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

Pork Ramen & Gyoza class

My guest for this class was a group of Galician and French couples. It was their annual reunion trip and I was honored to be part of their vacation in Tokyo.

Our lunch menu:

Pork Ramen with Miso meat sauce, stir fried vegetables, soy sauce flavored egg, pork slice as toppings

Pork and vegetable Gyoza

Crushed cucmber salad

Lots of questions and lots of fun talks! My male guests were very keen to use Japanese vegetable knives and I love the way they paused for a photo, Spanish Samurai at my kitchen!?

Ramen soup has 3 components, pork bone soup stock, Japanese Dashi stock with smoked bonito, dried sardine and sun-dried Shiitake mushroom, and simmered pork sauce of soysauce & Mirin. We also prepare a variety of topping so it tales a lot of work and preparation to make this simple bowl of hot noodles.

At the class we also made Japanese style pork dumplings, Gyoza. The recipe is originally from China like Ramen,  but it is now a very common food for all Japanese families to cook & eat at home. We mainly grill the dumplings, then put the lid and steam to finish up our Gyoza.

I hope my guests enjoyed their time at my kitchen,

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Karaage & Gyoza class with Melbourne & NY couples

I welcomed 2 couples at this class and both happened to be newly engaged, one of them had got engaged just the day before coming to my class, on top of Mt.Fuji, enjoying the panoramic view of sun rise up there! 

So the class was full of happy feeling from the start and lots of fun talks. The only incident was that  I was too busy chatting to take photos of what we prepared but believe me, they were yummy!

The menus include; pork Gyoza, chicken Karaage (deep-fried with potato starch), Bok Choy style stir fried Komatsuna green. No miso soup for this class as it was a boiling hot summer day. 

My happy guests liked Gyoza and chicken very much. To make Karaage, we marinade chicken pieces in a bag of soy sauce etc. Don’t forget to put some garlic and ginger. You may prepare this a day before if you have time. 

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While wrapping Gyoza, I was asked many questions about our culture and life. Some are not necessarily related to food and very interesting, such as “Why are there no garbage bins on streets nor stations?”, “Do you really eat KFC for Christmas gathering?” etc.  

I simply give my answers on each topic. It may not be accurate, but I suppose it is a good chance to get to know the Real Housewives of Tokyo!? 

I hope they enjoyed their time at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Ramen & Gyoza cooking with Aussie & French couples / May 2017

By late May, weather in Japan would get quite humid, with our rainy season approaching. Yet we still received quite a few inquiries for hot noodle dish with soup, Ramen.  Indeed it is surprising but I am well aware now that Ramen has truly become one of the most popular Japanese dish around the world. 

On this class, I welcomed two young couples from Australia and France.  I put my air conditioner on so it is cool enough in the room to enjoy hot foods.

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Besides Ramen, we prepared Gyoza, Japanese style pot stickers or dumplings. This dish is also originated from Chinese culinary but we pan-fry them with a lid, instead of boil or steam. When cooked, we dip them in soy sauce and vinegar. If you like it hot and spicy, maybe add a few drips of Chinese hot chili oil which we call La-Yu. 

At my family, whenever eating Gyoza for dinner, we cook them on the table. There is a popular kitchen item called ‘hot plate’, which is actually a big and flat electric frying pan.  

The beauty of using this on the table is;

1) it saves a lot of time for cooking,

2) everyone can enjoy eating Gyoza while it is sizzling hot.

The only problem is your room might be full of Gyoza smell afterwards. If the weather permits, have your windows open, or put your kitchen fan switched on. 

Gyoza is often chosen as a menu for family and close friends casual gathering. It is also fun to warp them together, while chatting various things, as we did on this class!

In Japan, Gyoza wrappers are available at any supermarkets so we don’t make them from scratch. I am not sure about the situation overseas but hope my guests can find them with no problem at their home towns. 

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko