This was a private class with 2 x main dishes for a family from Indonesia. My guests’ choices were chicken Triyaki and pork Gyoza, plus a few side dishes including Edamame green beans.
The family had two boys, 7 and 5 years old. The eldest boy was the most passionate cook that day and he was so eager to learn everything including how to finish up a nice shiny Teriyaki sauce! It was so much fun to cook with this little chef.
His Mum and Gramma were kindly answering all my quesitons about Indonesian cuisine, including some recipe for rich and nutty Satay sauce. So we had a kind of chicken-dish sauce recipe exchange ! Satay is one of my children’s favorite menu so I didn’t want to miss this rare opportunity.
Congratulations on your 50th anniversary and many thanks for choosing our home cooking class on such a special trip to Japan from London UK!
Main dish choice by my guest couple was Chicken Teriyaki, all time favorite at my family. We also prepared Japanese style potato salad, which uses a lot of Mayo instead of butter, as well as thinly sliced onion, cucumber etc.
The most important ingredients for nice & flavorful Teriyaki sauce would be Mirin, a type of Sake. Its beautiful amber colour is a sign of good maturity and complex sweetness.
If you have a good bottle of Mirin, Teriyai sauce is simple and easy! My guest couple prepared a shiny golden brown sauce with no problem. This sauce goes really great along with plain white rice, too!
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.
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.
I gave a class of salmon teriyaki class for a group of three people. One sweet girl is a Tokyo expat and her friend came over with her husband from Paris then participated in my class.
I am embarrassed to speak in English in front of a person who speaks both Japanese and English since my English is not that good enough. However, I try my best to let the students understand what I explain in about food.
Most people impressed, or overwhelmed that Japanese cooking calls so much sugar. The combination of soy sauce and sugar make taste rich and nice, so that teriyaki sauce as well. Teriyaki sauce is only combining soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar. The sauce can be used for both fish(mainly salmon and yellow tail) and chicken.
The taste of sweet soy sauce flavor is called “ama-kara” taste in Japanese, and it go with white rice as our stable food, and sake as stable alcohol drink (!?).
The friendship of girls childhood friends made my heart warm. They are so sweet!
I’m glad to hear they liked ama-kara taste of salmon teriyaki. Hope you have a wonderful stay in Tokyo together!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
I hope my guests liked our Hokkaido style potato dish, too.
One of the characteristics of Japanese cooking is that we use a lot of sugar even for savory dishes,including Teriyaki sauce for chicken.
To make a good Teriyaki sauce, Mirin plays an important role. This is actually a kind of Sake, with alcohol content of nearly 14%.Mirin used to be drunk for certain ceremonial occasions but today mostly used as a seasoning.
Mirin’s sweetness comes from a natural aging of Mochi rice, some over 60 days, others over 1 ～ 3 years. Like balsamic vinegar or cheese, taste is more complex when aged longer and price higher. Its sugar content is as high as 47%.
Mochi rice would get saccharized when mixed with the Koji (rice malt) mold. Mochi Rice is often used for sticky dumplings. It is rich in a special kind of starche (amylopectin) that helps to produce more delicate sweetness.
Sometimes you may find a cheap alternative named ‘ Mirin-taste’ seasoning etc. At many cases they are using Sake or other alcohol with added sugar. They are not properly matured so its sweetness is nothing like Mirin’s. I would rather use Sake & sugar instead of such unkown sweet something.
For cooking Teriyaki chicken, simply grill your piece of chicken and when the skin is crispy enough, add Mirin, soy sauce, sugar etc. Make sure your sauce is nicely caramelized.
This sauce goes really nicely with steamed rice, too. Sometimes my kids love to eat just rice and Teriyaki sauce, leaving their chickens!That is no good for nutrition so I will be cross with them, but I understand why they do that.
I hope my guest from UK also enjoyed their Teriyaki chicken and rice.
I have received a request from a German couple visiting Tokyo that they would like to try Japanese Maguro (tuna) cooked as a steak. They also wrote that they are interested to see how to prepare Teriyaki sauce. So the menu was decided to be Maguro steak with Teriyaki sauce for their cooking class.
My son and daughters all love to eat Maguro but we mostly eat it as Sashimi, so our Maguro is always rare, or more precisely un-cooked. Therefore, to me, Maguro is naturally something to be tasted as rare as possible and even as a steak, it was to be done very rare or medium rare, with bright rose pink colour inside. If it is cooked well-done, then it would taste like canned tuna, which is not really something for guests travelling all the way from Europe to Japan!
For Teriyaki sauce, I usually use Sake, Mirin, soy sauce and sugar. This sweet & savory sauce is well known for chicken. But as a companion for Maguro, a little bit of Wasabi paste may also be good as it helps to reduce the fishiness. Of course Sashimi quality Maguro is never really fishy (at least for us Japanese) but just in case, as some of my guests are not used to eating lots of seafood.
Before serving, we sliced Maguro steak like a modest sized roast beef so its nice rosy meat is visible on the plate. Then we chopped some green onions and sprinkled them on top of our Maguro.
The couple said they do not eat much seafood at home but finished all of their very rare Maguro steak. It is always my pleasure to see empty plates at the end of the class!