Sushi class on Jul 15th ’17

I offered a sushi cooking class for young couple from US.

I’m always happy to share all my knowledge of Japanese cooking and  food culture to people, mostly tourists who want to explore new world in Japanese cuisine.

Since I also have a license of Kiki-sake-shi, sake sommelier, it is my pressure to introduce Japanese sake to people.  People in my class sometime ask me how to choose good sake for drinking, for a gift and for bring it back to their countries.

Sake is fermented alcohol made from mainly rice, rice malt and water. Those ingredients  produce unique flavor, aroma, texture and umami in  each bottles. The  characteristics depend on the kind of rice,  process, water, and more in each brewery. Those combination create their own sake.

Today’s participants are interested in Sake. They’ve already enjoyed tasting sake during their trip in Japan.   Then I gave small “sake lecture” to them to understand sake better.

They are going to travel around Japan after the day. Hope the will enjoy sake in each region.

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Sushi tends to go with dry sake since the dryness wash out fishy taste in your mouth.   Hope you try!

 

Many thanks,

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramen Cooking Class on June 23rd ’17

I had a Ramen class and the  participants are wonderful couple   came from London today.

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You may figure out how cooking Ramen is complicated when you take the cooking class.  The key taste of ramen is how much  UMAMI containing in the noodle bowl.

I prepare some items for the ramen the day before.  Braised pork is one of them.  I tried to complete cooking ramen in 2 hours cooking time in the class, and I’ve tried to cook braised pork in an hour. However, the result is not good enough for me. May be I need more practice, but I couldn’t satisfied the taste and texture of the pork.  So I decided to cook in advance, the night before.

Many participants at the class were impressed on this braised pork. It takes time to cook, but the seasonings are quite simple: soy sauce, sake and sugar.

Cooked pork produces Umami a lot, so I used cooked sauce for ramen soup.

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I like to use pork shoulder for braised pork, but can be substitute to other part of pork.

 

Adding hot water to cooked pork seasonings becomes nice ramen noodle soup. My ramen cooking containing more umami into a bowl though. How profound  to know umami and ramen!

Many thanks,

Kisshy

 

 

Ramen without Dashi broth, still yummy! /June 2017

At this class, one of the guest preferred not to use any seafood. I usually make Dashi stock and pork /chicken stock for making Ramen soup. As you may have heard, Dashi stock  is the backbone for Japanese culinary but it uses smoked bonito fish flakes etc., thus not recommended if you do not like seafood.  But don’t worry, Ramen without Dashi turned out absolutely gorgeous with other seasonings. 

In fact, there are many recipes of Ramen around Japan and the variety just keeps growing all the time.  There are not a few bloggers in Japan who enjoy Ramen shop-hopping and report on each Ramen they tasted.

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Talking about blogs, another guest lady was a food blogger and her page was full of yummy photos. It was a pity I cannot read Spanish or Italian, the language she is writing, but all the photos are really mouth-watering. 

Her lovely daughter was also joining my cooking class. As a youngest participant, she was naturally appointed to hand-mixing of sticky Gyoza fillings, the most tiring part of Gyoza making but she has completed her mission very well.

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The whole family were such foodies that the father, a very skilled vegetable chopper, explained to me some interesting stories about Italian Ravioli making. It was a fun class with lots of food information exchange!

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I hope they enjoyed their time at my kitchen.  Many thanks for coming,

 

Akiko

Seafood Ramen & Gyoza class / June 2017

I received an inquiry for Ramen & Gyoza cooking class from a guest whose fiancee does not eat any meat. She preferred seafood and there were also other participants who liked regular ramen and gyoza with pork, so we prepared 2 types of soup, toppings and fillings at this class. 

I used clams for ramen soup, shrimps & scallops for Gyoza fillings instead of pork. The rest of the recipe is almost the same as regular ones.  If you are a seafood lover, this ‘marinara’ version of Ramen & Gyoza are also very delicious so please try! 

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The only concern was that everybody would be a little busier than usual with more tasks for each, yet all participants were very good at chopping vegetables and measuring seasonings etc.  Two little girls accompanying their Mum also helped us a lot, mixing 2 types of Gyoza fillings using their lovely little hands. IMG_5907

 

I hope my guests liked their food and cooking experience at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Love to cook, love Dragon Ball /June 2017

I welcomed a solo traveller from Florida, USA.  He looked like a professional basketball player (and he does play at uni team) but he was also keen to cook some Japanese home dishes.

There was no other partipants on this day unfortunatelly and we need maximum 2 persons to open a group lesson, but he was so keen that he didn’t mind taking a private class on his own.

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The menu was; a lot of Gyoza, a lot of sushi rolls, eggplant with sweet miso sauce and  a bowl of miso soup of course. He really surprised me with 2 things; first his  big appetite, then his T shirt.

He was the first guest I ever had who prepared a special outfit for this occasion of Japanese cooking class. It was a bright orange T shirt with the lette of 亀(Kame, a turtle) on it.  He was a great fan of the Japanese comic book story “Dragon Ball” since he was a little boy. He told me he bought it at Don QuiJote store in Tokyo.

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Once food are all done and we were ready to eat, he changed into his Dragon Ball T shirt and smiled for my photo! Good job, mate.

Thank you for a big smile and thank you for choosing us!

Akiko

 

Big lunch again with Mum & daughter from Singapore / June 2017

Sometimes I receive a very specific request on menus to cook at classes.

For this class in May, my guest, who turns out be a super woman (business executive & mother of 2 kids) from Singapore, asked me if we can try Oyako-don, Gyoza, Chicken teriyaki, Miso dengaku with eggplant and Japanese style potato salad.

That is a lot for one meal and the combination is not exactly what we normally do, but I understand it is a good chance to try different dishes for a visitor when time is limited. Obviously the lady has tried many Japanese dishes already so I was interested to hear her opinions on our food, too.

