Ramen and Curry have a lot of things in common. Both are not traditional Japanese cuisine and originated from overseas, China and India respectively. Both introduced to our country fairly recently but now the most popular menu among Japanese people of all generations!
Somehow, Ramen has grown so well-known as someting typically Japanese & we receive many requests from visitors at our cooking class, yet not so much for Curry so far.
So I knew my guest lady from Calgary, Canada, must be very familiar with our local food culture and maybe lived in our country when she mentioned Curry & rice, with pork Katsu (cutlet or côtelette)!
Japanese style Curry can be easy if you use a box of ready-made paste or roux. But it can also be a long recipe if you like to create your own roux from scratch and add your choice of spices.
If you have time, keep stiring chopped onoin over low-middle heat until golden brown, which is going to be the base for your Curry sauce. This process is similar to making French onion soup. Just be VERY careful not to burn your onion!
My guest lady turned out to be a Japanese sweets chef and cafe owner. In fact she was visiting Tokyo at this occasion to deepen her expertise. I suppose menu choice of Curry was more for her personal memory and her boyfriend, who loved our home made Curry very much that he went for a full second serve, which made me super happy of course!
This was probably one of the most challenging class this year but we made it!
Thankfuly we had 5 very skilled participants from BC Canada and Michigan US at this class.
The main dish choices are Tempura of prawns, Maitake mushroom (my favorite!) and vegetables, plus Sushi roll with Maguro(tuna), salmon and greens. For side dishes we prepared a small portion of Gyoza with pork and shrimp & spinach with our flavorful sesame sauce.
We started grating smoked bonito for Dashi soup stock, then prepared Sushi rice with seasonings, chopped veggies and wrapped Gyoza, and finally deep fried Tempura and rolled Sushi!
And I was astonished that one of my guest lady was going to be a speaker at a medical conference held in Tokyo that same evening! Indeed some people are super talented.
I have also learned one new thing at this class. My guest told me that avocado in Sushi rolls are first created by a Japanese chef in British Columbia, although we often call it ‘California’ style. I must visit ‘Tojo’s’ in Vancouver one day.
Gyoza dumplings with pork and vegetables, Chicken karrage(Japanese style fried chicken), spinach with Tofu sauce, Miso soup and black rice.
My guests were from Montreal, Canada and they booked the class several months ahead of time! They informed me one of the gentlemen does not eat dairy products so I picked up a creamy white sauce made with Tofu as one of our side dishes.
I hope my guests enjoyed their time at my kitchen!
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!
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!
I received a request for Sushi Rolls from a Canadian couple, then another couple on honeymoon from Ireland joined our class.
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 !
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,
It was early July but quite hot and humid on this day. I welcomed sisters from Canada who chose to prepare Sushi rolls and a few side dishes.
Our summer is so muggy that you will understand the reasons why Japanese cooking uses lots of vinegar.Even though I love freshly cooked plain white rice, July and August are probably not the best month to taste it, just because it is so muggy.
Sushi rice is seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar and a little salt. It tastes good even after cooled down, so ideal as food for our summer season.
We also made a side dish for summer, thinly sliced cucumbers & chicken tender, seasoned with white sesame sauce. The toasty flavor of sesame and chilled cucumber are nice and refreshing on hot day.
At this class, one of my guests had already taken another Sushi making class after arriving Tokyo and she surprised me with beautiful sushi rolls! She also left some interesting comments on Japanese seasonings at tasting, such as ‘taste of plum’ for red Miso, ‘fudge’ for sweet and savory white Miso sauce for eggplants.
All these expressions are important to describe our food and I am learning a lot from my guests at each class.
I welcomed a couple from Quebec, Canada and the lady turned out to be a professional working at the culinary institute. Her husband had lived in Tokyo for some years before and very knowledgeable about our food culture so I was quite nervous not to disappoint them with my cookings.
Both of them were such lovely foodies, who really enjoy cooking. We were chatting and chatting about all kinds of foods and it was such a fun time!
They liked Tempura and my easy side dish of crushed cucumbers very much, while they told me that sweet egg roll omelet was a little strange taste for them, as French omelet is always savory. It is truly interesting to know what is appealing and what is not so.
For this Tempura occasion, I picked up our popular spring delicacy, called ‘Fuki no Tou’ as one of the ingredients for deep frying. I googled up the English translation of Fuki, which was ‘butterbur scape’ or Petasites japonicas.Does it make sense?Maybe it is not eaten much outside Japan. Here is a photo of Fuki no Tou.
Fuki is a kind of vegetable and it looks like Rhubarb but the taste is totally different. Only around spring time, buds of Fuki flowers are available and I like to eat them as Tempura. It has some bitterness along freshness, appreciated as a sign of early spring nutrition.
My guests from Quebec liked Fuki no Tou, as well as prawns, eggplants, Shiso leaves, Okura, Kabocha pumpkins etc. I hope they enjoyed their cooking experience at my kitchen as much as I did.