Passionate Japanese food lovers honeymooning from Israel, Oct 2017

Many of my guests are really passionate about Japanese food and it is always a great honor to get a chance to meet up with such people. This honeymoon couple  from Israel was definitely one of them.  They were fascinated to try a Japanese style vegetarian meal, including Tofu.

So the main dish was Sushi rolls with green vegetables, pickles and sesame. The couple chose a private lesson so we also did a few vegetable side dishes with three different sauces; sesame sauce, sweet miso sauce and creamy tofu sauce, as well as miso soup with vegetable stock.

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They were also very knowledgeable about Japanese history and interested in some antique plates and traditional  earthenwares, too.

One of my favorite Japanese earthenware is Oribe-yaki, old potteries in Gifu prefecture and known for its dark green colored glaze. I used my Oribe plates for our eggplant dish at this class and my guests kindly told me that they liked them  as well as various food we prepared together.

The next day, the couple surprised me with a news that they bought a rice cooker to take home after my class!

I hope they are now enjoying cooking Japanese food at their sweet home…

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Seafood and Sashimi lovers from Germany, Oct 2017

Many of my German guests prefer meat dishes to seafood… that was my narrow perception until I welcomed this couple from Northern Germany.

In fact, the lady told me that she does not eat much sausages nor Sauerkraut but loves Sushi and Sashimi.  So the main dish for her and husband was Sushi rolls with fresh quality salmon and tuna of course!

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I have also suggested a few choices for side dishes and here again, she preferred vegetable and fruit dishes rather than meaty ones. It was mid Autumn and Kaki, persimmon was in season. So I really liked to introduce one side dish of Kaki, Shimeji mushroom and greens with creamy Tofu sauce.

But why Kaki is so special?

Today we have a great variety of fruits available at super market in Japan and many of them are domestic  harvest.  However, when you look back the history of Japan, most of our fruits were brought to our islands from overseas at some stage.

Yet Kaki is considered to be one of few indigenous species that have been around the land of Japan for years and years.

If you have a chance to travel around Japan in Autumn, you may notice the trees with almost no leaves but some ripe, orange fruits in gardens and even in some wild fields, that are Kaki trees and it is a loved symbol of Autumn for us.

It makes a nice salad, or simple dessert as it  is, or you may put a slice of prosciutto on top of a small cut of Kaki and serve as a starter.

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I hope my guests enjoyed their Autumn taste as well as our quality seafood!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cooked a big lunch! Private Class on May 14th

I had an interesting inquiry from a young Australian couple living in Tokyo.

They were used to cooking with an oven back home, but here in Japan, we do not use it as often. Instead we use stove top and small, lined griller underneath it mainly. This young couple’s tentative house kitchen was not equipped with an oven and they were looking for an opportunity to learn some cooking with Japanese kitchen.

So here they are at my place and we made a big lunch together.

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 The menu includes; Swordfish Nanabanzuke with soy sauce vinegar and vegetables, Maguro (tuna) grilled medium rare with garlic Teriyaki sauce, eggplant with miso Dengaku sauce, spinach with sweet sesame sauce, crushed cucumber, Miso soup with clams and Mitsuba greens…

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Both of my guests were great seafood lovers and I was really happy to hear that they liked everything we cooked. They challenged to try black rice and liked it, too.

I also explained about our griller, which we mainly use for cooking salmon, mackerel and other fishes or chicken wings.

My guest told me she was using it for toasting a piece of bread in the morning!  Well it maybe a good idea but you need to watch your toast frequently to make sure not to burn it.

 I hope my guests are enjoying their life in Tokyo now and cooking at their Japanese kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Vegetarian & seafood sushi class on May 8th.

I had my first vegetarian guest and her husband from UK on May 8th class, as well as another fun couple of sushi lovers from USA.  

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Japanese culinary is well known for using lots of vegetables and vegetable-oriented seasonings. Our cultural background with Buddhism has a lot to do with this. Buddhist monks do not eat any animal oriented food during their hard ascetic practices. Food provided at temples had to be vegetarian in many cases, so a variety of cooking methods with vegetables have been developed over centuries. 

One of the ‘must’ ingredients for our vegetarian cooking is dried Shiitake mushrooms, called Hoshi Shiitake in Japanese. Well, more precisely, you don’t need to be vegetarian to appreciate the taste of this dried ingredient. I often use this stock to simmer chicken etc. 

Like many other dried ingredients used for stocks, this needs to be soaked in water overnight before start cooking. 

If the room temperature is above 20, it is better to put the water and dried Shiitake in a fridge. It is said dried Shiitake extract comes out better when the water is around.10. If you are in a hurry, you may use hot water to extract dried mushroom quickly but the taste is always better when you use cold water and take some time. 

We cooked our miso soup with Shiitake and Kombu stock at this class. It was a season for sweet spring cabbage and tender new potatoes. They made perfect ingredients for fine vegetable soup stock. 

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For vegetarian sushi rolls ingredients, I picked up avocado, cucumber, Shiso leaves and some thinly sliced Takuan (salty pickled Daikon radish). 

I hope my guest enjoyed their food and cooking experience at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

 Akiko

Ramen class in Cherry blossoms season, April 7th.

During the cherry blossoms season, we at the Musubi Cooking Tokyo receive much more customers than winter months. On this April 7th . class for Ramen cooking, I welcomed 3 groups of people from Sweden, Israel and Swiss.  

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For one of the ramen toppings, we cooked minced pork meat flavored with Miso and vegetables. You may add finely chopped ginger, leek, garlic, carrot or coriander as you like. This was a good accent to add to ramen as Miso is probably the most popular Japanese seasoning among my guests.

When you hear Miso, I wonder what type of miso you are thinking in your mind. Miso is a very old seasoning made with fermented soy beans. It was already used before century in China. In Japan, the oldest record of Miso is found in the writings of 8th.C and it has been used in cooking till today. There are many variety of Miso throughout Japan. We will let you taste some of them at our classes so find out your favorite one! 

All of my guests were talking about how gorgeous cherry blossoms were on this day, as they were in time for the full bloom. One of the questions I received was, do we eat cherry blossoms. Well we actually do!  We use salted leaves for wrapping sweet dumplings. We also salt pink flowers of cherry trees and make preserves. This salted cherry flowers look pretty but the taste is.. quite salty! You may also notice a faint touch of cherry blossoms fragrance.

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I happened to have a small jar of this salted cherry blossoms in my fridge so I let my curious guests taste some of this, expecting not much Wows. Yet I got a very interesting idea from my Swedish guest that it will make a great companion for a shot of rum and other hard liquors. Looks much prettier than salt, too! 

It is always so inspiring to cook and chat with food lovers from around the world!

Many thanks for coming to my kitchen. 

Akiko

Ramen Show in Tokyo

Dear Ramen Lovers!

There is a Ramen festival going on now till Nov.6th in Komazawa Park in Setagaya ward.

There are 18 ramen shops from Sapporo, Hokkaido (Northern part) to Miyazaki, Kyusyu ( South part). You can enjoy the variety of  Miso ramen, shoyu ramen, tonkotsu ramen (pork marrow broth) from those distinctive ramen shops.

If you have any chance to visit there it is good opportunity to taste Japanese popular ramen shop.

 

☟ links to Ramen show in English

http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/setagaya/event/ramenshow.html

Kisshy