Japan becomes land of the rising haggis

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HAGGIS IS likely to be this year's hip dish in Japan, following a visit to Scotland by Tokyo's equivalent of Delia Smith.

Harumi Kurihara, whose recipes are instantly adopted as the fashionable dishes, returned to Japan at the weekend after a week of research. A Scottish issue of her quarterly magazine, Suteki Recipe, filled with recipes for Arbroath smokies, tatties, neeps and porridge, will be published on 1 December, and is expected to be as much a bible as Delia's Winter Collection.

"This is heaven," said Ms Kurihara, 52, of cuisine north of the border, before returning to Japan, where she has sold three million cookery books and five million copies of her magazine in five years. "I think the food here is more natural than in England. That is fine for our tastes. In Japan, we like simple, clean flavours, without complicated sauces."

Her favourite dessert was cranachan, a dish made from fresh raspberries, oatmeal, whisky, honey and cream.

"I was surprised how different porridge is here, compared with what we have in Japan," she said, adding that she had never used salt on it before.

Ms Kurihara's favourite starter was cullen skink, a smoked fish soup. Her main criticism, however, was of overcooked beef. "When I ordered Aberdeen Angus beef steak, I would say, `very, very rare', but still it would be too well-done."

Black pudding will be included in the magazine, as will haggis, which Ms Kurihara was spared in its unadulterated form, it being served in a small portion on a batch of oat cakes.

"I would love to show people in Scotland different ways to use their excellent ingredients," said Ms Kurihara. "I especially loved the flavour of carrots here. But vegetables here are under-used."

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