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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Chicken Karaage & Gyoza class with Melbourne & NY couples

I welcomed 2 couples at this class and both happened to be newly engaged, one of them had got engaged just the day before coming to my class, on top of Mt.Fuji, enjoying the panoramic view of sun rise up there! 

So the class was full of happy feeling from the start and lots of fun talks. The only incident was that  I was too busy chatting to take photos of what we prepared but believe me, they were yummy!

The menus include; pork Gyoza, chicken Karaage (deep-fried with potato starch), Bok Choy style stir fried Komatsuna green. No miso soup for this class as it was a boiling hot summer day. 

My happy guests liked Gyoza and chicken very much. To make Karaage, we marinade chicken pieces in a bag of soy sauce etc. Don’t forget to put some garlic and ginger. You may prepare this a day before if you have time. 

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While wrapping Gyoza, I was asked many questions about our culture and life. Some are not necessarily related to food and very interesting, such as “Why are there no garbage bins on streets nor stations?”, “Do you really eat KFC for Christmas gathering?” etc.  

I simply give my answers on each topic. It may not be accurate, but I suppose it is a good chance to get to know the Real Housewives of Tokyo!? 

I hope they enjoyed their time at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Big lunch again with Mum & daughter from Singapore / June 2017

Sometimes I receive a very specific request on menus to cook at classes.

For this class in May, my guest, who turns out be a super woman (business executive & mother of 2 kids) from Singapore, asked me if we can try Oyako-don, Gyoza, Chicken teriyaki, Miso dengaku with eggplant and Japanese style potato salad.

That is a lot for one meal and the combination is not exactly what we normally do, but I understand it is a good chance to try different dishes for a visitor when time is limited. Obviously the lady has tried many Japanese dishes already so I was interested to hear her opinions on our food, too.

She visited me with her lovely young daughter who was a great help in the kitchen! She can slice and cut and stir with no problem.

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Among the menus my guest chose, I was curious to ask why she picked up a potato salad, as is a rather western menu to me.  She was after a Japanese style potato salad in particular, which her family tried before and became her son’s favorite.

What I think ‘very Japanese’ and what my guests like to learn at Japanese home cooking class may not be always the same. It is very interesting to discover what people are attracted in our food culture.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

Swordfish Nanbanzuke class with lots of vegetables/ May 2017

Today’s guest was a couple from France visiting various plasces in Japan.

The lady turned out to be on the early stage of her pregnancy.  As a mother of 3 kids, I was really excited to hear that and thought maybe some of the food & nutrition we cook will be becomimg a part of her little baby’s body, who knows!

What we parepared on this class was; Swordfish Nanban Zuke, eggplant with sweet miso sauce, spinach with sesame sauce and miso soup with cabbage and potatoes. Lots of vegetables dishes using naturally fermented  seasonings like Miso, Mirin and Soy sauce.

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Since she was not feeling for a very strong taste, we decided to use less amount of rice vinegar and soy sauce for Nanban Zuke marinade. It is one of the good things about hands-on cooking experience. You can taste your sauce and dishes as we proceed and are always welcome to adjust some parts of the recipe.

Her husband was a keen cook and he was quite knowlegeble about Japanese ingredients, which helped a lot.

I hope they enjoyed their time at my kitchen and their baby was enjoying his/her first Japanese food,too!

Many thaks 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

Potato cooking, German ways and Japanese ways / April 17th.

I have received a request for Teriyaki chicken again and this time from a German couple visiting Tokyo. As one of the side dishes I chose a Potato Mochi, as it is also finished with Teriyaki sauce so I figured out my guest may also like it. This is a local specialty from Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan known for its good potato harvest. 

At the cooking class, Potato Mochi recipe turns out to be very German by the way. Of course Germans are professional to cook potatoes and my guest showed me how she finds out if your potatoes are boiled enough or not ready yet.  

