GOHAN LAB / Spiedini of seafood and vegetables: Pre-steaming allows the ingredients to retain their color during cooking

Editor’s Note: The theme of Gohan Lab is to help people prepare simple and tasty “gohan” (meals).

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After waiting so long, many of you may be considering ending this year by having a house party with family and friends.

The three-part 2021 finale series will focus on perfect ‘winter party dishes’ for Christmas and New Years.

In Italian, “spiedini” means kebab dish. According to chef Kuniaki Arima, this is a classic dish in Italy served at house parties and often cooked on a grill. In this week’s recipe, the ingredients will be pan-fried.

One key to good cooking is “steaming”. By boiling the ingredients beforehand for an appropriate amount of time, the vegetables and seafood on the skewer will not burn in the pan and become full of flavor.

If the ingredients are cut the same size, they will look better and easier to eat. Spiedini will also taste great when seasoned with soy sauce or chili sauce.

While eating, “the idea is to hold a wine glass in one hand and the spiedini in the other”, explains Arima. So, try to have your favorite drinks handy.


Flat metal sword-shaped skewers were used in the recipe. Arima recommends them saying, “The ingredients are safe and easy to handle.

They are about eight inches long and are available at hardware stores, among others. Two to three skewers can be cooked in a pan with a diameter of 24-26 cm.

Soft pieces of seafood are less likely to fall off the skewer if sandwiched between hard vegetables. If you line them up so that one side becomes flat, the ingredients for the skewer will turn a nice golden color in the pan and become easier to eat.

If metal skewers are not available, bamboo skewers can be used instead. Since the ingredients will not stay fixed and could spin on a single skewer, two bamboo skewers should be used.


(Supervised by Kuniaki Arima in the cooking aspect and Midori Kasai in the culinary science aspect)

* Ingredients (for two people)

40 grams of cauliflower, 60 grams of turnip, 2 mushrooms, 4 shrimps, 4 scallops, 100 grams of marlin (kajiki), 1 clove of garlic, a little olive oil, 4 skewers metal

About 220 kcal and 1.9 grams of salt per serving

PHOTO A: First boil the vegetables. Since overcooked cauliflowers fall apart when skewered, cook the turnips first. (Photo by Masahiro Goda)

1. Separate the cauliflower florets and cut each in half lengthwise. Cut the turnip and marlin into bite-sized pieces. Cut the mushroom in half vertically. bring 1 liter of water to a boil and add 10 grams of salt. Add the turnip and 10 seconds later add the cauliflower and boil for 20 seconds (PHOTO A) and drain through a sieve. Boil the shrimp until they turn red and cook the scallops for a few seconds. Briefly immerse the marlin in hot water. Let cool, 3 to 4 minutes, until no longer hot.

2. Dry them with paper towels and place them on a cutting board so that the vegetables sandwich the seafood. Press lightly while slowly pushing the skewer into the ingredients from below (PHOTO B).

3. Sprinkle a little sugar, salt and pepper on the flat side of the ingredients. Add olive oil and garlic to the pan and heat over low heat. When the aroma rises, place the skewers flat side down and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes (PHOTO C). Turn sides and cook for about a minute more. Serve with old-fashioned mustard and lemon to taste.

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Kuniaki Arima is the chef-owner of Passo a Passo, an Italian restaurant in Tokyo’s Fukagawa district.

Midori Kasai is professor emeritus at Ochanomizu University and former president of the Japan Society of Cookery Science.


Seafood and winter vegetable salad (For two people)

Seafood and winter vegetable salad (Photo by Masahiro Goda)

In addition to the ingredients listed in the main recipe, cut 1/2 carrot and 1/4 red onion into bite-sized pieces. Steam as in No. 1 of the basic cooking method and drain through a sieve. Add a little olive oil and 1/2 clove of garlic in a saucepan and put on low heat. When the aroma rises, add the mushrooms. When they are golden, add all the other ingredients. Add 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, 1 to 2 bay leaves, 1/4 cup of white wine, a little salt and sugar, and sauté until the alcohol cooks. Add 1/4 of soup broth, 1 teaspoon of wine vinegar and put on the lid. Simmer and steam for 3-4 minutes.


The Asahi Shimbun

While kebab dishes are usually prepared by threading the ingredients onto the kebabs and grilling them over direct heat, they can be cooked in a frying pan. Some ingredients, however, can stay raw on the inside even if they are nicely browned on the outside. When cooking different ingredients at the same time, they will not burn or become tasty if each ingredient is steamed for the correct amount of time.

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Extract from the Gohan Lab section of the Asahi Shimbun

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