This lovely couple from Florida, USA was another big fan of Naruto & Ramen!
I always ask my guests to taste a few kinds of Miso in my stock. Basically the differences come from the percentage of rice & soy beans, amount of salt, period of fermentation, as well as special Koji fungas each Miso makers are using.
At this class, my guest couple loved our Red Miso so much that we decided to adjust the composition of seasonings and add a lot of Red Miso. The result was a nice and spicy bowl of Ramen we all really enjoyed a lot!
In mid June, our climate starts getting wet and humidity goes up higher and higher each day, that maybe one reason powerful tasete of Red Miso works great.
They were here to learn how to cook Ramen & Gyoza, so when they return home, their souvenir for friends looking after their doggy and family would be a table of Japanese style dinner. I loved that idea very much & hope I could be of a little help.
My guest couple was from Germany and Holland, beautiful performing artists and another people attracted by our comfort food, Ramen & Gyoza.
Both of them were very knowledgeable about Japanese cuisine, enjoying seeing a whole piece of smoked Bonito and dried Kombu seaweed etc. They are very important ingredients for our cooking.
Hot sizzling Gyoza was also something they loved while travelling in Japan. It is so simple and easy to prepare, once you hear a few tips! I hope they are now making Gyoza dumplings at times back in Europe.
Pork Ramen & Gyoza class for friends & brothers from Poland & Belgium!
I have noticed quite a few of my guests have learned about Ramen by reading Manga comic books. Indeed, many characters in past and present Manga love eating Ramen and those scenes appear oftentimes in stories, with very tempting drawings.
Maybe you have heard about NARUTO, one of the most popular Manga characters these days. Actually this is the name of one ingredient used for topping of Ramen. Naruto is a slice of white-meat fish cake with pink swirl design.
My guests, specially boys turned out to be another fans of Naruto so I was very happy to show them our ‘edible’ Naruto at the class.
Now for tasting’s sake, this fish cake is not a must, at least for myself. I guess this is more of a decoration to brighten up the colours inside your bowl. Yet it does make your Ramen looks more like the ones in Manga.
It was a “2 x Main dishes” class for a couple from Melbourne, Australia. This occasion was their 30th anniversary trip and I was very much honored to be a part of such special time with this academia couple.
Husband choice was Sushi roll, while wife’s choice was Agedashi Tofu and the couple decided to try both recipes at my Tokyo kitchen.
‘Agedashi Tofu ‘ means ‘deep fried(age) Tofu’ in a bowl of ‘dashi (Japanese soup stock)’. So now you may get a clear image of this menu. This can be a nice and filling vegan dish if you use Kombu & Shiitake mushroom soup stock for your Dashi. At the class, I normally use smoked Bonito and Kombu for my stock.
For my family, I sometimes add deep fried chicken tender, shrinp, aubergine, okura etc. as well as Tofu. Then this can be a big main dish for everybody.
Wishing my guest couple another wonderful 30 years together and many thanks for choosing our home cooking class!
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!
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!
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)…
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.
Swordfish & Salmon Nanbanzuke sauce (fried and marinade with soysauce, vinegar & fresh vegetables)
Eggplamt with sweet Miso sauce
Spinach with sesame sauce
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.