Sometimes food inspiration strikes seemingly out of nowhere, and you just have to go with it. This was the case recently when my love of Japanese and Italian food combined to form the idea of creating a Japanese inspired pizza. After all, if noodles can travel from China to Italy as the legend goes, then why can't pizza travel from Italy to Japan? And if a pizza can be made 'Hawaiian' for example, simply by adding a slice of pineapple or two, then why not? The ideas started to form. It had to have a sourdough base, because pretty much everything dough based in our house is made the sourdough way now. Then it had to include a few Japanese inspired toppings like tofu, miso, seaweed, aubergines, mushrooms, and spring onions. So far so good, whatever happened it should be edible at least.
As I was making the sourdough bases I couldn't decide on toppings, and had more than enough ideas for one pizza, so decided to make two instead. One seaweed based, and one with the tomato sauce replaced with miso tahini spread, a macrobiotic favourite. They turned out to be quite different from each other, and yet both were tasty enough to want to make again soon. The miso tahini spread one in particular was very 'cheesy', and Scooby said, "it tastes more cheesy than cheese". The seaweed based one tasted very much 'of the sea'. Both were very clean tasting, and went well with a couple of simple salads, one simply of lettuce and mayo, and a carrot one included below. These experiments yielded some good results, and these won't be the last Japizzas we make!
At the time I had no idea if there was such a thing as a Japanese pizza, but had heard of Okonomiyaki which is sometimes called Japanese pizza, even though the main resemblance is the shape. It's more like an omelette though, and is based around eggs, cabbage, cheese, and mayonnaise. Maybe that could be veganised and revisited another time? I have since learnt that the Japanese do in fact have a few fusion versions of pizzas, but they are hard to source outside the big cities, and usually consist of seafood based ingredients, as well as having the usual Italian staples on offer. Could this possibly be the first vegan Japanese fusion pizza ever? We will now keep our eyes peeled for mentions of Japanese pizza on social media, but remember... you saw it here first!
Seaweed Tofu Aubergine Pizza
Pizza base (we made our own sourdough ones)
Seaweed tartare/paste (we used Marinoe brought back from Brittany but a U.K. alternative might be Parsons Laverbread
1 finely chopped spring onion
Thin (5mm) slices of tofu (we used half a block of Taifun smoked almond and sesame)
Thin (5mm) aubergine slices (approx. half an aubergine)
A drizzle of oil
Spread the seaweed tartare/laverbread on your base, and sprinkle the chopped spring onion over this. Add the slices of tofu and aubergine, and add a drizzle of oil on top. Cook in a hot oven for 15-20 mins.
Miso Tahini Pizza with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Aubergines
Miso tahini spread (mix 2 tbsp miso, 1 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp water, and half a spring onion finely chopped).
4 thin aubergine slices
2 medium mushrooms sliced
1/2 a red romano pepper sliced
A drizzle of oil
Spread the miso tahini sauce on the base, add an aubergine slice in each quarter, and add the sliced mushrooms and peppers on top. Add a drizzle of oil, and cook in a hot oven for 15-20 mins.
8 carrots grated
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Nori seaweed flakes
Mix everything together and let sit to marinate for 30 mins before serving.