She visited me with her lovely young daughter who was a great help in the kitchen! She can slice and cut and stir with no problem.

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Among the menus my guest chose, I was curious to ask why she picked up a potato salad, as is a rather western menu to me.  She was after a Japanese style potato salad in particular, which her family tried before and became her son’s favorite.

What I think ‘very Japanese’ and what my guests like to learn at Japanese home cooking class may not be always the same. It is very interesting to discover what people are attracted in our food culture.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

Swordfish Nanbanzuke class with lots of vegetables/ May 2017

Today’s guest was a couple from France visiting various plasces in Japan.

The lady turned out to be on the early stage of her pregnancy.  As a mother of 3 kids, I was really excited to hear that and thought maybe some of the food & nutrition we cook will be becomimg a part of her little baby’s body, who knows!

What we parepared on this class was; Swordfish Nanban Zuke, eggplant with sweet miso sauce, spinach with sesame sauce and miso soup with cabbage and potatoes. Lots of vegetables dishes using naturally fermented  seasonings like Miso, Mirin and Soy sauce.

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Since she was not feeling for a very strong taste, we decided to use less amount of rice vinegar and soy sauce for Nanban Zuke marinade. It is one of the good things about hands-on cooking experience. You can taste your sauce and dishes as we proceed and are always welcome to adjust some parts of the recipe.

Her husband was a keen cook and he was quite knowlegeble about Japanese ingredients, which helped a lot.

I hope they enjoyed their time at my kitchen and their baby was enjoying his/her first Japanese food,too!

Many thaks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

 

Ramen & Gyoza cooking with Aussie & French couples / May 2017

By late May, weather in Japan would get quite humid, with our rainy season approaching. Yet we still received quite a few inquiries for hot noodle dish with soup, Ramen.  Indeed it is surprising but I am well aware now that Ramen has truly become one of the most popular Japanese dish around the world. 

On this class, I welcomed two young couples from Australia and France.  I put my air conditioner on so it is cool enough in the room to enjoy hot foods.

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Besides Ramen, we prepared Gyoza, Japanese style pot stickers or dumplings. This dish is also originated from Chinese culinary but we pan-fry them with a lid, instead of boil or steam. When cooked, we dip them in soy sauce and vinegar. If you like it hot and spicy, maybe add a few drips of Chinese hot chili oil which we call La-Yu. 

At my family, whenever eating Gyoza for dinner, we cook them on the table. There is a popular kitchen item called ‘hot plate’, which is actually a big and flat electric frying pan.  

The beauty of using this on the table is;

1) it saves a lot of time for cooking,

2) everyone can enjoy eating Gyoza while it is sizzling hot.

The only problem is your room might be full of Gyoza smell afterwards. If the weather permits, have your windows open, or put your kitchen fan switched on. 

Gyoza is often chosen as a menu for family and close friends casual gathering. It is also fun to warp them together, while chatting various things, as we did on this class!

In Japan, Gyoza wrappers are available at any supermarkets so we don’t make them from scratch. I am not sure about the situation overseas but hope my guests can find them with no problem at their home towns. 

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Private class with an experienced IT cooker /May 2017

Today’s customer had already taken a Japanese home cooking class several years ago and he liked it so much that he wanted to learn more. He was on his business trip to Tokyo so the schedule was a little difficult to sort out but we managed to make it happen! 

His request included mackerel with Miso sauce, eggplant with sweet miso sauce, and we made miso soup, too, along with a few other dishes.

Too much miso? No worries Miso is like cheese for Europeans. There are a great variety of Miso in different regions throughout Japan and even ingredients differ, some uses more rice, others add wheat, or only use salt and soy beans. Each family has its own favorite type of Miso I guess. 

Miso is salty but rich in nutrition and minerals, sich as vitamins, calcium, lactic acid bacteria, oligo saccharide, dietary fiber etc. which help to keep your digestion system in good condition. Some centuries ago, Miso was an important food to carry around for Samurai warriors on expedition, as it keeps for many months without freezing. And most of all, it is yummy! 

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My guest was such an experienced Japanese culinery cooker. He said at his home in UK, he cooks Oyako-Don, a chicken and egg on rice bowl frequently and  his girlfriend (non-Japanese by the way)  loves it, too.  How nice to hear that!

He works for a gigantic IT company so after all our dishes are completed, it was my turn to ask him a lot of questions about latest happenings in his industry.  

I hope he is now enjoying cooking some mackerel and eggplant with various Miso sauces for his loved ones.  Many thanks for coming! 

Akiko

Japanese cooking class for Tokyo expats

I’ve welcomed 3 young expats came from Australia  today for Japanese cooking class. I had a request to cook Japanese dish with local ingredients since the guests have been in Tokyo for several month for their work.

I’m curious how does the people came from foreign country live in Tokyo.  In my experience, I’ve lived in the US for 10 years with my husband  and sometime missed  food in my country. Groceries in stores are different and didn’t figured out right away how to cook and how to eat.

Especially Japanese grocery doesn’t show the name in English on the package. I believe it is not easy for the expats to find out what to buy and how to cook the ingredients.

Youngsters are sweet and motivated so I enjoyed cooking with them and  had really good time to talk.

We cooked Salmon Nanban-zuke ( salmon marinated in soy sauce based sweet sour seasoning with veggies), cucumber with cream sesame dressing and eggplant with miso sauce.  Those menus are common dishes at home cooking and you can substitute other ingredients, that I explained.

All they enjoyed the cooking and the taste.  Thank you for the great review in TripAdvisor.

 

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All they like the traditional Japanese dishes.

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Thank you for coming my class. Hope you all have a wonderful rest of your duty in Tokyo.

 

Kisshy