Private Class for Vegetarian Dishes with Autumn harvests

 

The main dish was chosen as Vegetarian Ramen for a guest lady from Israel who has been vegetarian for many years. Side dishes include cold fresh cabbage with Konbu marinade, Gyoza dumplings with lotus root, Kaki (persimmon) & greens dressed with creamy Tofu sauce etc.

My guest was very interested in Japanese Dashi soup stock with dried Shiitake mushrooms & Kombu kelp. Both are essential products for Umami in our cooking.

Kombu is very rich in glutamate or glutamic acid, which is contained in most vegetables but by far the most in dried Kombu. Another ingredient known for richness in glutamate is dried tomato.

Dried shiitake is known for its richness in guanylic acid or GMP, like many kinds of mushrooms around the world including dried porcini. This may be explaining why many Japanese people are deeply in love with Italian food!?

My guest lady was a medicinal food professional with a vast knowledge about Chinese herbal medicine & dietary, so it was very inspiring to share some time with her in the kitchen cooking and talking about various vegetables and foods!

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Seafood lovers from Down Under

 

The main dish request was something seafood but not Sushi, so I recommended my favorite dish, Nanban Marinade of salmon!

My guest couple was from Australia and they were also visiting Taiwan and Hong Kong prior to their arrival into Tokyo. Both are dream destinations for foodies in Japan and I had a lot of questions to ask!

To be honest, I have spent a lot of time working as a travel writer so I am good at asking questions, rather than answering them. But of course I answered all my questions from my guets, too (I hope I did).

We also cooked two side dishes with great sauces; sweet & savory Miso sauce for grilled eggplants & sesame sauce for spinach, full of aromas!

My guest liked sesame sauce very much that she told me she was going to get a traditional sesame pounder.

I hope my guests liked their home cooked food at Tokyo apartment…
Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Chicken Karaage & Chicken Lotus Meat Balls class

The main dish request was Chicken Karaage, one of our best sellers & very popular home cooked food all over Japan!

We also cooked chicken meat balls with our autumn/winter vegetable, lotus root, seasoned with Miso.

When I cook these chicken menus for my family, I usually pile them up on a simple big plate and tell my kids ‘Help yourself!’ But for my guests from Australia, I chose a little bamboo basket to serve our chickens to add a touch of Japanese taste and welcoming feeling.

In our rice, we added some Black Rice. This type of rice is popular among Japanese ladies lately as it is rich in fiber, vitamin B, minerals etc. In short, good for your health & beauty!

As we enjoyed our lunch, we talked about various social & cultural topics of Japan as well as Australia. Very relaxing moment with yummy food after a few hard working hours at kitchen!

I hope my guest ladies form Australia enjoyed their time at my place as much as I did.

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Gyoza party with happy American foodie girls!

The requested main dish was Gyoza dumplings. I suggested my guests if they don’t mind putting shrimp as well as pork in the fillings, which they also liked very much and it turned out as a great success!

One of my guests lived in Japan when she was a little girl. She said her memory from those days weren’t very clear, but she certainly remembered the taste of our traditional Dashi soup stock.

Her friend also tried Katsuo bushi (Smoked Bonito) grating and both found it full of flavors, almost like bacon from the ocean!

We made Miso soup from Dashi soup stock of Bonito, adding some thinly sliced pork, potato, lotus roots and onion. With a small piece of left-over lotus root, we fried lotus chips, too. This is my favorite appetizer and nice if you are welcoming vegetarian guests or almost anybody.

Several days after the class, I heard from one of my guest girls that she was doing a Gyoza party with her friends back in US! What a happy news!!!

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Lots of seafood for a US athlete couple

This was a 2 main dish course request from an American couple. We cooked Salmon Nanbanzuke marinade and Okonomiyaki pancake as our main dishes, plus a few side dishes with vegetables and seasonal fruits.

My guest couple was both very fit as regular climbers and bouldering experts, so salmon was a good choice for their muscles. We also chopped some squid and put in our Okonomiyaki, as well as pork, cabbage, leek and Naga Imo potato, which is exactly how I make it for my family.

When I asked him if there is any favorite Japanese ingredients, he replied

” Unagi and Uni (eel and sea urchin)!! ”,

so I knew he is quite familiar with our dietary, then it turned out his Mum is Japanese!

Obviously he has been eating yummy Japanese home made dishes all his life, and I  do hope that he & his girlfriend liked what we prepared together at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Vegetarian & Chicken Ramen for a family reunion

It was a request from a daughter who is now working in Germany to cook vegetarian Ramen & Gyoza, with her loving parents visiting from Australia. My pleasure to host a family reunion in Tokyo!

For Mum and Dad, we cooked some simmered chicken for Ramen and included pork in Gyoza filling.

For vegetarian Ramen, the topping was fried Tofu, cilantro, diced tomato, stir-fried eggplant & mushrooms etc. Of course soy sauce and Mirin flavored egg, too.

There was a lot of preparations to do but my guest family made it and our lunch tasted wonderful!

Before coming to my place, they were travelling the route of a Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho’s tour up north to Matsushima and it was very interesting to hear about their experiences, including a beautiful Haiku poem father created during his stay in Matsushima!

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Pork ramen class with guests from Hamburg & Pescala

My guests for this pork ramen & gyoza class were couples from Pescala,  Italy and Hamburg, Germany. It was a terrible morning  as the huge typhoon was passing Japan the night before and our notorious rush hour trains were packed and crowded as ever!  Still they all managed to arrive at my place & I was very very grateful.

One of their favorite was  ‘Char siu’, grilled pork slices on top of Ramen. They showed me a few photos of Menya Musashi bowls and my goodness, their pork slice is so thick!  For sure, Ramen is evolving in various directions….

It was also very interesting to hear about various types of Ramens in Europe today. I love exchanging foodie informations!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Honeymooners from Tel Aviv cooking Japanese comfort food

Today’s class guests are happy sweet honeymooners from IT capital, Tel Aviv, Israel. We cooked Ramen with pork soup stock.

I also adventured to use simmered Konbu kelp in cabbage salad, which is our family’s favorite quick dish. Here we use Konbu like herbs and it goes really nicely with sesame oil. Please try if you have some left over Konbu after making Dashi broth.

The couple told me some very interesting stories about their culture & life, my favorite part of doing cooking classes for travellers!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Pork Tonkotsu Ramen with a Canadian couple

The main dish was pork “Ton-kotsu” Ramen and Gyoza with pork & vegetables. It is amazaing how Ramen is so popular recently!

One of my guest has a Chinese family and he told me he used to wrap Gyoza once every week to help his busy Mum. He also worked for a restaurant in Vancouver for almost 10 years. No wonder he makes Gyoza and fried vegetables so effortlessly!

It was their first time to grate smoked Bonito fish but they both liked the flavor.  We made Dashi soup stock with Bonito and added into pork broth.

Of course everything turned out very yummy.

I hope my guests enjoyed our Japanese style dumplings and soup noodles.

I also enjoyed seeing him frying, Wow!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko