Tempura & Gyoza class

The main dish was… well, some of my guests liked Gyoza dumplings with pork, others Tempura with prawns and vegetables, so we ended up making both and share. Fortunately there were 6 guests in total at this class and everybody was really good at cooking, thus everything went so amazingly smooth! 

The  ingredients I chose for Tempura at this class were prawns, eggplants, Maitake mushrooms, Shiso herbs and pumpkins. I cannot miss Maitake as that is my favorite Tempura item.

For Tempura dipping sauce, our regular recipe uses Dashi soup stock, soy sauce, Mirin etc. But I also recommend to go simple ways especially in hot summer days, with salt and lemon wedge.

My guests were a famimly from Houston, USA and a couple from Gold Coast, Australia. One of the ladies pointed out that we don’t need to visit Asian food stores for any special supply if we try Tempura with salt and lemon. I absolutely agree!

As one of our side dishes, we prepared Edamame, green fresh soy beans simply boiled and salted. This is one of our typical summer snacks. At Japanese bars and taverns, Edamame will often appear with a glass of beer. It is one of the healthiest snack to go but only in summer. 

I hope my guests liked their home cooking experience at my kitchen!

Many thanks for coming,

 

Akiko

Pork Ramen & Gyoza class

My guest for this class was a group of Galician and French couples. It was their annual reunion trip and I was honored to be part of their vacation in Tokyo.

Our lunch menu:

Pork Ramen with Miso meat sauce, stir fried vegetables, soy sauce flavored egg, pork slice as toppings

Pork and vegetable Gyoza

Crushed cucmber salad

Lots of questions and lots of fun talks! My male guests were very keen to use Japanese vegetable knives and I love the way they paused for a photo, Spanish Samurai at my kitchen!?

Ramen soup has 3 components, pork bone soup stock, Japanese Dashi stock with smoked bonito, dried sardine and sun-dried Shiitake mushroom, and simmered pork sauce of soysauce & Mirin. We also prepare a variety of topping so it tales a lot of work and preparation to make this simple bowl of hot noodles.

At the class we also made Japanese style pork dumplings, Gyoza. The recipe is originally from China like Ramen,  but it is now a very common food for all Japanese families to cook & eat at home. We mainly grill the dumplings, then put the lid and steam to finish up our Gyoza.

I hope my guests enjoyed their time at my kitchen,

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Pork Ramen & Gyoza class with TV crew! -September 2017

After my  summer vacation, this was the first class at my place and very memorable one indeed, as I hosted 2 fun  couples from NY and Paris.  We also received an inquiry from local TV in Tokyo that they wanted to film visitors coming from overseas for Gyoza making class!

I was very nervous but thanks to my cheerful & talented guests, everything went really nicely!

A young lady from Paris already had good skills for Gyoza making and her frills on Gyoza were just amazing! There were lots of Wow!s at her works during the class.

Another lady from NY is a professional voice actress so she’s got a beautiful & soothing voice,  and she was such a mood maker which helped a lot to make me feel confortable even with TV people with big camera etc.

TV  people asked many questions to my guest, such as “have you known Gyoza before coming to Tokyo?”,”why you wanted to try making Gyoza?”

I was curious to hear their answers and found out that there is a Gyoza bar in Paris now. In NY you often find Gyoza in Bento box with rice but these Gyoza are usually fried, not grilled.

My guests said that Japanese style Gyoza are crispy on the bottom, then the top part are tender, which is different form Chinese styles of steamed or boiled Gyoza.

I adore Chinese style dumplings and personally I think they are more authentic with a great variety, but requires much more skills & practices(at least to me…).  What I like about Japanese style Gyoza is simple; it is so easy to make, ingredients are very reasonable, and fun to eat with your families and friends!

By the way we made delicious pork Ramen,too! Here are some photos. Sorry Gyoza are almost gone at this stage but you must come and find yourself!

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Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian & Pork Gyoza & Miso Aubergine class / July 2017

Gyoza, Japanese style dumplings are becoming one of the most popular main dishes these days. It is fun to make, yummy to taste!  If you have several guests who have different dietary requirement, you can simply prepare different types of fillings.  Some with pork, some with vegetables, which is what I did at this class. 

I welcomed 4 girls from Ireland and USA on this day and 2 were vegetarians, so we prepared 2 types; pork Gyoza & mushrooms and tofu Gyoza. Both Gyoza also had vegetables like cabbage and same seasonings.  

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Once wrapped, they all look exactly the same so just be careful when you cook them to remember which is which. 

My guests also liked our side dish with eggplant.  In Japanese, eggplant is called ‘Nasu’, a simple short spelling but some Europeans call it ‘aubergine’, sounds more like a French dish with complicated technique but this is another easy and yummy home cooking menu.  

The Miso sauce for this menu is sweet and savory. It is hard to explain the taste so you must come and try yourself!

I also learned one new thing about Irish culture from my guests, Leprechaun. Another long spelling but I am a fan of Harry Potter so this was easy to remember. I hope this little man will bring a lot of happiness and good luck to my guest girls from west and east of Japan.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Ramen Cooking Class on June 23rd ’17

I had a Ramen class and the  participants are wonderful couple   came from London today.

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You may figure out how cooking Ramen is complicated when you take the cooking class.  The key taste of ramen is how much  UMAMI containing in the noodle bowl.

I prepare some items for the ramen the day before.  Braised pork is one of them.  I tried to complete cooking ramen in 2 hours cooking time in the class, and I’ve tried to cook braised pork in an hour. However, the result is not good enough for me. May be I need more practice, but I couldn’t satisfied the taste and texture of the pork.  So I decided to cook in advance, the night before.

Many participants at the class were impressed on this braised pork. It takes time to cook, but the seasonings are quite simple: soy sauce, sake and sugar.

Cooked pork produces Umami a lot, so I used cooked sauce for ramen soup.

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I like to use pork shoulder for braised pork, but can be substitute to other part of pork.

 

Adding hot water to cooked pork seasonings becomes nice ramen noodle soup. My ramen cooking containing more umami into a bowl though. How profound  to know umami and ramen!

Many thanks,

Kisshy

 

 

Simple, fun and easy side dish with cucumbers on April18th.Class

On this class of Sushi Rolls, I picked up one of the easiest and fun side dish recipes. That is what we call Crushed Cucumber salad.IMG_5685

 As the name tells, the recipe is quite simple. You salt your cucumbers, crush them with a wooden pestle ( which we use for pounding tossed sesame etc.). The tip is DO NOT use a knife when you cut cucumbers.

Why? Because when you cut them with a sharp knife, the cut end will be very smooth. But if you crush them or break them with a good pressure, the cut end will be rugged and uneven, so the seasonings are likely to stay on surface and taste better.

I use fragrant sesame oil and salt for seasonings.  Maybe add a little bit of leek, finely sliced or chopped fresh coriander if you like. Toss them all and keep in a fridge for some time and that is the end of the recipe.

When you are looking for some cooking experience for small children but you are not sure to let them use knives, this recipe is ideal. But I have noticed big boys also love the cruching process of this recipe!

So simple that I feel sorry to call this a ‘dish’  but it is my family’s favorite menu specially in summer time after a hot and humid day. You will find this menu at many Izakaya (Japanese style bars) yet never at a classy restaurants.

The only concern is that cucumbers in Japan are quite thin, while some kind of cucumbers overseas are much bigger and thicker.  On April 18th. I welcomed guests form Australia, Swiss and USA.  I am wondering if my guests were able to crush their local cucumbers after getting back home and tried this recipe.

 Many thanks for coming!

Akiko