Sushi Roll & Karaage class for foodie Swiss boys

The main dish was Sushi Rolls with salmon, avocado, Shiso leaves, Takuan(pickled Daikon radish) etc. We also cooked some prawns, heads for Miso soup and the flesh for ball-shaped Temari Sushi.  

On this day, I welcomed two big Swiss guys who arrived at Tokyo just 2 days ago. For their body clock, it must be like cooking after midnight, but they were very happy and active, with lots of questions and fun talks! 

We also prepared Japanese style fried chicken, Karaage. Batter is not very thick and outside is crispy, inside of the chicken thighs so tender and juicy with good flavor of garlic, ginger and soy sauce. 

Of course, I asked my guests to shred our most important staple food, Katsuo bushi (smoked bonito fish), which we used in our Dashi soup stock for Miso soup. We Japanese are almost addicted to this Umami taste & aroma.  My Swiss guests found our home-made Miso soup very tasty, too.  He even took a very nice photo and send it to me. 

Our cooking classes are always REALLY hands on so I am afraid my jet lagged guests might go straight into bed afterwards… but I hope they enjoyed their first home cooking experience at Tokyo apartment. 

Many thanks for coming! 

Akiko

 

 

 

Double Main dish course of Tempura & Chicken Karaage

My guests from Canada requested;

Chicken Karaage, Japanese style fried chicken & Tempura with prawns and vegetables.

Summer is a great season to cook Tempura, as we have a variety of colorful vegetables perfect for this menu, such as Kabocha pumpkin, eggplant, Shiso leaves, and corn!

When I do Tempura with corn, I take all corn pieces off the cob with my fingers. This is a rather tiring process when I cook alone but my guests did it beautifully! So I could enjoy some yummy Tempura of corn at lunch table with my guests, thank you for my team!

If you are a fan of coriander/cilantro, chop a bunch of fresh green ones and add to corn. For this Tempura, I recommend to eat just with salt simply. Or maybe with some thick creamy Greek yoghurt with a pinch of salt & your favorite spices.

If not, our Japanese traditional Tempura sauce will do just as great. We use our Dashi(soup stock), soy sauce and Mirin. Mirin is a kind of Sake and very, very sweet but not a spoon of sugar added. We use this liquor mainly for cooking nowadays.

This traditional Tempura dip sauce works amazing with sweet seasonal Kabocha pumkin Tempura. That is one of my kids favorites but be careful when you cut kabocha, as its green skin is quite tough.

My young guests at this class were also really sweet and I enjoyed cooking with them a lot.
Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Tempura & Gyoza class

The main dish was… well, some of my guests liked Gyoza dumplings with pork, others Tempura with prawns and vegetables, so we ended up making both and share. Fortunately there were 6 guests in total at this class and everybody was really good at cooking, thus everything went so amazingly smooth! 

The  ingredients I chose for Tempura at this class were prawns, eggplants, Maitake mushrooms, Shiso herbs and pumpkins. I cannot miss Maitake as that is my favorite Tempura item.

For Tempura dipping sauce, our regular recipe uses Dashi soup stock, soy sauce, Mirin etc. But I also recommend to go simple ways especially in hot summer days, with salt and lemon wedge.

My guests were a famimly from Houston, USA and a couple from Gold Coast, Australia. One of the ladies pointed out that we don’t need to visit Asian food stores for any special supply if we try Tempura with salt and lemon. I absolutely agree!

As one of our side dishes, we prepared Edamame, green fresh soy beans simply boiled and salted. This is one of our typical summer snacks. At Japanese bars and taverns, Edamame will often appear with a glass of beer. It is one of the healthiest snack to go but only in summer. 

I hope my guests liked their home cooking experience at my kitchen!

Many thanks for coming,

 

Akiko

Maguro and more! Sushi class on hot summer day

The main dish was Sushi rolls with fresh Maguro(tuna) and salmon, as well as avocado, Shiso herbs, cucumber, pickled Daikon radish, sesame seeds etc.  My guests were also big fans of Tempura so we decided to cook a small portion with prawns, eggplants and Maitake,  my favorite mushroom. 

For ingredients of our Miso soup, I chose another kind of Japanese mushroom Enoki (very thin and white ones) and fried Tofu called Abura-Age or Oage, which has a spongy texture and great to be in soup. Not to forget the finishing touch, a few finely chopped scallions as we like to put something green on top of our Miso soup. 

My guest couple was from Washington D.C. USA, so they told me they are used to humidity. Still it was such a hot and humid day in Tokyo, unusual for late June. Sushi was a very good choice as it uses a lot of rice vinegar. I think it helps to understand the way of our cuisine if you actually visit Japan and taste things in our climate.

Both of them have very interesting professions. It was so nice to know that they manage to make a vacation to Tokyo out of their busy schedules and chose our cooking class out of so many great places out here!  

Many thanks for coming!

 

Akiko

 

Vegetarian & pork Ramen/Gyoza class

This  was going to be another pork Ramen and Gyoza class for an American couple from San Diego, until I receive a request from a family from Israel, one of whose daughters is Vegetarian but the rest of the family love Japanese pork Ramen. So we ended up making both together!

For vegetarian Ramen, I used dried Shiitake mushrooms and Konbu seaweed for a base soup stock. Then we also cooked fresh mushrooms and garlic with leek, soy milk, sesame paste and miso. For many vegetarian dishes, sesame does a great work but Miso is another very ideal seasoning. 

This vegetarian version of Ramen soup turned out very rich and creamy, in fact my other guests also enjoyed tasting this soup.

For vegetarian Gyoza, I usually use Tofu and another kind of mushroom called Maitake. The only thing you need to mind is that Tofu will not be as sticky as meat when mixed, so the ingredients tends to fall apart and it may be a little harder to tack the filling inside Gyoza wrappers. A few drops of sesame oil might help.

The only issue was that there were a lot  more preparations than usual and I did not take any photos of our yummy accomplishments (tears in my eyes)…

 Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Shrimp & clam Ramen & Gyoza class

 

The menu was;

Seafood Ramen with shrimp, clam & Japanese Dashi soup stock

Seafood Gyoza with shrimp & vegetables

spinach with sesame sauce

No chicken, pork but lots of seafood!  My guest couple from Ohio, USA,  really surprised me that they are enjoying various fish including Bonito & Hamachi (young yellow tail tuna) as Sashimi back home, thanks to a local seafood market with a good selection of seafood.

But it was their first time to handle the Katsuo bushi,  Smoked Bonito in a whole piece. Here they are shredding a piece of dry Bonito at my place. It looks like a wooden kitchen utensil but it is a half body of Bonito, who could have weighed more than 2kg when he was in the ocean.

My guest couple also tried another very Japanese ingredient called Niboshi/ dried sardins.  For soup stock, I rip off the head and soaked them in water, then simmer.  But we also enjoy eating them as it is, a very good snack for your bones if you care. My guests crunched a piece of Niboshi and actually liked them OK, which pleased me a lot of course!

It was a gloomy rainy day but just perfect for a cookig class event, inside home and lots of good smells!

I hope my guest liked their experience at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Seafood & Nuka-zuke class

The menu was seafood(Swordfish & Salmon) Nanban-zuke, eggplant with sweet Miso sauce, fresh seasonal Bonito marinade with garlic & ginger, Miso soup with fried Tofu and Choy Sum greens.

At this class, I welcomed young Swedish boys from Stockholm, a couple from Chicago, USA and a Canadian traveller from Ottawa .

A lady from US is very knowledgeble about fermented foods and she is making her own Kimchee, Sauerkraut etc. Naturally she was very interested in our fermented pickles i.e. Tsukemono. I was very happy to have a chance to show my Nuka bed and  we all tasted my Nuka Zuke-ed cucumbers and carrots.

A gentleman from Canada asked me what kind of wood chips Japanese use in making Katsuo Bushi (Smoked Bonito). That was an unusual question but later he turned out to be a semi-professional chef and makes his own smoked food. No wonder!

Congratulations my team  our lunch turned out really yummy !

At our lunch table, my Swedish guests also told us about their exotic fermented food, a kind of canned fish but my old brain hasn’t got enough memory to store this Swedish  name…

He told us that some Swedish people were trying to export this product to Japan at one stage, as we are known as  seafood crazy but not quite succeeded yet.

Thank you all for lots of interesting stories, many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

Pork Ramen & Gyoza class

My guest for this class was a group of Galician and French couples. It was their annual reunion trip and I was honored to be part of their vacation in Tokyo.

Our lunch menu:

Pork Ramen with Miso meat sauce, stir fried vegetables, soy sauce flavored egg, pork slice as toppings

Pork and vegetable Gyoza

Crushed cucmber salad

Lots of questions and lots of fun talks! My male guests were very keen to use Japanese vegetable knives and I love the way they paused for a photo, Spanish Samurai at my kitchen!?

Ramen soup has 3 components, pork bone soup stock, Japanese Dashi stock with smoked bonito, dried sardine and sun-dried Shiitake mushroom, and simmered pork sauce of soysauce & Mirin. We also prepare a variety of topping so it tales a lot of work and preparation to make this simple bowl of hot noodles.

At the class we also made Japanese style pork dumplings, Gyoza. The recipe is originally from China like Ramen,  but it is now a very common food for all Japanese families to cook & eat at home. We mainly grill the dumplings, then put the lid and steam to finish up our Gyoza.

I hope my guests enjoyed their time at my kitchen,

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bento Box & Gyoza Class ~May 2018~

My kids go to school with their Bento Box every day. In Japan, it is very common to bring your own box for lunch. Some mothers make such a pretty Bento Box and it is now a popular item on SNS, that is where my French guests from Luxemburg got an idea of making Bento Box in Tokyo.

 

We actually have a variety of Bento boxes accordingly to seasons, occasions etc. At this class, I chose a bamboo-made box of rectangular shape, nice for early summer entertainment table.

 

Inside of the Box are:

Onigiri(rice balls with Nori-seaweed)

Beef and Shiso(minty herb) roll with grated Daiokn radish sauce

Sweet egg roll etc….

 

For Bento Box, every item needs to be tiny and easy to handle. The menu required a lot of hand works but my guests did everything very neat & beautiful!

My guest couple also prepared Gyoza, Japanese style pork dumplings.

 

All turned out really delicious but hot sizzling Gyoza was definitely one of the best tastes for my guests.

 

Many thanks for coming & Merci Beaucoup!

Akik

Swordfish Nanban and more ~May 2018~

The menu for  the class was;

<Main dish>

Swordfish & Salmon  Nanbanzuke sauce (fried and marinade with soysauce, vinegar & fresh vegetables)

<Side dish>

Eggplamt with sweet Miso sauce

Spinach with sesame sauce

chicken Karaage

Miso soup with clams & rice

I tend to spend a lot of time explaining about basic ingredients we use for Japanese cooking, such as Katsuo Bushi (Smoked Bonito fish), Konbu, Mirin etc.  Sometimes the tastes of them  are too different for first timers to my country but my two beautiful guests on this day were doing very good.

With Katsuo and Konbu, we made soup stock and used it for Miso soup, as well as spinach sauce and swordfish marinade. They all worked out nicely  &  my guest completed our delicious and authentic lunch!

Later  I learnd that one of my guests was a professional model, another was a title-holder of marathon ( in business suit!?!?  )

Japanese food are rich in nutrition, low in calories so isn’t our food just perfct for them?

I hope they will enjoy cooking our food again in US.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko