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

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

Vegetarian & pork Gyoza gathering with couples from Israel & USA

This was another Gyoza class but we prepared 2 kinds of fillings, one is our regular pork & vegetable Gyoza, then Vegetarian version with Tofu, mushrooms and vegetables.

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Tofu, or bean curd,  is widely known around the world but I have noticed Tofu available in other countries are not always the same as ours in Japan.  Not a few of my guest were surprised to see our Tofu and told me that their Tofu were harder in texture, not as fresh as the ones we normally get here.

Good fresh Tofu has an earthy flavour of soy beans. It is tasty as it is but also makes  a great substitute for pork meat when you prepare Gyoza fillings.  It  is also super easy to mix with other ingredients. Sometimes our Tofu is too fresh so just make sure to drain it a little before you use.

It was the beginning of Autumn in Tokyo, the perfect season to use mushrooms in home cooking!  We have a big variety of reasonable  mushrooms in Japan, such as Shiitake, Maitake, Enokidake, Shimeji, Hiratake etc.

Sun dried Shiitake mushrooms make a great soup broth, which is an ideal  substitute for our famous smoked bonito fish .  I use this dired Shiitake broth as Dashi for 100% vegetarian miso soup and it is very tasty, both for vegetarians and non-vegetarians!

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At the class, non-vegetarian guests also tried vegetarian Gyoza and they seemed to like it as well.

The only concern was if my guests could find the ready-made Gyoza wrappers at the supermarkets in their neighbourhood…. I am crossing my fingers that they did in Tel Aviv and Boston.

Many thanks for coming to my kitchen!

Akiko

 

Sushi roll class with couples from Ireland and Canada-September 2017

I received a request for Sushi Rolls from a Canadian couple, then another couple on honeymoon from Ireland joined our class.

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Since Sushi Rolls are widely eaten overseas now and all of my guest for this class seemed pretty accustomed to eating seafood, I wanted to try something different as Sushi fillings.  At the nearby supermarket I decided to pick up SUJIKO, along other regular ingredients such as tuna, salmon, cucumber, Shiso leaves etc.

Sujiko is salmon eggs, protected in thin membranes inside salmon mother’s belly. When salted as it is, we call it Sujiko. When membranes are removed and each eggs are separated like cavier, we call it Ikura.  Both are  scarlet in colour, full of rich oily taste,  and quite salty.

They are one of my favorite Sushi ingredients but I was not sure if my guests from overseas would like Sujiko or not.  Still I thought  its colour and taste gives a nice twist to Sushi rolls so I showed them my Sujiko.  I was very happy that my guests were all adventurous enough to accept my recommendation.  Actually some of them  have already tried them  before and found them just fine.  Small world !

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So I failed to surprise my guests but we all enjoyed our hand made Sushi rolls and other side dishes, including miso soup of course.

I hope my guests enjoyed their time at my kitchen,

Many thakns for coming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another ramen class on October 20th

It’s been so much rain in Tokyo in these days and this morning as well.  I believe taking cooking class is a good activity during rainy days.

I welcomed beautiful couple this morning for my ramen class.

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Look at his concentration!

I heard the woman, Ms. K is a good cook, and the  man, Mr. N doesn’t cook that much before the class his self-reported.   However, he is a good concentration and does precise work so Ms. K and I are impressed. So I call him as Chef N. at the class.

We enjoyed chatting during the cooking time mainly about how to prepare Japanese cooking. Ms. K is such a gentle and joyful girl.

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Then our highlight of the class, making gyoza time.

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Then  the work conduct in beautiful shapes of gyoza and all satisfied with them.

As TV crew came for shooting our gyoza lesson in Akiko’s class the other day, it seems gyoza become Japanese popular dish these days.  It is fun to make gyoza as well as eat them.

Many thanks,

Kisshy

 

Pork Ramen & Gyoza class with TV crew! -September 2017

After my  summer vacation, this was the first class at my place and very memorable one indeed, as I hosted 2 fun  couples from NY and Paris.  We also received an inquiry from local TV in Tokyo that they wanted to film visitors coming from overseas for Gyoza making class!

I was very nervous but thanks to my cheerful & talented guests, everything went really nicely!

A young lady from Paris already had good skills for Gyoza making and her frills on Gyoza were just amazing! There were lots of Wow!s at her works during the class.

Another lady from NY is a professional voice actress so she’s got a beautiful & soothing voice,  and she was such a mood maker which helped a lot to make me feel confortable even with TV people with big camera etc.

TV  people asked many questions to my guest, such as “have you known Gyoza before coming to Tokyo?”,”why you wanted to try making Gyoza?”

I was curious to hear their answers and found out that there is a Gyoza bar in Paris now. In NY you often find Gyoza in Bento box with rice but these Gyoza are usually fried, not grilled.

My guests said that Japanese style Gyoza are crispy on the bottom, then the top part are tender, which is different form Chinese styles of steamed or boiled Gyoza.

I adore Chinese style dumplings and personally I think they are more authentic with a great variety, but requires much more skills & practices(at least to me…).  What I like about Japanese style Gyoza is simple; it is so easy to make, ingredients are very reasonable, and fun to eat with your families and friends!

By the way we made delicious pork Ramen,too! Here are some photos. Sorry Gyoza are almost gone at this stage but you must come and find yourself!

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Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gyoza & Nanban Zuke Class in August, 2017

It was a mid-summer day and we are all sweating but sizzling hot Gyoza on grill pan tasted good as ever! 

I welcomed a newly engaged couple and a foodie mother & daughter, both pairs from Australia.

They all worked hard at my kitchen and prepared 2 main dishes at this class, Gyoza and Nanban Zuke of swordfish.  These menus require a lot of fine chopping of vegetables but the team was quite experienced cookers so we had no problem at all. 

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The most part of the menu for this class were actually requested from another guest, a young lady who has taken my class back in May this year. She liked Nanban Zuke and our side dishes so much that she recommended the same menu to her family visiting her in Tokyo. 

Some guidebooks say Tokyo is too hot and humid so not a good place to visit in August.  But for foodie travelers, cooking class is always fun and we are always ready to welcome you with something seasonal. 

I hope my Aussie guests liked Japanese style cooking experience at my place.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko