As I may have mentioned, the food in Japan is amazing. I have a list of all my favorite foods that I'm totally going to add to my cooking repertoire when I return to the U.S. Although I have to figure out how to get all the delicious Japanese sauces... hmmm.
Anyway, I have had a chance to try my hand in the kitchen a few times during my time here so far. The first thing I learned to make: gyoza! (Also known as dumplings or pot stickers.) Ok ok, so this is actually a Chinese dish, but it’s really popular here too and it’s delicious! You can buy the dough for the dumplings from the supermarket, already rolled really thin to the correct size, but I had the opportunity to roll homemade dough by hand. Pretty cool! After rolling the dough, it's stuffed with the filling and crimped neatly to close. These dumplings were boiled, but there was some extra filling so some were pan fried the next day.
I also learned how to make another type of dumpling called shumai. They are similar to the ones above, but instead of crimping the dumplings all the way around, these are delicately shaped into small, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth flowers. Ok, slightly deformed flowers, I haven't mastered this quite yet.
These were steamed and then enjoyed!
I don't have any pictures, but I made spring rolls one day too! At this point, I'm about ready to open my own dim sum shop. Maybe I'll keep it in mind in case the grad school thing doesn't work out. :)
Another food note: it is customary to take the skin off of fruits like grapes and peaches. You might get some quizzical looks if you pop a grape in your mouth or take a big bite out of a peach... not that I speak from experience or anything. Just an FYI if any of you are ever caught in a fruit situation in Japan one day.
This isn't the only cooking I've been able to do here though. I got to participate in a cooking class with people with special needs and their mothers! This group meets once a month to cook, socialize, and have tons of fun! It was awesome! There were a couple teachers who prepared the menu and gave the rest of us guidelines as we worked. Everyone was able to pitch in and work together to make a delicious meal!
|Rockin' the aprons!|
|Eiko and her mother, peeling shrimp.|
|Naru (right) with one of the teachers. Too fun!|
|This sweet girl had the right idea, |
she was sitting under the air conditioner.
|Shinichi on parsley duty.|
|We fed 21 people!|
|Cold potato soup, salad with dried fruit, rice with shrimp and clams,|
grapes and pears for dessert!