Tempura & Gyoza class

The main dish was… well, some of my guests liked Gyoza dumplings with pork, others Tempura with prawns and vegetables, so we ended up making both and share. Fortunately there were 6 guests in total at this class and everybody was really good at cooking, thus everything went so amazingly smooth! 

The  ingredients I chose for Tempura at this class were prawns, eggplants, Maitake mushrooms, Shiso herbs and pumpkins. I cannot miss Maitake as that is my favorite Tempura item.

For Tempura dipping sauce, our regular recipe uses Dashi soup stock, soy sauce, Mirin etc. But I also recommend to go simple ways especially in hot summer days, with salt and lemon wedge.

My guests were a famimly from Houston, USA and a couple from Gold Coast, Australia. One of the ladies pointed out that we don’t need to visit Asian food stores for any special supply if we try Tempura with salt and lemon. I absolutely agree!

As one of our side dishes, we prepared Edamame, green fresh soy beans simply boiled and salted. This is one of our typical summer snacks. At Japanese bars and taverns, Edamame will often appear with a glass of beer. It is one of the healthiest snack to go but only in summer. 

I hope my guests liked their home cooking experience at my kitchen!

Many thanks for coming,

 

Akiko

Maguro and more! Sushi class on hot summer day

The main dish was Sushi rolls with fresh Maguro(tuna) and salmon, as well as avocado, Shiso herbs, cucumber, pickled Daikon radish, sesame seeds etc.  My guests were also big fans of Tempura so we decided to cook a small portion with prawns, eggplants and Maitake,  my favorite mushroom. 

For ingredients of our Miso soup, I chose another kind of Japanese mushroom Enoki (very thin and white ones) and fried Tofu called Abura-Age or Oage, which has a spongy texture and great to be in soup. Not to forget the finishing touch, a few finely chopped scallions as we like to put something green on top of our Miso soup. 

My guest couple was from Washington D.C. USA, so they told me they are used to humidity. Still it was such a hot and humid day in Tokyo, unusual for late June. Sushi was a very good choice as it uses a lot of rice vinegar. I think it helps to understand the way of our cuisine if you actually visit Japan and taste things in our climate.

Both of them have very interesting professions. It was so nice to know that they manage to make a vacation to Tokyo out of their busy schedules and chose our cooking class out of so many great places out here!  

Many thanks for coming!

 

Akiko

 

Vegetarian & pork Ramen/Gyoza class

This  was going to be another pork Ramen and Gyoza class for an American couple from San Diego, until I receive a request from a family from Israel, one of whose daughters is Vegetarian but the rest of the family love Japanese pork Ramen. So we ended up making both together!

For vegetarian Ramen, I used dried Shiitake mushrooms and Konbu seaweed for a base soup stock. Then we also cooked fresh mushrooms and garlic with leek, soy milk, sesame paste and miso. For many vegetarian dishes, sesame does a great work but Miso is another very ideal seasoning. 

This vegetarian version of Ramen soup turned out very rich and creamy, in fact my other guests also enjoyed tasting this soup.

For vegetarian Gyoza, I usually use Tofu and another kind of mushroom called Maitake. The only thing you need to mind is that Tofu will not be as sticky as meat when mixed, so the ingredients tends to fall apart and it may be a little harder to tack the filling inside Gyoza wrappers. A few drops of sesame oil might help.

The only issue was that there were a lot  more preparations than usual and I did not take any photos of our yummy accomplishments (tears in my eyes)…

 Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Swordfish Nanban and more ~May 2018~

The menu for  the class was;

<Main dish>

Swordfish & Salmon  Nanbanzuke sauce (fried and marinade with soysauce, vinegar & fresh vegetables)

<Side dish>

Eggplamt with sweet Miso sauce

Spinach with sesame sauce

chicken Karaage

Miso soup with clams & rice

I tend to spend a lot of time explaining about basic ingredients we use for Japanese cooking, such as Katsuo Bushi (Smoked Bonito fish), Konbu, Mirin etc.  Sometimes the tastes of them  are too different for first timers to my country but my two beautiful guests on this day were doing very good.

With Katsuo and Konbu, we made soup stock and used it for Miso soup, as well as spinach sauce and swordfish marinade. They all worked out nicely  &  my guest completed our delicious and authentic lunch!

Later  I learnd that one of my guests was a professional model, another was a title-holder of marathon ( in business suit!?!?  )

Japanese food are rich in nutrition, low in calories so isn’t our food just perfct for them?

I hope they will enjoy cooking our food again in US.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Deco- style Sushi Rolls with Singaporean artist couple, Nov. 2017

This late November class was a bit tough one for me, as I received a request for a special Sushi Roll.

It was the beginning of winter season when everybody would start thinking about Christmas and new year holiday, so my young guest from Singapore suggested me if we could challenge to make a sushi rolls with Xmas tree or snow man patterns!

I have never tried Xmas tree nor Snow man sushi, but I knew one very pretty pattern called ‘star’, with an egg-roll inside. No fresh seafood inside so a little disappointing if you are a Sashimi lover, but her husband does not eat Sashimi so in this case, it worked out even better.

So the menu for this class was fixed as follows;

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Deco Sushi Rolls ‘Star’

Chicken Nanban (sweet and sour, Japanese fusion style deep-fried chicken)

Spinach with sesame sauce

White Miso soup with potato & cabbage

At the kitchen, my guest was very patient and she never got tired until we finally made everything successfully, including home-made egg roll and sweet & sour Nanban sauce ! Her husband also liked the taste of chicken Nanban and the sauce for it, made with mayo, fresh chopped onion & boiled egg.

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Deco Sushi Rolls with star was a time-consuming recipe and it takes a lot of hand works, then you would end up eating a lot of rice, colored and seasoned with a few different ingredients, but it really had an appealing look. Truly ideal for your gathering tables.

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After a few weeks, I heard from my guest that she had made Deco Sushi Rolls back in Singapore! It was such a huge joy to hear and she even created her own design this time, I would call it a plum flower maybe. Here is her photo!

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Isn’t it just gorgeous!  I was so happy to hear that her guests also loved this Maki(Rolls).

Many thanks for coming and your photo!

Akiko

 

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Ramen class; what really are inside this irresistible bowl? Nov 2017

Our beautiful season of Autumn was almost gone and the request from my American guest on this day was a bowl of Ramen, a perfect hot noodle dish for a chilly day.

He explained  that he was not really planning to prepare Ramen on his own after returning home, but he loved this food so much that he was curious to find out what ingredients and cooking method are used.  He said he wanted to understand what Ramen is exactly.

I was impressed that is a very nice approach and happy to share what little knowledge I have learned about Ramen.

We also made Gyoza, everybody’s favorite companion with Ramen, as well as simple cucumber & sesame oil salad.

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I buy my noodles from supermarket but soup stock is 100% home made. Pork leg bones are the main ingredients for my base soup stock and  some chicken wing tips and seafood Dashi stock are combined together. Then of course finish up the soup with soy sauce &  Mirin  used for simmering pork slice.

My American guest has been travelling several Asian countries such as Cambodia, Korea etc.  Japan was his final destination before flying back home and the day he visited my kitchen was his final full day in Tokyo so I really  hope he was happy  spending  his last hours cooking with us.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramen & Gyoza class for a future food business owner -September 2017

This was a calss for a solo traveller from Australia who is willing to cook Ramen and Gyoza. At first I thought he is one of many Ramen & Gyoza lovers but as we talk preparing our lunch, I learned that he is already working at an Asian food business and hope to be independent some day.

In fact he is so serious that he took 3 cooking classes during his short stay in Tokyo! I was honored to be a little part of  these opportunities during his limited time in my country.

I love good food but never worked as a chef by the way, still I  hope he found his experience with Japanese Mum & home cooking at my kitchen worth his time & effort…

The way he mixed the chopped vegetables and minced pork meat for Gyoza filling was super!  It requires a good strong pressure so each separate ingredients become together.

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One thing he liked very much was our Japanese style eggs.  As one of the Ramen toppings, we often prepare flavoured boiled eggs. it is tasty as a topping for simple steamed rice, too.

For its flavour, I use soy sauce, Mirin and smoked bonito if my guest is OK with seafood. You need to keep it in a fridge for a few days so the eggs turn brown outside but inside is till bright yellow. They add a nice colour in a Ramen bowl.

I hope my guest had a good time and wish him the best of luck for his future in Asian food business, I am sure he will be very successful!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko