Japanese Kimpira Stew

Now, from the land of the rising sun, no we do not mean Yorkshire, we bring you a stew redolent with all the exotic flavours of the orient. Sorry about the purple prose but we really like this stew! There is an ancient Japanese story about Kimpira, something to do with the strength of the sauce giving humans the strength to fight bears, we would recite it here but we have forgotten it – just as well really as the following stew bears no relation to the traditional Japanese sauce, the cook who invented it just pinched the name. Well, it’s better than pinching the recipe.


1 Large Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Inch piece of Fresh Root Ginger
2 Table Spoons Shoyu
2 Table Spoons Sesame Oil
2 Medium Carrots
1 Small Swede
1 Small Cauliflower
1 Ounce Mushrooms
2 Courgettes
1 small head Spring Cabbage
1 small tin Sweet Corn
1 packet (50g) Arame
250g Kidney Beans
1 Block Plain Tofu (optional)
1 Sprig Fresh Parsley


  1. Ideally the kidney beans should be washed and then soaked overnight in cold water, if you have forgotten to soak them they will cook from the dried state but will take ages.
  2. First take the soaked beans, rinse them and put them in a pan with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Boil them fiercely for at least ten minutes then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until cooked.
  3. Wash the carrots and swede, peeling if not organic, and the cauliflower. Break the cauliflower into florets and chop or slice into small batons or dice. Bring a large sauce pan of water to the boil and blanch the carrot, swede and cauliflower together for five minutes then strain, reserving the vegetables and 500ml of the water.
  4. Peel and chop the onion and keep to one side for a moment. Wash the ginger, peel the garlic and blend them together in a little sunflower oil. If you have no blender chop finely or crush. Put the resultant paste in a large (4 to 6 pint at least) heavy bottomed pan. Add the sesame oil and shoyu and put on a low heat. Add the chopped onion and the garlic and ginger paste and cook gently for five minutes.
  5. While the onion mixture is cooking wash the courgette and wipe over the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Slice the courgette and the mushrooms if they are larger than button size and add to the pan. Allow to cook for another five minutes then add the blanched vegetables and the water you saved.
  6. Put the Arame in a bowl cover with boiling water and allow to soak for five minutes then add to the stew, adding the soaking water if needed to thin it out.
  7. Next wash and thinly slice the spring cabbage and add to the pan, drain the sweetcorn and add, making sure to give the pan a good stir to mix all the ingredients.
  8. Cover the pan and allow the stew to carry on cooking. Once the beans are cooked strain, rinse and add them to the pan, stirring well.
  9. If you are using Tofu, cube the block and add it to the pan. Wash and chop the parsley and add. Mix well and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve immediately. The seaweed and ginger give this stew a unique flavour and a rosy glow of inner fulfilment.

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