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

Shrimp & clam Ramen & Gyoza class

 

The menu was;

Seafood Ramen with shrimp, clam & Japanese Dashi soup stock

Seafood Gyoza with shrimp & vegetables

spinach with sesame sauce

No chicken, pork but lots of seafood!  My guest couple from Ohio, USA,  really surprised me that they are enjoying various fish including Bonito & Hamachi (young yellow tail tuna) as Sashimi back home, thanks to a local seafood market with a good selection of seafood.

But it was their first time to handle the Katsuo bushi,  Smoked Bonito in a whole piece. Here they are shredding a piece of dry Bonito at my place. It looks like a wooden kitchen utensil but it is a half body of Bonito, who could have weighed more than 2kg when he was in the ocean.

My guest couple also tried another very Japanese ingredient called Niboshi/ dried sardins.  For soup stock, I rip off the head and soaked them in water, then simmer.  But we also enjoy eating them as it is, a very good snack for your bones if you care. My guests crunched a piece of Niboshi and actually liked them OK, which pleased me a lot of course!

It was a gloomy rainy day but just perfect for a cookig class event, inside home and lots of good smells!

I hope my guest liked their experience at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Bento Box & Gyoza Class ~May 2018~

My kids go to school with their Bento Box every day. In Japan, it is very common to bring your own box for lunch. Some mothers make such a pretty Bento Box and it is now a popular item on SNS, that is where my French guests from Luxemburg got an idea of making Bento Box in Tokyo.

 

We actually have a variety of Bento boxes accordingly to seasons, occasions etc. At this class, I chose a bamboo-made box of rectangular shape, nice for early summer entertainment table.

 

Inside of the Box are:

Onigiri(rice balls with Nori-seaweed)

Beef and Shiso(minty herb) roll with grated Daiokn radish sauce

Sweet egg roll etc….

 

For Bento Box, every item needs to be tiny and easy to handle. The menu required a lot of hand works but my guests did everything very neat & beautiful!

My guest couple also prepared Gyoza, Japanese style pork dumplings.

 

All turned out really delicious but hot sizzling Gyoza was definitely one of the best tastes for my guests.

 

Many thanks for coming & Merci Beaucoup!

Akik

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;

IMG_6889

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.

IMG_6927IMG_6929

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.

IMG_6931

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!

image1

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

 

[fts_instagram instagram_id=japanesecookingtokyo pics_count=6 type=user height=450px profile_wrap=no]

 

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.

IMG_6906 IMG_6912

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

 

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.

IMG_6364

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 !

IMG_6358

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.

IMG_6350IMG_6351

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

 

 

 

Maguro steak with teriyaki sauce on March 13th Class.

I have received a request from a German couple visiting Tokyo that they would like to try Japanese Maguro (tuna) cooked as a steak. They also wrote that they are interested to see how to prepare Teriyaki sauce. So the menu was decided to be Maguro steak with Teriyaki sauce for their cooking class. 

My son and daughters all love to eat Maguro but we mostly eat it as Sashimi, so our Maguro is always rare, or more precisely un-cooked. Therefore, to me,  Maguro is naturally something to be tasted as rare as possible and even as a steak, it was to be done very rare or medium rare, with bright rose pink colour inside.  If it is cooked well-done, then it would taste like canned tuna, which is not really something for guests travelling all the way from Europe to Japan! 

For Teriyaki sauce, I usually use Sake, Mirin, soy sauce and sugar. This sweet & savory sauce is well known for chicken. But as a companion for Maguro, a little bit of Wasabi paste may also be good as it helps to reduce the fishiness. Of course Sashimi quality Maguro is never really fishy (at least for us Japanese) but just in case, as some of my guests are not used to eating lots of seafood.

 Before serving, we sliced Maguro steak like a modest sized roast beef so its nice rosy meat is visible on the plate. Then we chopped some green onions and sprinkled them on top of our Maguro.

IMG_5269

 

The couple said they do not eat much seafood at home but finished all of their very rare Maguro steak. It is always my pleasure to see empty plates at the end of the class! 

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!

IMG_5262

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

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!

IMG_5100

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.

https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1309/A130905/13165519/

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