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First you hold your knife upside down, pointing to potatoes in the pot, then simply loosen your grip a bit and see if the knife cut into your potatoes or not!  I used to poke into my potatoes with chopsticks and make many holes but not any more! 

After adding some starch and making putties with boiled & mashed potatoes, my guest told me that Germans would boil them but we grill them on frying pan, then we finish up with sweet & savory teriyaki sauce. 

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I hope my guests liked our Hokkaido style potato dish, too.

Many thanks for coming! 

Akiko

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Ginger pork and Japanesepotato salad

I had a request of cooking ginger pork at this class. There are a couple from London.

Ginger pork is quite easy and common home made cooking in Japan and I often cook this dish for my family.  The seasonings  of soy sauce, ginger and sweet go with thin sliced pork.

I always serve ginger pork  accompany with potato salad and shredded cabbage for dinner. Potato salad is must- item with ginger pork for me.

Therefore, At this class, I offered to cook ginger pork, potato salad, shredded cabbage, spinach with cream sesame dressing, rice and miso soup. It looks many dishes, but each of them are easy preparation.

Then I knew, there are many variation of potato salad through the world. My potato salad recipe consists of potato, ham, cucumber, sliced onion season with mayonnaise.  today’s guests originally came  from Vienna, Austria and the US. They said the ingredients are simple but their own potato salad recipe from their mother sounds yummy!

This is my favorite accept of cooking class the guests came from many countries. I could hear what they eat in general as everyday food i. We also talk about what we eat in breakfast, too.

We enjoyed cook those menus with joyful talking.

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Finally we cooked all the recipes and glad to hear they liked them all include potato salad.

Many thanks!

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Japanease cooking class on Sep 29th

The class welcomed a couple from L.A.  It was the last cooking class on September.  It was still hot and humid day even though it was almost autumn season on the calendar. I believe this summer in Japan must be hard for human!

Although the weather was like summer, I’d like to express autumn on the dining table.  we prepared sweet potato rice  at this time.

Japanese  sweet potato has a unique texture I, and the customers never seen in outside of Japan.

The outside is beautiful purple and inside is white. It contains a dense starch so the potato become nice and soft texture, but not watery when it cooked.  We Japanese have been eating  baked potato as a natural healthy snack.

I had a request as no pork for the ingredients so we cooked fish Nanban-zuke for the main course.

 Today’s menu on Sep 29th ’16

     Mackarel Nanban-zuke

   Cucumber  sesame dressing

eggplant with miso-egg sauce

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I’ve shared information of halal café in my neighborhood  just opened the day before.  There is in Sophia University in Yotsuya.  Everybody could visit the café.

Tokyo Halal deli & café

http://www.sophia.ac.jp/eng/info/news/2016/9/globalnews_2042/09262016

There is a pray space in a same building.

The today’s guests visited the café and said very nice and clean.

Many thanks for a sweet couple from L.A!!

Kisshy

Interview and shooting on September 18th

I welcomed Tokyo expats polish couple on the day.

Ms. A and her husband Mr.V enthusiast for Japanese cooking / food culture.  Ms. A has a great knowledge of Japanese food as well as food ways on other countries.

She had researched about  washoku culture very well before the interview moreover,she LOVES them, so we could understand each other very soon.

 

Wiktor said he is an amateur photographer, but see his pictures are amazing as a professional!

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Photo by Wiktor staniecki

 

 

 

Since I’ve been working for obtaining sake sommelier, I served seasonal sake at this time.  I’m glad Wiktor liked the pairing of food and sake.

 

 

Today’s menu

 

Grilled salmon Yuan marinade

eggplant miso-egg cream

Maitake mashroom tempura

sweet potato rice

Shiratama -mochi  red bean paste/ sweet soy paste

 

 

Here links to her article.

 

The charms of Japanese autumn

She also writes for polish-Japanese community

http://www.polonia-jp.jp/

Thank you very much for the beautiful pictures and intelligent article for Musubi Cooking Class!

 

Kisshy