Fri | Jun 22, 2018

Cooking Japanese in Jamaica - Tofu and okra mix & grilled salmon

Published:Thursday | January 31, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Ai Irisawa-Coney
Grilled salmon.
Tofu and okra mix. Contributed photos

I hope you have been sticking to a healthy diet after I introduced some very healthy Japanese recipes in my last column. And for those who did actually try the recipe, you will agree that healthy does not mean boring or tasteless. It can be filling and delicious.

Continuing those healthy and delicious recipes, today I am going to show you how to make tofu and okra mix which is high in pectin, protein, fibre, potassium and vitamin. And this recipe is perfect for vegans too.

I, also, am going to show you Japanese-style grilled salmon.

In Japan, okra is known as the perfect diet food. The component pectin in okra (which is what makes it sticky, especially when boiled) slows down the absorption of fat in the body. It works best when it is uncooked or cooked only for a few minutes. Remember, overcooking vegetables will destroy all the nutrients, and you should always try to avoid that.

What is so great about this dish is that it is potent and goes well not only with rice, but also with toasted bread, crackers and even with slices of avocado. And since it takes such a short time to fix, we can eat them whenever we feel hungry.

Most times when we get hungry, to avoid the stress of cooking, we settle for ready-made junk food high in carbohydrates, fat, sodium and sugar. However, this recipe is quick and easy.

no 'cooking'

With this recipe, you just crush some tofu, slice some okra and mix them well with dressing before digging in. So no actual "cooking' is involved except cooking the okra for a maximum of two minutes.

To complete the dinner, we can add small slices of grilled salmon, which is extremely simple and easy. Like mackerel, salmon is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B and D, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus and selenium. Some of the health benefits of salmon include lowering bad cholesterol, strengthening heart and muscles, lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels, preventing hardening of your arteries, improving brain function, improving memory and even protecting your nervous system from deteriorating or ageing.

This kind of comfort food you can have more than once in a week and I guarantee your body will feel better.


Ai Irisawa-Coney managed a Japanese restaurant in Soho, London. She is also a founder of Epiphany Media Solutions and ACI Consultancy in Kingston, Jamaica.

Tofu and okra mix & grilled salmon

Tofu and okra mix

Cooking time: five minutes or less

Serves 2 persons

300g of tofu (preferably silken tofu which is sold in water)

150g of okra (choose small ones as they are soft)

Pinch of salt

4 tbs soy sauce (ideally Kikkoman Brand)

2 tbs grapefruit juice

1 tbs high-quality sesame oil

Cooking Instructions

Wash okra. Select small ones as they are softer and sweeter.

Cook okra for a maximum of 2 minutes (I sometimes skip this process and use raw okra). Slice them into very thin slices.

Crush uncooked tofu and mix with okra with a bit of salt (which you can skip), soy sauce, grapefruit juice and sesame oil.

And you're done!

Japanese-style grilled salmon

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves 2 persons

200g of salmon

Salt to season

20g of daikon radish

1 tbs oil

2 tsp soy sauce


Cut salmon into 100gm pieces.

1 tablespoon of cooking oil into frying pan (if you are using oven or
grill, there is no need for oil). Then cook salmon for 5 minutes each

Meanwhile, peel and grate daikon radish for garnishing.

Before eating, pour on some more soy sauce to taste.

You can serve with boiled rice.