Gyoza party with happy American foodie girls!

The requested main dish was Gyoza dumplings. I suggested my guests if they don’t mind putting shrimp as well as pork in the fillings, which they also liked very much and it turned out as a great success!

One of my guests lived in Japan when she was a little girl. She said her memory from those days weren’t very clear, but she certainly remembered the taste of our traditional Dashi soup stock.

Her friend also tried Katsuo bushi (Smoked Bonito) grating and both found it full of flavors, almost like bacon from the ocean!

We made Miso soup from Dashi soup stock of Bonito, adding some thinly sliced pork, potato, lotus roots and onion. With a small piece of left-over lotus root, we fried lotus chips, too. This is my favorite appetizer and nice if you are welcoming vegetarian guests or almost anybody.

Several days after the class, I heard from one of my guest girls that she was doing a Gyoza party with her friends back in US! What a happy news!!!

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Vegetarian & Chicken Ramen for a family reunion

It was a request from a daughter who is now working in Germany to cook vegetarian Ramen & Gyoza, with her loving parents visiting from Australia. My pleasure to host a family reunion in Tokyo!

For Mum and Dad, we cooked some simmered chicken for Ramen and included pork in Gyoza filling.

For vegetarian Ramen, the topping was fried Tofu, cilantro, diced tomato, stir-fried eggplant & mushrooms etc. Of course soy sauce and Mirin flavored egg, too.

There was a lot of preparations to do but my guest family made it and our lunch tasted wonderful!

Before coming to my place, they were travelling the route of a Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho’s tour up north to Matsushima and it was very interesting to hear about their experiences, including a beautiful Haiku poem father created during his stay in Matsushima!

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

Passionate Japanese food lovers honeymooning from Israel, Oct 2017

Many of my guests are really passionate about Japanese food and it is always a great honor to get a chance to meet up with such people. This honeymoon couple  from Israel was definitely one of them.  They were fascinated to try a Japanese style vegetarian meal, including Tofu.

So the main dish was Sushi rolls with green vegetables, pickles and sesame. The couple chose a private lesson so we also did a few vegetable side dishes with three different sauces; sesame sauce, sweet miso sauce and creamy tofu sauce, as well as miso soup with vegetable stock.

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They were also very knowledgeable about Japanese history and interested in some antique plates and traditional  earthenwares, too.

One of my favorite Japanese earthenware is Oribe-yaki, old potteries in Gifu prefecture and known for its dark green colored glaze. I used my Oribe plates for our eggplant dish at this class and my guests kindly told me that they liked them  as well as various food we prepared together.

The next day, the couple surprised me with a news that they bought a rice cooker to take home after my class!

I hope they are now enjoying cooking Japanese food at their sweet home…

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

 

Sushi Class for a family : ingredients for sushi rolls

I’ve welcomed a family this morning for Sushi class. Sushi is popular in thin month.

 

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I prepare those ingredients for sushi roll.

Fresh salmon ( usually imported from Norway) , cooked shrimp, cucumber, avocado and seasoned fried tofu. I like to use fried tofu as ingredients for sushi roll.  It is easy to prepare and soy sauce based sweet soy sauce flavor makes the roll tastes better. Participants love this adding their roll.

This is fried tofu, we calls it “abura-age” in Japanese

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Cut this fried tofu in thick julienne, then simmer with soy sauce, sugar, sake and mirin  until liquids become thickened. You many keen to this flavor  sushi, Inari-zushi, the outside of rice is cooked fried tofu.

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This is desirable for vegetarian dish.

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Today’s participants enjoyed to make sushi roll.

Hope you will make sushi roll when you get back to your home!

 

Many thanks!

Kisshy

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

 

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

Vegetarian tempura class

We have Vegetarian tempura class today. The guests came  from the Michigan,  US and an expats who lives in Nagoya.

There are two sweet and cute young girls, tried to cook tempura and other dishes together.

Tempura seems not easy to fly as crispy.  People ask the questions how to cook proper way to cook.

I would say, tempura is common home cooking, so the preparation shouldn’t be so complicated. However I would say not expect as crispy as in the restaurant.

When I’ve lived in the U.S, I used to use all purpose flour and sparkling water for tempura batter. And I still use those ingredients when I cook at home.

I’ve been subscribing Japanese traditional cooking class every week and I’ve learned how to cook tempura in proper way.  The recipe in the cooking class contains flour, rice flour, egg and water. All the ingredients should be chilled enough.  The mixture shouldn’t be mixed too much, so mix them with chopsticks gently. and the consistency should be lumpy.

As a result, the tempura is thin battered and very crisp, and the vegetable has still moisture and very fresh texture.

It is absolutely fine recipe to skilled Japanese cook, but  the recipe doesn’t suit people who cook tempura fist time in my class. Sparkling water and flour make good batter for crispy enough tempura.

So I’ve kept teaching my easy recipe in the class. I heard some people tried my tempura recipe in their country and satisfied them. Believe me!

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The popular tempura in this season is spring onion kakiage. kakiage means mixed julienned vegetable fly. The onion contains moisture and has sweet flavor.  I usually add baby dried shrimp into tempura batter for non-vegetarian tempura, and people love it. I didn’t add shrimp at this time, but added julienned carrot. The guests liked the onion tempura.

Hope they enjoy cooking easy tempura for family!

 

Many thanks!

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seafood ramen class on March 22nd

I welcomed a couple from England to have a ramen cooking class.

Menu on March 22nd

Miso ramen, sautéed salmon and fresh vegetables, egg, corn with chicken-shrimp based soup

Tofu gyoza

crushed cucumber salad

sakura-mochi  ( cherry blossom flavored sticky rice cake)

I had a request of non-pork ramen / gyoza at this time from them.  So we cooked salmon ramen and tofu gyoza instead of pork garnished ramen and ground pork gyoza. This menus are my first trial, and both dishes turned out perfect; today’s guests liked them vey much.

Regretfully, I didn’t take any food picture at this time, always though. Since I’m busy when the ramen cooking has done and also I want the guests eat ramen  as early as possible.  It shouldn’t take time to eat ramen so long because the noodle get soggy in the soup after certain time.

Tofu gyoza is good option for vegetarian, made with ingredients you can get anywhere in the world and taste good!

 

 

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Using chop stick for cooking. Yes you can!

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Wrapping gyoza is a fun part!

 

Many thanks

Kisshy