Double Main dish course of Tempura & Chicken Karaage

My guests from Canada requested;

Chicken Karaage, Japanese style fried chicken & Tempura with prawns and vegetables.

Summer is a great season to cook Tempura, as we have a variety of colorful vegetables perfect for this menu, such as Kabocha pumpkin, eggplant, Shiso leaves, and corn!

When I do Tempura with corn, I take all corn pieces off the cob with my fingers. This is a rather tiring process when I cook alone but my guests did it beautifully! So I could enjoy some yummy Tempura of corn at lunch table with my guests, thank you for my team!

If you are a fan of coriander/cilantro, chop a bunch of fresh green ones and add to corn. For this Tempura, I recommend to eat just with salt simply. Or maybe with some thick creamy Greek yoghurt with a pinch of salt & your favorite spices.

If not, our Japanese traditional Tempura sauce will do just as great. We use our Dashi(soup stock), soy sauce and Mirin. Mirin is a kind of Sake and very, very sweet but not a spoon of sugar added. We use this liquor mainly for cooking nowadays.

This traditional Tempura dip sauce works amazing with sweet seasonal Kabocha pumkin Tempura. That is one of my kids favorites but be careful when you cut kabocha, as its green skin is quite tough.

My young guests at this class were also really sweet and I enjoyed cooking with them a lot.
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

Seafood & Nuka-zuke class

The menu was seafood(Swordfish & Salmon) Nanban-zuke, eggplant with sweet Miso sauce, fresh seasonal Bonito marinade with garlic & ginger, Miso soup with fried Tofu and Choy Sum greens.

At this class, I welcomed young Swedish boys from Stockholm, a couple from Chicago, USA and a Canadian traveller from Ottawa .

A lady from US is very knowledgeble about fermented foods and she is making her own Kimchee, Sauerkraut etc. Naturally she was very interested in our fermented pickles i.e. Tsukemono. I was very happy to have a chance to show my Nuka bed and  we all tasted my Nuka Zuke-ed cucumbers and carrots.

A gentleman from Canada asked me what kind of wood chips Japanese use in making Katsuo Bushi (Smoked Bonito). That was an unusual question but later he turned out to be a semi-professional chef and makes his own smoked food. No wonder!

Congratulations my team  our lunch turned out really yummy !

At our lunch table, my Swedish guests also told us about their exotic fermented food, a kind of canned fish but my old brain hasn’t got enough memory to store this Swedish  name…

He told us that some Swedish people were trying to export this product to Japan at one stage, as we are known as  seafood crazy but not quite succeeded yet.

Thank you all for lots of interesting stories, 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

Japanese cooking class on Jul 13th

It is Ramen Class today!

Menus

Miso Ramen with sautéed ground pork and simmered pork on top

Gyoza

Crushed Cucumber marinated with soy- ginger

Rice

Matcha cake

Welcome to my kitchen, wonderful family from New Zealand and food lover Spanish man!   They loved Miso Ramen. The class was a lot of fun and I laughed a lot during the class. Thank you everyone to make the class delightful!

 I’m glad to hear that the family cooked Ramen after they got back to their home in New Zealand.

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This is Miso Ramen we cooked at the class.

I prepare  chicken soup and simmered pork hours ahead and we will finish wish season the soup, stair fly vegetables and sautéed ground pork  and preparing ramen noodle together at the class.   we made Gyoza in the class. everybody like to wrap the gyoza, and did very well!

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The places we shared at the class….

When there are more than two groups in a class, we often share the trip information.  I often realize that there are many aspect of Tokyo even Japan, like food, hot springs and  amusements but I haven’t know a lot of things. Now I learn a lot from my gests.  I appreciate that very much!

This is a nice sushi restaurant.  The price is super, but believe it worth.

Kyu bei 

http://savoryjapan.com/travel/tokyo/kyubey.html

 

sushi shou   in yotsuya  Alain Ducasses favarite, pricy too

http://www.yelp.com/biz/%E3%81%99%E3%81%97%E5%8C%A0-%E6%96%B0%E5%AE%BF%E5%8C%BA

 

 

This is not that so expensive but really nice sushi. There is a brunch in tsukiji outside of the market.  “Sushi-sei”

http://www.sunnypages.jp/travel_guide/tokyo_restaurants/sushi/Tsukiji+Sushi+Sei%E3%80%80/796

 

This is Okinawa shop in Ginza. The shop might have sea grapes.

https://travel.sygic.com/Japan/Tokyo-Prefecture/Tokyo/Ginza-Washita-Shop/

 

 

This is a website for taco rice in Tokyo  written in Japanese but pics are nice.

http://www.hotpepper.jp/food/KEY0016/f1600594/SA11/

 

 

Many thanks!

Kisshy

 

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