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Presenter : Merrilees Parker


image: various picklesMerrilees Parker travels to the island state of Japan to learn about its unique food culture. Starting in its capital Tokyo, she goes to, Tsukiji, the world’s biggest fish market, where she encounters weird shellfish and 500lb tuna! Master chef, Romeo teaches her how to make the ultimate sushi, an art that takes years to master. Then it’s off to a ramen museum, where you can try regional styles of the noodle soup that is Japan’s fast food of choice. Although the Japanese have one of the healthiest diets on the planet, many of their ingredients are alien to the average westerner. Merrilees meets Elizabeth Andoh, a food writer who guides her round the unfamiliar ingredients of a Tokyo food hall such as miso and seaweed.

Escaping the city, Merrilees takes the bullet train to Matsusaka where she visits a farm that produces the most expensive beef in the world – the cows are fed with apples and beer and massaged daily! On toKyoto, the old seat of the empire where she’s immersed in traditional Japanese customs such as the tea ceremony and visits a 400-year-old restaurant. After shopping in its ancient market, known asKyoto’s Kitchen, she learns about the Japanese art of knife-craftingSoba noodles and tofu are other Japanese staples – Merrilees visits another ancient restaurant to try these before meeting the master brewer of a local sake brewery – a Brit! After a quick look at the ancient practice of comorant fishing, Merrilees travels to Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji for the annual Summer Fire Festival to gorge herself on wonderful street food.

Back in the suburbs of Tokyo, Merrilees is invited to the home of a lady who teaches her how to make tempura - an invite to a private home is an honour in Japan and the food is even better! Then Merrilees watches the preparation of fugu - the ultimate Japanese food fetish – a poisonous fish which can kill if prepared in the wrong way before ending her journey with a lesson in Japanese/European fusion cuisine.


TV Shows: Planet Food - Japan Recipes Miso Black Cod with Eggplant & Salmon Roe

Japanese Black Miso Cod


  • Black cod
  • Miso paste
  • Eggplant
  • Daikon radish
  • Paprika
  • Lemon pepper
  • Dashi stock
  • Mint
  • Shiso
  • Salmon roe
  • Chives
  • Fatty tuna
  • Salmon roe
  • Olive oil


1. Marinade cod in miso paste for 2 days

2. Wash cod, add olive oil and place under grill to brown

3. Slice a thick slice of eggplant and grate daikon radish

4. Remove skin from fish and place back under grill

5. Fry eggplant in oil until golden brown

6. Add dashi to water and simmer

7. Add grated daikon, shiso leaves and chopped mint leaves to simmering dashi

8. Strain salmon roe through dashi sauce

9. Place eggplant on plate

10. Pour paprika and lemon pepper sauce on eggplant

11. Place cooked cod on top

12. Pour on dashi sauce

13. Pour on salmon roe

14. Paprika and olive oil to season

Planet Food Japan: Special Sushi Roll

Special Japanese Sushi Rolls


  • Rice
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Nori seaweed Crab
  • Pickle
  • Sardine
  • Herring roe
  • Salmon
  • Buji
  • Tuna
  • Prawn
  • Cucumber
  • Omelette
  • Chives
  • Fatty tuna
  • Salmon roe
  • Prawns
  • Sea Urchin
  • Ginger
  • Wasabi


1. Wash rice 3 times before boiling then soak in rice vinegar

2. Wet edge of one piece of nori and stick to another piece

3. Grab a handful of rice and spread it evenly along the piece of nori

4. Turn rice side down and place omelette at one end of nori

5. Roll rice over the omelette

6. Add each piece of fish along the remaining piece of nori

7. Sprinkle chives on top of fish

8. Roll rice like a Swiss Roll over the fish

9. Put another piece of nori over the rice on the outside of the roll

10. Roll using bamboo mat to press tightly together without hands sticking to roll

11. Cut roll into quarters

12. Arrange on a plate and garnish with fatty tuna, salmon roe, sea urchin, prawns, ginger and wasabi.

TV Shows: Planet Food - Japan Recipes Tempura

Tempura by Ryo Katsuma


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 table spoons of mirin
  • Half a cup of bonito flakes
  • Eggplant
  • Capsicum peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Prawns
  • Squid
  • 1 Egg
  • Flour
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • Daikon radish
  • Ginger
  • Oil for deep frying


1. Add two-and-a-half tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tbsps of mirin and half a cup of bonito flakes to one cup of water. Bring to the boil and strain out bonito flakes. This will be the dipping sauce for the tempura.

2. Slice vegetables

3. Peel prawns and make incisions along belly to stop them curling up when being fried. Also chop off tail to avoid excess water contained inside making the oil spit when frying.

4. Score squid and wipe off excess water, again to avoid spitting

5. Make batter by adding one egg to three cups of chilled water. Add a pinch of baking soda to help make it crispy and mix being careful to leave the mixture lumpy to create a nice texture for the tempura batter

6. Dip vegetables in the batter before the fish to avoid making everything taste of fish

7. Heat oil to 160 degrees Celcius for vegetables and 170 degrees for fish

8. Put vegetables in oil first because they take longer to cook

9. Cooking time is measured in seconds rather than minutes but should be ready when oil turns golden

10. Grate daikon radish and ginger and add to dipping sauce

Places Mentioned - Japan

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