decant sauce into a bowl. Place 200 ml. pickles in the food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed. Add pickles to mayonnaise and mix until all incorporated.   Prepare the tempura batter: whisk the egg, add the carbonated soda, then the ice cold water and gradually  ad the flour until the mixture is lumpy and airy with a consistency similar to double cream. Place in the fridge to chill.   Place the cod (or other white fish) on a chopping boar and cut down the middle following the line in the middle of the fillet. Trim of any flabby bits and discard. Cut the fillet diagonally into 1 centimeter thick slices, working at a 45-degree angle so that each piece is cut on the bias. Aim for 12 equal sized pieces.   Cut both varieties of potatoes into chips. Keeping the batches separate, rinse them in cold water and leave to rest in a colander. Heat the oil to 180 degrees Celsius in a deep fat fryer or large heavy-based saucepan. When the oil is ready fry each batch of potatoes for 4 minutes, leaving to rest in grease proof paper lines tray. Leave to cool down.   Dust the cod pieces in flour, then dip them in the chilled tempura batter 4 pieces at the time. Fry for approximately 3 minutes until light golden and crisp, then drain on grease proof paper and season with sea salt. Repeat with the remaining fish. Finally re-fry potatoes for 4 minutes, drain and season with sea salt. Stack chips, place cod on to and serve with remoulade in a small pot on the side.                              

Photo by Lars Ranek

Japanese Fish & Chips Served w/ Danish Remoulade

This recipe dates back to 2002 and became one of the most popular dishes on the menu for the sushi chain I just to take care of. Originally served with chips made of half and half of potato and sweet potato. This was in many ways most ambitious fusion for years - Japan meets Britain with a Danish detour. The Danish influence is the tradition of serving fish and chips with remoulade sauce (something totally forbidden in my childhood) which is a wonderful medley of homemade mayonnaise and piccalilli style pickles, packed with turmeric, not only adding a beautiful color, but also brilliant for it anti-inflammatory qualities.     

The quantity of pickled vegetables in this recipe is much more than you will need for one batch of remoulade sauce, but it's the sort of thing that is impractical to make in smaller amounts. Keep the pickles in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to 3 months, suing them for meat, cheese or even more luscious remoulade.  

For fish the best choice fish I would recommend cod, hake, haddock or coley, all 4 species are now MSC certified and therefor the best ethical option.  

Serves 4

1 fillet of white fish, about 600-700 grams, skinned 

2 large sweet potatoes 

2 large white potatoes, like Maris Piper or Edwards 

3 liter sunflower oil for frying 

For the pickles

2 large carrots 

Small head of cauliflower 

Small head of broccoli 

4 sticks celery 

1 small butternut squash 

300 gram caster sugar 

1 tablespoon mild curry powder 

1 tablespoon turmeric 

1 tablespoon whole peppercorn 

4 bay leaf 

1.5-2 liter of rice vinegar 

3-4 tablespoon cornflour 

For the remoulade sauce

1 whole egg 

1 egg yolk 

1 tablespoon yuzu juice 

1 tablespoon rice vinegar 

1 tablespoon sugar 

50 ml, olive oil 

100 ml. rapeseed oil  

50 ml. sweet chili  

200 ml. pickles 

For the tempura batter

1 egg 

1 teaspoon carbonated soda 

1/2 liter ice cold water 

400 gram sifted OO flour 

Extra flour for dusting 

To make the pickles: peel and cut all the vegetable in 1 centimeter dices. Place vegetables in a large heavy-based saucepan with the sugar and species. Add enough rice vinegar to just cover all the vegetables completely. Bring to the boil and cook until the vegetable is al dente, aka still crunchy with a bite. 

Place a large colander on top of a large bowl and drain the vegetables, saving the liquid. Return all the liquid to the saucepan and bring it back to the boil. Dissolve the cornflour in a little cold water and gradually add it to the vinegar mixture to give a thick, smooth consistency (you may not need all the cornflour). Pour the sauce over the pickled vegetables, stir and set aside to cool. 

To make the remoulade sauce: place the egg, egg yolk, yuzu juice, rice vinegar and caster sugar in a food processor.and blend until white and fluffy. Combine the two oils and add them to the mixture gradually, blending to give an even consistency. Now poor in the sweet chili and pulse until incorporated. Decant sauce into a bowl. Place 200 ml. pickles in the food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed. Add pickles to mayonnaise and mix until all incorporated. 

Prepare the tempura batter: whisk the egg, add the carbonated soda, then the ice cold water and gradually  ad the flour until the mixture is lumpy and airy with a consistency similar to double cream. Place in the fridge to chill. 

Place the cod (or other white fish) on a chopping boar and cut down the middle following the line in the middle of the fillet. Trim of any flabby bits and discard. Cut the fillet diagonally into 1 centimeter thick slices, working at a 45-degree angle so that each piece is cut on the bias. Aim for 12 equal sized pieces. 

Cut both varieties of potatoes into chips. Keeping the batches separate, rinse them in cold water and leave to rest in a colander. Heat the oil to 180 degrees Celsius in a deep fat fryer or large heavy-based saucepan. When the oil is ready fry each batch of potatoes for 4 minutes, leaving to rest in grease proof paper lines tray. Leave to cool down. 

Dust the cod pieces in flour, then dip them in the chilled tempura batter 4 pieces at the time. Fry for approximately 3 minutes until light golden and crisp, then drain on grease proof paper and season with sea salt. Repeat with the remaining fish. Finally re-fry potatoes for 4 minutes, drain and season with sea salt. Stack chips, place cod on to and serve with remoulade in a small pot on the side.