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 & 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!

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Heard about Nuka-Zuke? -Private class on October 2017

Sometimes my experience with visiting guests reminds me of good old day’s memory with my grandmother, who was always busy in her kitchen.

Prior to this class in early October, I received a very interesting request from  a Canadian lady, who is keen to learn about fermented vegetables, if I can show her an active Nuka bed for Nuka-Zuke.

Nuka is the rice bran, looks and smells like wheat. After rice harvest, the bran is taken away from rice and we eat only the white core part of rice. But this rice bran can be used for fermented vegetables, or Japanese pickles, called Nuka-Zuke.

We add a little salt and some water to rice bran powder, which makes a perfect bed to culture lactic acid bacteria.  Once the condition is settled, you may add your favorite vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, radish etc.

The problem with this fermented pickles making is that you need to stir the Nuka bed at least once every day, or the good bacteria die out and bad ones become more active, in other words your vegetables would get rotten. My grandmother used to do all these works for her family and I enjoyed eating her beautiful works as a kid.

Yet it was so much work in modern days when you have a job outside your house, so my mother did not keep it going, nor did I, util I received this inquiry from my guest lady.

Suddenly I remembered what I used to be eating and wondered if I can do something. Thanks to our internet age, I found a Japanese pickles company who sells Nuka-bed for fridge!  You don’t need to take care of your Nuka every single day but once in a week with this product.

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So here we are at the class, with my Nuka-Zuke works of carrots and cucumbers, as well as mackerel with Miso sauce.  As is well known, Miso is  one of our traditional seasonings and it is made by fermenting steamed soy beans with salt.

I hope my guest liked my home made Nuka-Zuke.

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

 

Ramen Class on October 13th

I welcomed three participants today in the class ; a  couple from Israel and  a man from Mexico, who visited for annual Food Show exhibition.

We made ramen, gyoza and a cucumber dish today for lunch time.  I’m glad our ramen class become popular and we can share many people to cook home made ramen without MSG.

We prepare so much vegetables, so our  ramen and gyoza menus are quite healthy.

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In my class, I  cook braised pork and seasoned egg the day before. Because it is too short time to cook  pork, we call it char shu, in 2 hours our cooking time. I tried to cook it in 2 hours, hopefully I could show how to make the pork from scratch, in the result it is still chewy, the meat is not enough to soft.  So I decide it to prepare the day before. So far the people understand it and enjoy soft and moisture braised pork on ramen noodles.

Today’s participants enjoy cooking ramen, also making gyoza wrapping. Every body try to make nice shape of gyoza, which is fun.

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Look at his well done gyoza flairs and super smiling!

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Then the participants have ramen together with chatting.  Lunch time become social time, the participants enjoy to talk about their different food culture.

 

Many thanks!

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sushi Class on September 22nd

I welcomed new students  from London and L.A. in the class this morning.   They just arrived in Japan just a week before and will stay in Tokyo for one year.

This class is a gift from a mother of a girl from London.  I’d love to give a class that will be a good wish and the good start of her life in Tokyo.

 

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We prepared cucumber with creamy sesame dressing, sautéed eggplant with sweet miso paste.

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Then making Japanese egg omelet. Even though they haven’t seen Japanese egg omelet, the square one, but they made good shaped egg roll eventually.

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Look at her work!  She made beautiful sushi roll. The sushi contents fresh salmon sashimi, egg omelet, cucumber and seasoned fried tofu.

They enjoyed Japanese meal at the class. It was really precious time to talk about their new life in their dorm.

Many thanks!

Kisshy

Salmon saute class on August 31st

It is my last day to give cooking class in August.   It had been humid and warm weather during summer.   I’m glad to give  many classes and met many people from over the world.

I welcomed a couple from France for cooking salmon sauté with vegetables in miso sauce and Inari-zushi ( sushi).  They liked inari-zushi so wanted to make how to make.

I like inari-zushi, and honestly I buy them rather than home making since it takes time to prepare it.   Although I make it annually or twice a year when I prepare for family event, home made Inari-zushi is much tastier than the store bought.

First, we cooked rice and making vinegar sushi rice. Meanwhile we cook fried tofu in seasonings and let them cool in room temperature. Then making small rice balls and put the balls into the fried tofu pockets.

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The couple also cooked Tamago-yaki, Japanese egg omelet and tuna Temari-sushi as well.

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Finally we  made big lunch and the couple enjoyed the meal.

As long as you can get fried tofu and fundamental Japanese seasonings, you can make your own Inari-zushi.

Hope you enjoy making inari-zushi back your home!

Many Thanks!

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon nanban marinade class on August 6th

I welcomed 3 girls today for my cooking class.  We cooked salmon – nanban marinade, cucumber dressed creamed sesame, pan fried eggplant with miso sauce, rice and miso soup.

I served fresh bonito sashimi as extra seasonal dish.  I’d love my guests to taste something seasonal small dish, which may not encounter the taste for non-Japanese people  at common restaurants.

Serving fresh bonito sashimi with julienne fresh Japanese herbs is one of our Japanese summer delight. We eat the bonito sashimi with ginger and vinegar sauce instead of wasabi and soy sauce.

Also we prepare edamame-rice. Edamame is also now in season. I thought  fresh edamame, I meant non- frozen, might be unusual for visitors.

I’m glad to share the people come to my class and find something new “real” Japanese taste.

Today’s participants enjoyed those tastes pretty much so I’m glad to hear that.

 

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Hope you enjoy the trip in Japan, and hope you will become familiar to cook Japanese food!

 

Many thanks,

Kisshy