Have Camera, Will Travel
- Oct 28, 2006
The other couple turned out to be Italian. The woman spoke excellent English, but the man spoke hardly any at all, and none of us spoke Japanese, so the demo was conducted in English. But it turned out to be more than a demo, it was actually a cooking class, and we participated in preparing the food!
We started out with tea and some sort of jellied sweet. Then Midori brought out all the various ingredients she was going to be using to create the dishes we were going to cook and eat. It included a wide variety of sauces.
Our first dish was gyoza. Gyoza are little stuffed, crescent-shaped dumplings. Midori had packages of pre-cut, round, thin dough. She mixed up a filling of ground pork, scallions, cabbage, garlic and various seasonings. We took a small amount, placed it on the circle of dough, folded it sort of in half, and pinched the round edge of the top half. We used warm water to make it stick together.
This wasn't even half of what we made!!
We made a TON of them! Then once we had them all made, Midori took them and placed them in a circle around a skillet with a bit of oil and water in it, and steamed and then fried them till they were golden. They smelled (and tasted and looked) delicious!! We ate them hot, with a teriyaki-based dipping sauce. OMG, we just ate & ate, and were SO stuffed, then remembered this was only the first dish!!
The next dish we did was Takoyaki (octopus balls). They are dough balls with a chunk of octopus in the middle. How she made them was really quite clever. You have a special molded takoyaki pan, which has several half-circle indents. You put a chunk of octopus and some other ingredients in each indent, then add in the liquidy dough made up of eggs and flour and seasonings and something called Dashi, which is a broth made out of dried fish.
Then, as the pan heats up and the dough starts to solidify, she took a toothpick and started flipping the half-circles of dough about a quarter-turn, adding more dough, flipping it more, adding more dough, over and over until you miraculously end up with actual little balls!
It was really quite clever! (And much more difficult than it looked!)
Continued in next post.