Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.


Salmon Hot Pot

A great one-pot dish, according to the authors this is one of the few dishes to appear in The Wagamama Cookbook that doesn’t feature on the restaurant menu. Wagamama has tried to redefine what it means to serve “fast food”, so it makes sense that this dish, that takes 30 minutes to cook, is better suited to being prepared at home. This has one of theĀ lengthiest cooking times of any meal in The Wagamama Cookbook, but as with most of the recipes the actual prep time isn’t too time-consuming. It’s a really good book if you’re looking for lots of delicious, Japanese-inspired, low-fat dishes.


400g (14oz) salmon

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 leek, trimmed and finely choppped

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 stick celery, peeled of any strings and finely diced

1 teaspoon sugar

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

salt and white pepper

75ml (3fl oz) light soy sauce

300g (10 1/2 oz) cooked rice


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Remove and skin and bones from the salmon and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil in a flame-proof casserole dish and when it is hot add the leek, shallot, carrot and celery and saute gently for 10 minutes.

Add the sugar and garlic, cook for a further minute and then add the fish and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the soy sauce, add 4 tablespoons water, cover and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Divide the rice between 2 bowls and ladle over the salmon hot pot.


Hake Tempura

My second dish in a week from the Wagamama cookbook. Tempura batter is far easier to make then it looks – the most important thing is to make sure the oil is hot enough, and cook the fish in small batches. The quantities here serves two.

Cook 300g Ramen noodles (I couldn’t get Ramen so used Udon noodles) in a large pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Drain thoroughly, refresh under cold water and divide between two bowls.

Combine half a beaten egg, 125ml cold lager (make sure it’s straight from the fridge), a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, a seasoning of salt and pepper and 50g plain flour in a bowl and whisk to form a light batter. Ensure there are no lumps before using. Heat 400ml of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until a little batter dropped in sinks to the bottom and rises up (if the batter stays down, the oil is not hot enough).

Skin 400g piece of hake and cut into 8 pieces. Dip four pieces in flour and then in the batter and deep fry for 5 minutes until golden and cooked through (When the first four pieces are cooked, transfer them to kitchen roll on a plate, and cover with another plate to keep warm while you cook the second batch). Make sure non of the pieces stick to the bottom of the pan.

Bring a litre of vegetable stock to the boil and ladle over the noodles (you mighn’t need all the stock, you want to keep some of the noodles above the liquid so you can sit the hake on a dry bed). Top with watecress and beansprouts. Put the fish pieces on top and sprinkle with slices of spring onion and chili.

Warm Stir-fried Chicken Salad

This is the first of two dishes I’ve recently cooked from the Wagamama Cookbook. I made a jar of the Wagamama salad dressing, the rest of which I can keep in the fridge and use again with other salads or as a marinade.

Put a teaspoon of sesame oil, 2 peeled and crushed garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce, the juice of a lime, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, and 1 trimmed and chopped large red chilli in a blender and blend until smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds. Put 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs into a dish, pour over the marinade, cover with clingfilm and marinate for at least two hours in the fridge.

Heat a wok over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until completely hot and smoking and add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the chicken, stirring constantly so the pieces cook evenly, and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until caramelised around the edges and cooked through.

Mix two handfuls of salad leaves with the dressing. Divide between two plates and scatter over some toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander. Top with the chicken and serve with a lime half on each plate.