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Warming winter meals to enjoy with the family this weekend

Healthy children

Naomi Moriyama shares two delicious Japanese-inspired dishes that are perfect as a warming winter meal at the weekend.

One-pot Beef, Potato and Onion Casserole

This is a lovely meat and potato dish that is especially appealing in the winter. Serve the casserole at the table with some rice and another vegetable side dish or two. Serves 2–4


1 tbsp rapeseed oil
250g (9oz) lean sirloin beef, thinly sliced
250g (9oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, cut into thin wedges
2 tbsp low-salt, or light, soy sauce
a pinch of sea salt

  1. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole or large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat, and fry the beef for 3 minutes. Remove the beef from the casserole and set aside. Add the potatoes and onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Return the beef to the casserole followed by 100ml (31/2fl oz) water, the soy sauce and salt. Stir to combine. Partially cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
    If you want to keep the children entertained this half-term holiday, why not try making these dumplings together?

Beef, Mushroom and Vegetable Gyoza Dumplings

Serve these juicy, energy-packed dumplings for children with rice, soup and a tofu or vegetable side dish. It’s a fun recipe to make with children. Naomi learned how to make them as a girl standing next to her mum, pinching a gyoza wrapper to close it. The wrappers can be bought from supermarkets or Asian grocers. Serves 4


230g (8oz) lean minced beef
30g (1oz) napa, Chinese or regular cabbage, finely chopped
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms or other mushrooms, stems discarded, caps finely chopped
70g (2 ½ oz) nira (Chinese chives) or chives, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp rapeseed, grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
24 round dumpling wrappers
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the dipping sauce:
50ml (2fl oz) low-salt, or light, soy sauce
50ml (2fl oz) brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
shichimi togarashi, or mustard, to serve (optional, for the adults)

  1. Put the meat, cabbage, mushrooms, chives and spring onions in a large bowl. Season this filling mixture with a pinch of salt and pepper, if you like. Use your hands to blend the ingredients together.
  2.  Put a wok or heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. When hot, reduce the heat to medium, add 1 tbsp of the oil and swirl it around to coat the inside of the wok. Add the filling mixture, stir with a spatula, and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet or large tray with baking parchment.
  3. Fill a small bowl with cold water. For each dumpling, put 1 tsp of the filling in the center of a dumpling wrapper, then lightly dip a finger in the bowl and use it to trace around the inside of the wrapper, which will make it sticky enough to seal.
  4.  Fold the wrapper in half with the edge on top. Gently press the edges from right to left to seal the dumpling while pinching and folding every 5mm (1/4in) of the edge facing you to make a zigzag pattern. Put the dumpling on the prepared baking sheet with the crimped side up, and cover with wet muslin or kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining dumpling wrappers and filling.
  5. To make the dipping sauce, mix the soy sauce, vinegar and oil in a small bowl or jar. Set aside until ready to serve.
  6. Put a large frying pan that is deep enough to hold the dumplings over a high heat. Add the remaining oil. When hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the dumplings, crimped side up. Cook the dumplings, uncovered, for 4 minutes or until they are lightly browned underneath.
  7. Pour 225ml (8fl oz) water into the frying pan. Cover and steam-cook the dumplings over a medium heat for 8–10 minutes, adding a little more water if needed, until the tops of the dumplings are translucent, the bases are crisp-brown and all the water has evaporated. Serve with the dipping sauce.


Tip: You can use other protein, instead of the beef, if you like; for example, a beef–pork mixture –140g (5oz) beef and 90g (3oz) pork – or pork, chicken, turkey, fish, crab, or prawns.


For more recipes and advice on how to get your family to embrace a healthy lifestyle, read Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Children by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle.