While we love making sushi and ramen from scratch (like, love-love), we couldn't help but want to share with you some of our other favorite Japanese dishes to make in your home kitchen. If sushi and ramen are the hits (some of our most popular classes), then these guys are what Paul McCartney eats on his days off where he doesn't want to make a homemade stock, churn out noodles or dust off the sushi mat. Is this analogy working? Okay, moving on.
The Chopping Block will be offering a Japanese Homestyle hands-on cooking class in January 2017, and I'm going to talk about what's on the menu.
We now take you from the immaculate sushi bar to a neighborhood somewhere in Kyoto, where a mom n' pop diner with a massive griddle top makes Okonomiyaki (japanese vegetable and meat/seafood pancakes) to order.
These pancakes literally mean "as you like it," and that they are, with an array of vegetables, cabbage, pork, squid or octopus added to a batter and fried right in front of your eyes. Styles of the pancake differ regionally, with varieties hailing from Hiroshima adding thick wheat noodles to the fray. These pancakes are absolutely delicious, super fun to make and will impress your friends and family, guaranteed. They are also a great way to use up any leftover baby squid or tiny shrimp you have in your refrigerator if you are lucky enough to have some! In this class, we'll be using pork belly.
Our journey into this new menu continues with a crash course in katsu. Katsu usually involves a protein, in this case pork, which is battered in Panko and then pan (or deep) fried. It's crispy, crunchy comfort food and we serve it with perfectly cooked short grain rice and homemade quick pickles for some tang. What really makes this dish is the Tonkatsu sauce, which is sort of the japanese equivalent of bbq sauce. You'll want to put it on everything (including your okonomiyaki, above)
After all that grilling and frying, it's time to cool off with Soba (buckwheat) noodles and dipping sauce. There isn't enough cold food in the world, have you noticed that? There's salad, there's pasta salad, there's egg salad, and there's gazpacho. But there's only so much gazpacho one can eat. Soba noodles are a great alternative to straight wheat noodles or any simple-sugared carbohydrate for those watching their blood sugar, or just craving a healthier alternative but still wanting the fun of twirling pasta on their eating utensil of choice. Dipping soba in your own homemade dashi dipping broth (the silent partner of Japanese cuisine) will really shake the blahs out of weeknight dinner.
For the final course, we'll head back to the grill for some miso-glazed Japanese eggplant. If you love the flavor of eggplant and want a dish that makes it the star of the show, this is it. You'll learn how to whip up a delicious miso glaze that lets the simple flavor of this nightshade veggie really shine through.
We hope you'll sign up and bring these Japanese favorites into your kitchen this winter! If all this talk of sushi and ramen reminded you that you've been wanting to take your date, friend or sister in, please do sign up for those classes as well.
Here are all of our upcoming options:
Japanese HomeStyle Cooking: