Japanese Cooking, February 25
For our second event of the year, Sachiko shared her knowledge of the fabulous cuisine of Japan. Living in Vancouver surrounded by sushi restaurants, this workshop enlightened us on other aspects of Japanese home cooking, such as dashi, miso and onigri.
Firstly, everyone had a chance to introduce themselves at their table, meet their neighbours andshare their own experience of Japanese cuisine. It was especially fascinating to hear stories from those who have travelled in Japan and experienced the food culture there firsthand.
Sachiko explained how dashi, a cooking stock is traditionally made by heating water containing kelp and shavings of katsuobushi which is preserved tuna, also known as bonito flake. Dashi forms the base for the Japanese culinary staple, miso soup. We learnt that the miso we buy in the stores is usually only fermented for 2 months, but hand made miso is fermented for at least one year. To demonstrate the difference, we all got to sample Sachiko's home made miso, an absolute treat for the taste buds and bursting with rich flavour.
Afterwards, everyone pitched in to make onigiri rice balls filled with countless different fillings and wrapped in seaweed, as well as onigirazu, which is the newly emerging sandwich form of this snack. With a flash of her hand, Sachiko showed us how she forms rice into a perfect triangular package, a skill she's developed over 30 years and one hard to capture by camera!
What I particularly enjoyed about this workshop was the simplicity of the recipes and the subtle combination of ingredients and flavours. Not only did we feast on as many rice balls as we could consume, everyone went home with a combination of onigiri treats.
As we had a surplus of rice, Sachiko has also shared a delicious recipe for rice cakes to reuse leftover rice.