Want to know how to live better for longer? The secret to adding years to your life and fighting disease as you get older could lie in re-evaluating what’s on your plate.
If you think your diet is already pretty clean, we have some news that could make it that little bit better. It turns out that the key to a long and healthy life may be eating more Japanese food! In Japan, the average life expectancy of 83.91 ranks an incredible third amongst 222 countries of the world, according to the CIA’s World Factbook Table. Japan is also home to more centenarians than anywhere else on the planet and their people are among the healthiest in the world.
Scientists believe their impressive health credentials are largely down to their nutritious diet. They drink green tea to keep illness at bay, munch on modest-sized meals and prefer a diet rich in fresh fish, fermented vegetables and rice over meat-heavy meals. The typical Japanese diet is also bursting with exotic flavours and textures, so taking your plate on a culinary tour of Asia is good for your body and fun for your taste buds!
These simple recipes from Easy Kitchen: Asian Food focus on authentic Japanese flavours. Try out these simple and delicious dishes for a fantastic longevity kick and a taste sensation!
Vegetables with miso and sake
TOP TIP- Miso is a fermented product, making it great for digestion and a dash of it adds depth to this deliciously simple soup. You’ll find edamame beans, also called soya beans, in the freezer section of your supermarket.
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200g sugar snap peas
- 200g baby courgettes, chopped into chunks on the diagonal
- 200g frozen edamame beans, defrosted
- Shoyu or tamari soya sauce, to taste (optional)
- 2 heaped tsp red or brown miso paste
- 1tbsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)
- 1tbsp sake
- 150ml dashi or vegetable stock
- 1tbsp cornflour
1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set to one side.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan until hot, then add the garlic and stir-fry over a high heat for 30 seconds.
3. Throw in the sugar snap peas and courgettes and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the edamame beans and toss, then pour in the sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until the veg is cooked, but still has a crunchy to it.
4.Taste and add a dash of soya sauce if you think it needs it.
5.Divide between 4 bowls and serve immediately.
Salmon, soba noodle and shiitake broth
- 1tbsp groundnut oil
- 250g shiitake mushrooms, washed, dried and halved
- 3cm piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled and sliced
- 3 x 8g sachets miso stock powder
- 1.5litres boiling water
- 200g buckwheat soba noodles
- 2tbsp light soya sauce
- 4tbsp sake (rice wine)
- 2tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 x 125g salmon fillets, cut into chunks
- 6 spring onions, sliced
- Pinch of chilli powder
- Sesame oil, to drizzle
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Then add the shiitake mushrooms and sliced, fresh ginger. Cook them gently for around 5 minutes, or until softened.
2. Put the miso stock powder and boiling water in a jug and stir until dissolved. Pour into the pan with the mushrooms. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Add the noodles and bring to the boil, then cook for a further 4 minutes, or until tender (they will continue to cook while you dish up so don’t overdo them). Add the soya sauce, sake and sugar to the broth and lower in the salmon. Reduce the heat to low so the broth is just boiling and poach the salmon for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through.
3. Fish out the noodles and transfer to bowls. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the salmon and place on top of the noodles. Ladle the remaining soup into the bowls, scatter with the spring onions and chilli powder and drizzle with sesame oil.