On Friday 9th November, in partnership with Irene Arango, founder of Bliss Bites and Detox, we taught the next instalment in the World Raw Food Series. These workshops look at different cuisines from around the world and include a demonstration on how to make the recipes and a sit down dinner afterwards.
This workshop focused on Japanese cuisine. Japanese food is very popular and uses beautiful aromatic flavours, delicate ingredients and has many health benefits. We only have to look at Japan having the longest life expectancy and minimal levels of obesity to conclude that they must being doing something right with their food. In terms of raw cuisine, we wanted to stay faithful to Japanese principles but also put our own spin on the recipes to ensure that they are raw and have the highest levels of nutrition possible.
There are certain aspects of Japanese cuisine, which a number of people avoid, including meat, soy products and cooked food such as rice. We aimed to demonstrate how alternatives to these foods can be made and incorporated into dishes, so that the authentic Japanese dining experience can still be enjoyed. The workshop started with refreshments and the guests got to try the first recipe, wasabi coated almonds. The first recipe demonstrated was raw nut tofu, an excellent alternative to soy-based tofu. This ingenious recipe uses Irish moss, a thickener commonly used in raw food recipes and agar agar flakes, a natural vegan gelatine to create a food which has a remarkable tofu like texture and a subtle but flavoursome taste. This recipe definitely sparked the guests’ interest from the start!
After this demonstration, raw sushi was the next recipe to be shown to guests. This recipe uses parsnip to create the rice filling and traditional nori sheets. The beauty of sushi is that there is a huge variety of different fillings that can be used, which can allow the person making the sushi the freedom to customise the dish to their own tastes. We involved the audience a lot in this part of the workshop, allowing people to come up, prepare and roll their own sushi, with excellent results! As well as using parsnip ‘rice’, we also demonstrated how to make a beautiful pink rice, which uses beetroot juice or powder to colour the rice.
A number of salads were also demonstrated on the evening. The first to be made was a seaweed salad. Sea vegetables, such as wakame and hijiki have long been recognised as hugely beneficial for health, due to the high levels of antioxidants and trace minerals they possess, their highly alkalising effect on the body and the fact that they can also help in the breakdown of carbohydrates and improvement of thyroid functioning. The seaweeds were mixed with other vegetables and coated in a thick and creamy ginger miso dressing, which complements this kind of salad really well. The other salad made on the night was a broccoli, carrot and almond salad, dressed with a light and very flavourful dressing, which used a number of Japanese flavours such as sesame oil and rice vinegar, for that authentic taste of the Far East.
To round off the savoury part of the dinner, a miso soup was made. This incorporated the nut tofu made earlier on and also contained barley miso, seaweeds and spring onion.
The final dish to be demonstrated was a macha green tea ice-cream. This delicious and highly satisfying non dairy ice-cream includes cashew nuts, macha green tea powder and coconut oil blended and then placed in an ice-cream maker with blissful results!
After these demonstrations had been completed, the dishes were enjoyed as part of a sit down dinner. Refreshments included Japanese plum wine and kombucha, a cultured drink, which can help to promote a healthy digestion. It was a great night, highly interactive and fun for all who took part. Irene and myself are very much looking forward to the next instalment of the world raw food series, which will be taking place early next year. Please sign up for my newsletter to receive details of our upcoming workshops and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.