Seafood & Nuka-zuke class

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!

Akiko

 

 

 

Heard about Nuka-Zuke? -Private class on October 2017

Sometimes my experience with visiting guests reminds me of good old day’s memory with my grandmother, who was always busy in her kitchen.

Prior to this class in early October, I received a very interesting request from  a Canadian lady, who is keen to learn about fermented vegetables, if I can show her an active Nuka bed for Nuka-Zuke.

Nuka is the rice bran, looks and smells like wheat. After rice harvest, the bran is taken away from rice and we eat only the white core part of rice. But this rice bran can be used for fermented vegetables, or Japanese pickles, called Nuka-Zuke.

We add a little salt and some water to rice bran powder, which makes a perfect bed to culture lactic acid bacteria.  Once the condition is settled, you may add your favorite vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, radish etc.

The problem with this fermented pickles making is that you need to stir the Nuka bed at least once every day, or the good bacteria die out and bad ones become more active, in other words your vegetables would get rotten. My grandmother used to do all these works for her family and I enjoyed eating her beautiful works as a kid.

Yet it was so much work in modern days when you have a job outside your house, so my mother did not keep it going, nor did I, util I received this inquiry from my guest lady.

Suddenly I remembered what I used to be eating and wondered if I can do something. Thanks to our internet age, I found a Japanese pickles company who sells Nuka-bed for fridge!  You don’t need to take care of your Nuka every single day but once in a week with this product.

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So here we are at the class, with my Nuka-Zuke works of carrots and cucumbers, as well as mackerel with Miso sauce.  As is well known, Miso is  one of our traditional seasonings and it is made by fermenting steamed soy beans with salt.

I hope my guest liked my home made Nuka-Zuke.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Sushi rolls class with foodie sisters / July 2017

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.

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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. 

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Flower bud as a spring delicacy on April 24th Tempura 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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Simple, fun and easy side dish with cucumbers on April18th.Class

On this class of Sushi Rolls, I picked up one of the easiest and fun side dish recipes. That is what we call Crushed Cucumber salad.IMG_5685

 As the name tells, the recipe is quite simple. You salt your cucumbers, crush them with a wooden pestle ( which we use for pounding tossed sesame etc.). The tip is DO NOT use a knife when you cut cucumbers.

Why? Because when you cut them with a sharp knife, the cut end will be very smooth. But if you crush them or break them with a good pressure, the cut end will be rugged and uneven, so the seasonings are likely to stay on surface and taste better.

I use fragrant sesame oil and salt for seasonings.  Maybe add a little bit of leek, finely sliced or chopped fresh coriander if you like. Toss them all and keep in a fridge for some time and that is the end of the recipe.

When you are looking for some cooking experience for small children but you are not sure to let them use knives, this recipe is ideal. But I have noticed big boys also love the cruching process of this recipe!

So simple that I feel sorry to call this a ‘dish’  but it is my family’s favorite menu specially in summer time after a hot and humid day. You will find this menu at many Izakaya (Japanese style bars) yet never at a classy restaurants.

The only concern is that cucumbers in Japan are quite thin, while some kind of cucumbers overseas are much bigger and thicker.  On April 18th. I welcomed guests form Australia, Swiss and USA.  I am wondering if my guests were able to crush their local cucumbers after getting back home and tried this recipe.

 Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Roll Sushi Class on March 9th.

One of the best seafood dishes on earth is Sushi, at least, for me. It takes so many years of training to become a decent sushi master but thankfully there are alternative ways to enjoy sushi at family dinner or gathering with friends, that is, Roll Sushi.

Roll sushi is like sandwich.  You can roll anything except sand & witch!?  Well maybe.  But if you are visiting Japan, I think you should definitely try rolling our beautiful fatty tuna and salmon.

All you need to cook is some short grain rice.  Usually you put as much rice as water when you start boiling rice. But for sushi rice, water should be a little less than rice, as you are going to add some vinegar, salt and sugar later when it is cooked. 

For some stuff to roll, sashimi quality tuna(Maguro) or salmon, greens such as cucumbers, shiso leaves, spring onion or avocado. Avocado was never used in traditional Japanese sushi cooking before but it is changing. I honestly  respect the person who discovered the combination of raw tuna and avocado. It is just so delicious in roll sushi!

You  need a little bamboo mat to shape your roll sushi into a nice log figure. It may seem a little complicated process but once you start rolling, rice naturally sticks to each other and a sheet of black seaweed will cover up everything beautifully. 

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Here is my class of sushi rolls on March 9th . I welcomed 4 guests from USA. Some of them are already visiting Japan many times and some are 1st timers but ALL sushi rolled up perfectly. It was literally a hands-on experience (lots of rice on your fingers!) and tasted good, too, as you can see on their big smiles!

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Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

Tempura Class

Hello, this is Yuki, one of the instructors of Musubi cooking class.

I started to teach Japanese home cooking and Japanese table coordination during the 7 years I lived in Los Angeles, USA.  When I moved back to Japan in September of 2016, I, of course, wanted to continue teaching Japanese home cooking in Tokyo.

This is my first blog entry for for Musubi Cooking, so hopefully you can enjoy seeing how fun it is to learn (and eat!) Japanese home cooking at home in Japan!

For the Tempura Class, I had guests from Australia and the U.S.

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Everyone enjoyed learning how to prepare the Tempura!

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And also enjoyed taking pictures of each other!

The menu for the day was as follows:

1 Main Dish:

Tempura

2 Side Dishes:

Pickled wakame seaweed and cucumbers

Japanese sesame spinach salad

and Rice and Miso-soup

Dessert:

Seasonal Japanese fruit

 

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Looks so yummy and beautiful!

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We enjoyed eating and a nice conversation about fun things to do during your trip to Japan.  It was great having you, thank you for coming!

— Yuki

Ramen class o Sep 12th

My first class at Yotsuya on September is a Ramen Class.

The participants from Belgium and a couple from Australia.

A young Belgium girl traveled all over the world and  we  were really interested in her talk.  Thank you for sharing your interesting trip experiences!

What we do in my class

I usually give lecture  of each recipe what we will cook today at the beginning of the class. I show the ingredients and seasoning at this time and often teste those flavors.

Then participants cut all the ingredients. Using Japanese knife.

Participants mix seasonings or start to cook using recipes by themselves. Of cause I give them many advises and notices. Don’t worry I watch you!  I tell everybody what’s going on “other recipes”

Cook and finish the dishes

Participants set their own table by themselves using ” table setting allocation ”

 

Then we say ” Ita-daki-masu” before eating.

 

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Today’s menu

Miso-Ramen with sautéed vegetables, pork miso, seasoned eggs, braised pork

Gyoza

Sesame dressed cucumbers

Matcha pudding

Many Thanks!

Kisshy