Simple Chicken Nabe for One.


As the “samui” grunts enter the staffroom you know what’s coming: winter. My solution to tackle this season is nabe, lots of nabe. Nabe is a soupy hot pot recipe literally full of meat and veggies ready to cure your winter blues (or flu?). It can be enjoyed party style with all your friends gathered round a portable stove, or by yourself. Just you and your nabe. There are all sorts of traditions and rules about the cooking order of ingredients when it comes to this little ceramic pot, but here’s my version.


Serves 1

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes


Soup base:

8g of your favourite dashi stock in 500ml of boiling water

2 tsp mirin (Japanese rice vinegar)

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce



100g cubed chicken thigh

One carrot, thickly sliced

IMG_00071/4 of 1/2 (they are sold in halves!) a daikon radish (大根), thickly sliced

4 shitake mushrooms

1/3 of a 1/4 of hakusai cabbage (はくさい)

1 egg

1 packet of fresh udon

Olive oil for frying


1. Heat your nabe pot and keep at a medium flame. Add olive oil.

2. Brown the chicken.

3. Add soup base, carrot and daikon (these take the longest).

4. Turn the heat to low, cover nabe and simmer for 10 minutes (or until carrots and daikon become softer but not fully cooked).

IMG_11725. Tip in mushrooms and cabbage then cover again. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

6. Remove the cooked ingredients and add the udon to the broth. Crack the egg onto the udon and cover. Cook for 3 minutes.

7. Eat the vegetables and chicken first then finish with the udon or, as I like to, eat them all together with the soup!


Cherie Pham


IMG_2962Super Sticky Persinnamon Cake


In Japan, where a single apple can easily set you back a whopping 500Â¥, if someone offers you free fruit, you take it and run. In November, however, this attitude, led to my having nine ripe persimmons and no clue how to eat them all before they went bad. Naturally, this led to a day of experimental baking [due to a woeful lack of recipes using the fuyu persimmon we get in Japan]. The result, judging by the rapid disappearance of the cake from the staffroom, was a success.

If you ever receive a sack full of persimmon and are lucky enough to own an oven, try my autumnal Super Sticky Persinnamon Cake.


SONY DSCIngredients

– flour 125g

– oatmeal 100g

– golden caster sugar 100g

– cinnamon 1 tsp

– salt 1/4 tsp

– persimmon x3 (skinned and then grated – forms a bright orange pulp)

– honey 2 tbsp

– vanilla 1 tsp

– eggs x2

– plain yogurt 4 tbsp

– walnuts, 1 handful chopped

– raisins, 1 handful chopped

– butter (to line the cake tin)


SONY DSC1) Throw your dry ingredients together

2) Mix in the gooey persimmon mush, followed by the honey

3) In a separate bowl whisk up your eggs, vanilla & yoghurt, then add to the mix

SONY DSC4) Stir everything together until smooth before folding in the walnuts and raisins (taste the batter and add extra cinnamon if so inclined)

5) Pour everything into a circular 9″ greased cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C. Check after 30 minutes; stick a knife SONY DSCin and if it comes out clean the cake is ready! I think my oven cooks a little cool, so I cooked for a further 15 minutes.

Note: it is very moist and sticky thanks to the persimmon juice and honey. If you prefer your cakes a bit drier, add a little more oatmeal to the mix. If I make this again I would like to add some nutmeg, but spices in Japan can be tricky to find, and expensive when you do!


Charlotte Griffiths