Thursday, December 11, 2014

Learning to Cook Japanese

     It is widely known around KEEP that I love to eat and I'm the weird American that loves pretty much all Japanese food. As the days are starting to wind down here, I want to get in as much as I possibly can. Hoshii-san from Seisen-Ryo, whose parents had my family over for dinner while they were here, invited me to her parents' house once again for a Japanese cooking lesson. Hoshii-san's mother already knew how interested I was in Japanese culture. She is a very crafty woman and collects old kimonos to create things with and enlightened me one night on the customs and how kimonos correlate to a certain season and some kimonos are for old women and some are for young. I learned so much from her already so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to learn even more. Plus, I already knew she was an amazing cook!

     On the menu were two different items, okonomiyaki, which is a kind of savory pancake for a lack of a better term and one of my favorite Japanese foods, as well as karaage, which is Japanese style fried chicken that I was told was a must to learn because it so popular. 
Gathering all the supplies and ingredients--that's my Japanese notebook from Hoshii-san's mother there with a cover made from a kimono. I thought it was more than fitting to write the recipes in there.
     Now this isn't a cooking blog so I won't bore you with all the steps to creating this okonomiyaki masterpiece other than you take all the ingredients and mix it together, pour it on the griddle, flip it, and top it with even more goodness. We made two different types, the normal "everything but the kitchen sink" style and then a bacon, corn and onion one. Getting hungry thinking about them again!
Chopped seaweed and dried shrimp. 

Katsuobushi, or dried, smoked fish flakes that are as common on food in Japan as butter is in the US, used as a topping.
Different okonomiyaki sauces for the final product!
Mixing the cabbage, an egg, the dried and fresh squid and dried shrimp and other ingredients together to make the batter.
Side #1 cooking.
Finished product with okonomiyaki sauce, seaweed flakes, kotsuobushi and Japanese mayo as toppings. Mmmmmm!!! If you ever get the chance to buy Japanese mayo, do it! It's life changing.
Our bacon, onion and corn one--to die for!
     Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the karaage process because I was more instrumental in that cooking process, but the way it differs from American fried chicken is you marinate it in soy sauce, sake, garlic and ginger for a bit then roll it in flour and then fry it a few times. I can totally understand why this delicious dish is so popular. Everyone told me it is a special day when this is served for school lunch. I'm planning on bringing this home to the family so we can have it for Christmas dinner--we'll see how that goes. 

Until next time,


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