Hojicha smoked venison sashimi and kabocha kinpira

  • 2
  • 1 hour 20 minutes plus 2 days for pickling the kumquats
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This dish from Koya's Shuko Oda uses rice and hojicha-infused smoke to flavour her lightly seared venison sashimi. The venison is served alongside pickled kumquats, a quick carrot and kabocha kinpira and a homemade tingly sansho pepper salt. The sauce for the kinpira is made with Mizkan Honteri, a mirin-style seasoning, which makes a great low alcohol replacement for mirin. This recipe makes more brine than you will need, but any leftovers can be used to pickle other vegetables such as carrots and radishes or even fruit such as pears.

First published in 2023
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Pickled Kumquats

  • 5g of dried kombu
  • 100ml of water
  • 220g of rice vinegar
  • 75g of cane sugar
  • 15g of salt
  • 5g of soy sauce
  • 70g of kumquats, thinly sliced and deseeded


Sansho salt

  • 1/2 tbsp of sansho pepper, or use Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt

Smoked venison


  • Bamboo steamer



First, prepare the pickled kumquats. Mix together the kombu, water, rice vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce until the sugar and salt are dissolved


Weigh out 70g of the brine, reserving the remainder for other pickles, and pour over the kumquats. Leave them in the fridge for at least 2 days before using

  • 70g of kumquats, thinly sliced and deseeded

To make the sauce for the kinpira, add the Mizkan Honteri, sake and soy sauce to a pan. Simmer over a high heat until the volume has reduced by half


Toast the sansho or Sichuan peppercorns in a pan until fragrant, and then crush them with the sea salt in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle

  • 1/2 tbsp of sansho pepper, or use Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt

Heat up the sesame oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the kabocha and carrots until just tender, but retaining a little bite

  • 12g of toasted sesame oil
  • 100g of kabocha, julienned
  • 80g of carrots, julienned

Once tender, transfer the carrots and kabocha to a bowl, and pour some of the kinpira sauce, tasting until it is seasoned enough. Drain the pickled kumquats and add them to the bowl. Mix well


Massage the venison haunch with unroasted sesame oil and season with salt


Heat up a heavy pan over a high heat. Sear the venison until browned on all sides, then remove from the pan from the heat and set the venison aside


Next, prepare the steamer for smoking the venison. Line the bottom of a pan with two layers of foil. Add the tea and rice on top of the foil


Place the pan over a high heat, and then heat up until the tea starts to smoke


Once the tea starts to smoke, turn the heat down to medium. Place the venison in a bamboo steamer, place the steamer on top of the pan, and top with the lid


Smoke the venison for 5 minutes, then take the steamer off the heat and take the meat out of the basket to rest for a couple minutes


Slice the smoked venison and plate alongside the kabocha and carrot kinpira and a small pile of the sansho salt. Drizzle over the remaining kinpira sauce

First published in 2023

Shuko Oda spent much of her life living between Japan and the UK, making her the perfect person to combine traditional Japanese cooking and seasonal British ingredients at Koya – one of Soho’s most cherished restaurants.

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