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

 

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

 

 

 

Chicken Teriyaki

Today’s menu was

: Chicken Teriyaki

: Spinach sesame salad

: Eggplant and Green peppers sauté with sweet miso sauce

:Rice and Miso-soup (Tofu and Seaweed)

The guests are fun couple from Switzerland!

They learnt hot to make Chicken Teriyaki TENTER and SOFT !!!So yummy !

It is always fun to talk about the different culture and we laughed a lots about each “fun” culture different.

Thank you for taking the class !

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

 

Private Seafood Class with Japanese wine ~February 2018~

The menu was;
Swordfish and salmon with Nanban-zuke sauce
Lotus with Mentaiko(salted Cod roe with red chili)
Eggplant with sweet & savory Miso sauce
Mis soup with clams
Rice, Pickled vegetables (Nuka zuke)

My guest for this class was a foodie lady from Boston, USA, who was interested in trying some Japanese wine (not Sake but wine produced at vineyards here) with Japanese home-cooking meals.

That was a very rare request as we usually choose Sake along with Japanese cooking. Some typical Japanese favorite like Siokara (salted squid) are so yummy with our Sake, but it will be a nightmare to pair it with wine.

On the other hand, there are various seafood dishes in our traditional meals and I love drinking wines from various parts of the world, so why not?

Here we are two happy girls being adventurous and we tried a few pairing! (I am very sorry our food were almost gone in this picture but please kindly think of this as a good sign!?)

I picked up a bottle from Yamanashi prefecture and another from Nagano pref. My guest told me that she has been studying not just wine tasting but also wine making at wineries! It was a perfect opportunity for me to get an authority’s opinion about pairing Japanese dishes with our domestic wines, how she like or not-like each pairing, how she would describe each taste, etc.

The words my guest chose to express her feelings, various aromas and tastes were truly impressive but all I remember now is that it was just a very happy few hours. Next time she is here, I swear I take notes.

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Ramen class; what really are inside this irresistible bowl? Nov 2017

Our beautiful season of Autumn was almost gone and the request from my American guest on this day was a bowl of Ramen, a perfect hot noodle dish for a chilly day.

He explained  that he was not really planning to prepare Ramen on his own after returning home, but he loved this food so much that he was curious to find out what ingredients and cooking method are used.  He said he wanted to understand what Ramen is exactly.

I was impressed that is a very nice approach and happy to share what little knowledge I have learned about Ramen.

We also made Gyoza, everybody’s favorite companion with Ramen, as well as simple cucumber & sesame oil salad.

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I buy my noodles from supermarket but soup stock is 100% home made. Pork leg bones are the main ingredients for my base soup stock and  some chicken wing tips and seafood Dashi stock are combined together. Then of course finish up the soup with soy sauce &  Mirin  used for simmering pork slice.

My American guest has been travelling several Asian countries such as Cambodia, Korea etc.  Japan was his final destination before flying back home and the day he visited my kitchen was his final full day in Tokyo so I really  hope he was happy  spending  his last hours cooking with us.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Passionate Japanese food lovers honeymooning from Israel, Oct 2017

Many of my guests are really passionate about Japanese food and it is always a great honor to get a chance to meet up with such people. This honeymoon couple  from Israel was definitely one of them.  They were fascinated to try a Japanese style vegetarian meal, including Tofu.

So the main dish was Sushi rolls with green vegetables, pickles and sesame. The couple chose a private lesson so we also did a few vegetable side dishes with three different sauces; sesame sauce, sweet miso sauce and creamy tofu sauce, as well as miso soup with vegetable stock.

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They were also very knowledgeable about Japanese history and interested in some antique plates and traditional  earthenwares, too.

One of my favorite Japanese earthenware is Oribe-yaki, old potteries in Gifu prefecture and known for its dark green colored glaze. I used my Oribe plates for our eggplant dish at this class and my guests kindly told me that they liked them  as well as various food we prepared together.

The next day, the couple surprised me with a news that they bought a rice cooker to take home after my class!

I hope they are now enjoying cooking Japanese food at their sweet home…

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Heard about Nuka-Zuke? -Private class on October 2017

Sometimes my experience with visiting guests reminds me of good old day’s memory with my grandmother, who was always busy in her kitchen.

Prior to this class in early October, I received a very interesting request from  a Canadian lady, who is keen to learn about fermented vegetables, if I can show her an active Nuka bed for Nuka-Zuke.

Nuka is the rice bran, looks and smells like wheat. After rice harvest, the bran is taken away from rice and we eat only the white core part of rice. But this rice bran can be used for fermented vegetables, or Japanese pickles, called Nuka-Zuke.

We add a little salt and some water to rice bran powder, which makes a perfect bed to culture lactic acid bacteria.  Once the condition is settled, you may add your favorite vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, radish etc.

The problem with this fermented pickles making is that you need to stir the Nuka bed at least once every day, or the good bacteria die out and bad ones become more active, in other words your vegetables would get rotten. My grandmother used to do all these works for her family and I enjoyed eating her beautiful works as a kid.

Yet it was so much work in modern days when you have a job outside your house, so my mother did not keep it going, nor did I, util I received this inquiry from my guest lady.

Suddenly I remembered what I used to be eating and wondered if I can do something. Thanks to our internet age, I found a Japanese pickles company who sells Nuka-bed for fridge!  You don’t need to take care of your Nuka every single day but once in a week with this product.

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So here we are at the class, with my Nuka-Zuke works of carrots and cucumbers, as well as mackerel with Miso sauce.  As is well known, Miso is  one of our traditional seasonings and it is made by fermenting steamed soy beans with salt.

I hope my guest liked my home made Nuka-Zuke.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko