Cookbook Review: Junk food Japan

Packing a heavy punch and offering a fresh new look at Japanese food, chef Scott Hallsworth of London’s Kurobuta restaurant prides himself on reworking the “Iazakaya” Japanese pub style of relaxed eating and drinking. Kurobuta serves food that is both incredibly inventive yet comfortingly familiar. The restaurant’s signature dishes—Barbequed Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with a Spicy Peanut Soy Sauce, Tea Smoked Lamb and Kombu, and Roasted Chilean Seabass—are packed with flavour and are guaranteed to wow friends, family, and hungry gatecrashers.

Featuring 100 recipes brilliantly showcasing the former Nobu Head Chef’s wild and inventive style, Junk Food Japan presents re-imagined Japanese classics, alongside a selection of new, stunning dishes, including Tuna Sashimi Pizza and Wagyu Beef Sliders. Superb photography from legendary photographer David Loftus features throughout.

Junk Food Japan: Addictive Food from Kurobutais available at and

Barbecued Pork Ribs with Sticky Honey, Soy and Ginger Glaze

No barbecue is complete without ribs. I don’t mean lightweight champions, the lamb ribs, or those caveman-like beef ribs, nor do I mean short ribs or pigeon ribs for that matter. I’m talking PORK! The word rib should be reclassed from a cookery standpoint so it only refers to pork in my view.

This is another great example of how doing some simple prep work the day before your barbecue will pay off.

Rib meat is pretty tough and so to get the best out of them you’ll need to slow cook them and let them cool down in their cooking juices. When it comes to barbecuing, you’ll need to grill them up, cold beer in one hand, tongs in the other, reciting dad jokes to your guests: so cool!


Serves 4 as part of a multi-curse feast, or 2 greedy buggers


1kg pork ribs, cut into 7–8 racks

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for grilling the ribs


For the master stock

1 whole garlic bulb, cut in half horizontally

6 spring onions

1 large knob of ginger (about 6 cm), cut into 3 or 4 chunks

1 long red chilli, cut in half

10 cm piece kombu

1 brown onion, cut in half

500 ml dark soy sauce


For the soy-mirin glaze

50 ml dark soy sauce

50 ml mirin


For the honey, soy and ginger glaze

160 g liquid honey

35 g grated ginger

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

25 g fresh lemon juice


To serve

black and/or white sesame seeds

½ red onion, finely sliced

½ green chilli, finely sliced


To make the stock, put all the ingredients in a large pan with 5 litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours, skimming off any scum that comes to the surface. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Rinse the pork ribs and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place the ribs into your room temperature master stock and bring up to a light simmer. Allow to simmer over a medium-high heat for around 1½ hours. The timing will depend on the pork itself, so this is a rough guide; the meat needs to fall away from the bone easily. When done, remove the pan from the heat and allow the ribs to cool to room temperature in the master stock.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the ribs from the stock and transfer to a container or bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Strain the stock into a large container and chill in the fridge until required. You can keep this base stock for ages (seriously, provided that it is boiled before each use, cooled properly before being refrigerated, you can keep the stock going for months or even years). It also freezes well if you’re a little suspect.

To make the soy-mirin glaze, combine the two ingredients in a spray bottle. To make the honey, soy and ginger glaze, mix all the ingredients well. Set both glazes aside.


Light your barbecue and get it hot.

Lightly oil the ribs and whack ’em on the barbie. We like to barbecue ours over charcoal but you could do them just as well on a solid, cast-iron surface.

Barbecue the ribs until they take on a little colour, spraying with the mirin-soy glaze every 30–40 seconds to allow the ribs to glaze up and get nice and sticky. When shiny hot and smelling fine, remove from the barbecue.

Get that pork on your fork… Drench the cooked ribs in the honey, soy and ginger glaze. Scatter with some sesame seeds and the red onion and green chilli. Now get dirty!

Recipe reprinted with permission from Absolute Press.



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