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Japanese tomato salad

Tomatoes have a natural affinity with soy sauce and miso paste, all three containing the savoury umami flavour that comes from naturally occurring monosodium glutamate. Shiso leaves are also a beautiful match, much like basil, and they give the dish a wonderfully floral, unquestionably Asian character. The tomatoes we were served at Hakubai as part of our Kaiseki dinner reminded me of how much I adore the way these flavours work together. 


Serves two as a side dish.




2 perfectly ripe, medium sized tomatoes

2 tsp white miso paste

2 tsp rice vinegar

3 tsp Japanese light soy sauce

1 tsp pure sesame oil (not the toasted kind)

½ tsp white sesame seeds

1 shiso leaf, rolled and finely shredded


What to do


Warm a small pan over a low flame and gently toast the sesame seeds so they take on a light golden colour. Remove from the heat immediately and allow to cool.


Carefully slice the tomato horizontally into evenly thick rounds and place in a shallow bowl. Pour any leftover juices into a small mixing bowl. Add the miso, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil to the tomato juice and stir to combine.


Pour the dressing over the tomato slices, making sure each slice coated. Let it sit for around 20 minutes so the flavours have time to get to know each other. 


Just before serving, scatter over the shredded shiso leaf and sesame seeds.


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