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

Salmon Nanban-zuke class on August 25th

I welcomed beautiful couple from Munich in German.   The lady speaks and understand Japanese little. Both of them are Japanese food lover.

After our communication by email, we decide to cook Salmon nanban-zuke for the main dish.

Both of them are home cookers, so we cooked very fast and efficiently.

I usually prepare Japanese broth, using sea kelp and bonito flakes. Those ingredients only use for infuse the flavor, so i usually discard the left overs after simmered ingredients.  I knew, this is kind of against Japanese culture, mottai-nai .

*Mottainai from wiki

Mottainai (もったいない[mottainai]) is a Japanese term conveying a sense of regret concerning waste.[1] The expression “Mottainai!” can be uttered alone as an exclamation when something useful, such as food or time, is wasted, meaning roughly “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste.”[2] In addition to its primary sense of “wastefulness”, the word is also used to mean “impious; irreverent” or “more than one deserves”.[3]

Mottainai is an old Buddhist word, which has ties “with the Shinto idea that objects have souls.”[2] Mottainai has been referred to as a tradition,[2] a cultural practice,[4] and an idea which is still present in Japanese culture,[2] which has become an international concept.[5]

 

Then I decided to cook furikake, using leftover of Japanese broth, which is go with cooked rice.  See in the middle of the plate in white little dish.

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We cooked Salmon nanban -zuke, cucumber with creamy sesame dressing, eggplant with sweet miso sauce, Japanese style egg omelette, furikake, edamame rice and miso soup.

Both of them loved those dishes, and I’ m so glad they enjoyed.  The lady sent me Japanese meal cooked by herself. It looked so gorgeous and much better than my work.

Thank you for remind me of Mottainai!

Many thanks,

Kisshy

 

 

Seafood ramen class on August 24th

I welcomed a couple from Australia this morning.   They requested ramen as a main dish.

Since I got their booking the day before evening, so I din’t have  enough time to prepare for braised pork for ramen which regularly accompanied with ramen topping.  However, I could prepare for  seafood ramen, the recipe calls salmon and shrimp, that doesn’t need so much time but produce nice testes.

We made pieces of gyoza as well as seafood ramen at the class. Amazingly, the lady made fabulous pieces of gyoza! She is like a professional, eventually i learned how to make gyoza.

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Look at this beautiful wrapped gyozas!!

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Ephemerally, the gyoza I made was not on this tray. haha. Now  I got how to do this and I can share how to wrap nicely to class participants.

I heard she grown up in Chinese family and her mother is good at making gyoza. however, she said the wrapper in Japan is thinner than Japanese and the cookery is different from her family recipe.

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She liked Japanese style gyoza very much and that is a relieve!

Hope you enjoy cooking seafood ramen and gyoza.

Many thanks,

Kisshy

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

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

Tempura Class with MBA youngsters on March 10th.

Tempura is one of my family’s favorite menus for gathering. Depending on the season, a variety of ingredients changes but the common ones I eat often are eggplants, Kabocha pumpkins, mushrooms like Shiitake and Maitake, Onions, Carrots, Okura(Gambo), Shiso leaves and prawns.

It may be similar to fish & chips or fritto, fritter, or beignet. I think the difference exists in what ingredients are used for batter. The best Tempura should be crispy outside and juicy inside. Ingredients must be fully covered with batter but as thinly as possible. If the batter is too rich and thick, Tempura will be too filling and you cannot eat much.

There are some tips to cook tasty Tempura. One of which is to chill the batter in the fridge before you start frying or simply use a chilled water for your batter. If you use a soda water, Tempura will be very crispy and I like that.

And of course, we use Dashi for Tempura, too! Dashi is a soup stock we make with Konbu seaweed and smoked Bonito fish. It is used in the savory sauce you dip your Tempura. Sometimes grated Daikon radish and ginger can be also put in this sauce. Daikon has a nutrition that helps to digest food well, so when you eat a lot of fried food, it can be a good companion.

My favorite way to eat Tempura is with lemon and salt, especially for Maitake mushrooms this is definitely the way to try!  Some gourmet people prepare Matcha green tea or Yuzu lime flavored salt and that is elegant for entertainig. You must come to Tokyo and find out your favorite way to enjoy Tempura!

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On March 10th, I welcomed a group of MBA students from east-coast USA for Tempura class.  Some of them had very interesting information about Indian cookery so I wished I could have them talk more about Indian food instead of me showing how to prepare Tempura but we ran out of time.  I hope they liked our food too and enjoyed their time at my kitchen as much as I did!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Swordfish Nanbanzuke class with a Foodie family from Sydney(Mar.8th. 2017)

The name ‘Nanban-zuke’ may sound unfamiliar but this is one of our popular seafood dishes. Nanban indicates that the dish has its origin from 16C Europe. Considering the history of Japan, ‘Europe’ in those days means Portugal and Spain at many cases.

I assume the process of deep frying and marinating afterwards with leek and other vegetables may be the ‘Nanban’ character. But this is a typical home cooking food for us today and it goes nicely with white rice or a glass of Sake!

I often use swordfish for Nanbanzuke. It is a white meat fish, tender like chicken breast but also is easier to handle, because you don’t need to pinch tiny bones.

First you deep fry the pieces of swordfish powdered with potato starch. Then marinate them in soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin etc. Lots of vegetables are also put in this marine sauce, such as carrot, celery, leek, spring onion etc. So it almost looks like a salad with fried fish.

You may be afraid that anything deep fried is not good for your health, but I think if you eat them with lots of vegetables, no need to be scared at all.

If you choose more vegetables for side dishes, such as spinach with sweet sesame sauce (another very popular dish at our classes), accompanied with Dashi soup of mushrooms & rice, your meal would be rich in fiber and quite nicely balanced.

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On this March 8th cooking class of Nanbanzuke, I welcomed a family from Sydney. Mama (means Mum in Japanese) is obviously a very good cook so everyone in the family loves to cook, too.  It was actually a lot of fun to exchange some interesting information on ingredients and cookery with this foodie family!

I hope they enjoyed their time at my kitchen as much as I did.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Ramen making experience at home kitchen (March 7)

Did you know ramen is not actually a very traditional menu for us Japanese? Yet it is so popular now throughout Japan. Each region and shops has its original recipe for soup, noodles and toppings.

It is originally from Chinese cookery so the base soup stock is often made with chicken. But the variety keeps growing. Kyushu region (southern island of Japan) is famous for its thick pork soup stock called ‘Ton-kotsu(i.e. pork bones)’ and now this is everybody’s favorite  even around Tokyo area.

Many shops like to add Japanese Dashi soup stock, too, as it brings more complex aroma with seafood ingredients. Or there is a shop famous for its Italian ramen in my neighbourhood, using tomato etc. But spaghetti has its origin in Chinese noodles so this makes sense.

At Musubi Cooking Tokyo, we also receive quite a few inquiries for ramen cooking and here I challenged to cook our home-made ramen with my 3 guest from Philipine and Brazil.

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I have prepared chicken & pork soup stock in advance, as it takes many hours to prepare, mostly simmering. At the class, we made Dashi soup stock with smoked bonito flakes and Niboshi (dried sardins), then mix with the other stocks.

Toppings for ramen could be anything but the most popular choice may be pork slices. Again, it takes a few hours simmering on low heat to prepare nice and melty smooth pork so I showed my guests how to prepare it until you come to the final process of simmering.

Once the ramen is ready, you really must start eating it right away, no bother talking or socializing with others at the table, because the ramen noodles get soggy very soon and that ruins the whole effort.  Slurping is just fine, as that is the only way to taste both noodle and soup together while everything is still hot!

Ramen is our comfort food and it made everybody feel much more relaxed and closer. We had a lot of fun talk after finishing our ramen bowls, even some secret stories how the couple met etc. I hope my guest enjoyed their time at my kitchen as much as I did. Thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

Japaneses home cooking in Marh 17th ’17 and Ramen place in kagurazaka

I had a lovely guest from Portugal  today.She likes  cooking and wants to learn Japanese home cooking. We exchanged email in advance about the menu what we cook for the class. She prefers cooking which she can recreate them after she’ll come back to her country.

Eventually we decide to cooked

 

       Menu on March 17th

Mackerel cooked in miso sauce,

Shira-ae ( blanched vegetables mixed with tofu sauce),

Pumpkin cooked in sweet soy sauce,

Rice and miso-soup.

Well balanced!

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As I expected, she has  great cooking skill, cutting / chopping fast and tide. I enjoyed cooking with her and wanted to share all my cooking knowledge.

People who take the cooking class are interested in ingredients, cookery, habit and culture.  I’d always love to answer and share those questions as much as possible in the class. If I couldn’t give the answer I’ll get back to them by email later. It is such delightful to hear when the attendees in my class go  back to their country then have chance to cook Japanese food.

She also tried to visit ramen place “Kimino” in kagurazaka. I always recommend this to attendees to try ramen there.

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The ramen there doesn’t contain MSG-food additives. It is not easy to complete making soup for ramen without MSG, since the compound  produces UMAMI, and that make the ramen taste nicer.

At the beginning of  making ramen recipe for my class, I’ve struggled for making the soup avoiding MSG for a while. I heard the ramen place in kagurazaka by chance which doesn’t contain any food additives.

I visited the place right after I heard. The tiny ramen restaurant is located on cozy, narrow street in Kagurazaka.  Inside of the bar is clean and well hygiene,  and has warm-welcomed atmosphere.

The ramen there was just impressive. The madam there recommend me to have all the soup.  She said the soup doesn’t contain so much salt, ( and of course no chemical added) so it’s good for you.  The madam is warm, open minded lady. She also gave me a plenty of advise to make nice soup at home.

Although I haven’t herd the recipe in the ramen bar, I appreciate her that she is my big help for the ramen class nicer, people come to cook and said  delicious eventually.

Today’s guest was the first who visited the place. She had a good time, good ramen there according to her report.  I appreciate it, very much!  I’m looking forward to hearing your Japanese cooking report in Lisbon again.

P.S Thank you for the wonderful review on Trip Advisor!

Ciao!

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 24th Japanese home cooking class

IMG_5158It was a chilly winter day in Tokyo but I had a lovely day with a beautiful young couple from Perth WA, Australia. They have already experienced quite a variety of Japanese cuisine. I was amazed to hear they even have a rice cooker at home and sometimes make their own sushi rolls!

At my class we made typical Japanese family cooking, kinds of dishes we enjoy eating normally. Lots of vegetables and mushrooms.
The menu was: Nanbanzuke of swordfish (deep-fried and marinated in Japanese vinegar and soy sauce with fresh vegetables), spinach with sesame sauce, eggplant with sweet miso sauce, and of course Dashi stock for soup.
Both did a great job, cutting vegetables perfectly thin and sesame grinded into a nice smooth texture. It was a delicious lunch and I hope the couple enjoyed the cooking experience and lunch as much as I did.
Thank you for coming !
Akiko