Gyoza & Karaage class for Canadian foodies

The menu for this class was;

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!

many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Sushi Roll & Karaage class for foodie Swiss boys

The main dish was Sushi Rolls with salmon, avocado, Shiso leaves, Takuan(pickled Daikon radish) etc. We also cooked some prawns, heads for Miso soup and the flesh for ball-shaped Temari Sushi.  

On this day, I welcomed two big Swiss guys who arrived at Tokyo just 2 days ago. For their body clock, it must be like cooking after midnight, but they were very happy and active, with lots of questions and fun talks! 

We also prepared Japanese style fried chicken, Karaage. Batter is not very thick and outside is crispy, inside of the chicken thighs so tender and juicy with good flavor of garlic, ginger and soy sauce. 

Of course, I asked my guests to shred our most important staple food, Katsuo bushi (smoked bonito fish), which we used in our Dashi soup stock for Miso soup. We Japanese are almost addicted to this Umami taste & aroma.  My Swiss guests found our home-made Miso soup very tasty, too.  He even took a very nice photo and send it to me. 

Our cooking classes are always REALLY hands on so I am afraid my jet lagged guests might go straight into bed afterwards… but I hope they enjoyed their first home cooking experience at Tokyo apartment. 

Many thanks for coming! 

Akiko

 

 

 

Ramen cooking report from our students

I was so glad to hear  from a couple from Sydney,  just took  my Ramen class weeks ago.

They are  real foodie and Japanese food lovers. I had great time with them cooking together and I learned a lot from them too.

Surprisingly, I got email from them this week and they already cooked Ramen using a recipe what we cooked at the class. A bowl of ramen looks just like the ramen in my class!

The cha-shiu, braised pork, seems soft and juicy and the runny egg is perfect.  They said the runny egg yolk was littile challenging, but I can’t find any problem??

I’m so glad to know you enjoy the ramen at home.

 

Thank you very much for sharing   such a wonderful experience!

 

Kisshy

 

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

Chicken & Gyoza class with Aussie Danish foodies, Oct 2017

The main dish for this early October class was  Chicken Teriyaki, side dishes as a small portion of  Gyoza with pork & vegetables, as well as spinach with sesame sauce.

It was a lucky class as one of my guests happened to be a cooking teacher at primary school, so everything proceeded very smoothly. Lucky for me too, as I could exchange some interesting recipes with her after the class! My twin daughters are looking forward to trying  them very soon during their winter vacation.

People gathered at my kitchen on this day were a lovely family from Denmark and a talented couple from Perth, Australia. So naturally the conversation got started about the Danish royal family and a bride from Australia! What a small world.

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Chicken Teriyaki dish was a request and the Dad  was particularly patient to learn the recipe. With authentic Mirin and Shoyu simmered together, Teriyaki sauce would naturally turn thick and shiny.

If you like it sweeter, you may add more Mirin or sugar. If you prefer savory, maybe reduce the amount of these sweet seasonings. Home cooking is always simple once you understand the  basic formula.

I hope my guest enjoyed their experience at my kitchen as much as I did.

Many thanks for coming!

 

 

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

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

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 class on Oct 22nd’16

There is a lovely young couple from Switzerland today’s class.    They requested Ramen class so I gave the class on the Saturday afternoon.

They traveled over Japan for a couple of week, and the cooking day was the day before they fly back to Switzerland. I was  wishing the class would be one of the memorable experiences their trip in Japan.

I usually share how to make Dashi stock, which is Japanese fundamental soup stock, however, I don’t give when the ramen classes because the stock made from chicken.   The today’s guests asked about what is the dashi stock, so I shared how to make dashi stock.

Adding a pinch of salt makes dashi flavor nicer for tasting like a clear soup.I served the soup during our cooking time.

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It is dashi-kampai time.   I was glad they liked it.

We had kept cooking Ramen after the tasting and finally we enjoyed ramen for early dinner.

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  The menu on Oct 22nd ’16

        Miso ramen  with sautéed vegetables, sautéed minced pork, braised pork, a seasoned egg

Cucumber with sesame dressing

    Pork Gyoza

Since the eating time was early dinner  around 4:00pm, I suggested to visit a basement of  Takashimaya department store (depachika)  in Shinjuku  after the class.  Depachika is one of the Japanese food cultures, foodies MUST visit during Stay in Japan.

Here is about the Depachika

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/dining/depachika/

 

Thank you for the precious time!

Kisshy