Going along with the food theme, I rooked another friend into teaching me how to cook some of her favorites, and mine, of course.
I met Miki through a connection between Anna and her daughter, Ruri. Anna and Ruri had met at ISS, where she went to school for her 5th grade year but they really didn’t hang out then. After we started the 6th grade and Anna was homeschooling, Anna took the initiative and invited Ruri over and her mom came to visit too. They are Japanese. We are Texan. But we really hit it off and became fast friends.
Being the shy person that I am, I came out of my shell a little and just flat out asked Miki if she would teach me to cook some Japanese food. :) She said, of course! So here we go…
Anna and I went to her place this past Wednesday. Anna and Ruri majorly goofed off and had a blast and Miki and I had our own kind of fun in the kitchen. One of the things I REALLY wanted to learn to make was Chawanmushi. We love that stuff!! I even put a photo of the recipe down there for you. She also taught me to make Spicy Tuna Handrolls, along with sushi rice, and we also made cucumber and seaweed salad. We needed to make Dashi for the Chawanmushi and come to find out you use Dashi for Miso Soup and Soba/Udon noodle soup and Japanese Curry or you can just take it plain with some rice. It’s a broth that if you have had Japanese food, you will know it’s Japanese.
Would you believe that Chawanmushi is so simple to make and she even made it in her microwave. No steamer! There was no cooking in the oven, the rice was cooked in the rice cooker with this cool stick of charcoal (Binchotan – 3rd picture) to absorb the bad water flavors. This was new to me. It’s not your run of the mill bbq pit charcoal so don’t go sticking that in your rice cooker. She taught me the proper way to roll a handroll and she beat her eggs with chopsticks. I loved that!! I really need to start using chopsticks more when I cook. Another thing she used were scissors. Paunnee used scissors too and it’s just a really nifty idea. They just use seperate ones for different types of foods. Scissors are very commonly used here to cut food. Maybe they are in the US too but it’s new to me. I gotta get me some color coded food scissors.
Miki, like Paunnee, was so organized. They had everything ready and we just had to put it all together. Living in Asia, you really have to be organized. Well some people do. Many people here live in really small spaces where everything has to have its place and you just don’t have room for extras. Often the living space is decent size but kitchens are tiny and storage space is tinier. She and Paunnee had just the right amount of pots and pans, just the right number of cooking utensils and everything had its place. It has really made me come back and take a look at my kitchen and how much space I have and how much stuff I have in that space. I have SO many baking sheets, pots and pans and at least three sets of measuring cups. That’s kind of ridiculous. I’m grateful for my “stuff” and I really do use all of it but do I really need all of it? Not really.
I really enjoyed cooking with Miki! Here are some photos from our cooking lesson.