Cooking Japanese Food in English


My friend introduced me to her friend who runs an Italian restaurant. She also speaks English fairly well and has interest in improving. One activity to sharpen her skills is a cooking class. Three Americans went to the restaurant today (it is closed on Tuesdays) and she taught us how to make very Japanese foods.

Her level of preparation was very impressive, all of the recipes were carefully translated and copied for each of us. We had too many cooks in the kitchen, but our hostess did about half of the work to keep things in line.

We made three main dishes: tonjiru (豚汁) – of which I have written before – chawan mushi (茶碗蒸し) and aji no tatsuta age (鯵の龍田揚げ). Our elegantly translated titles were: Miso Soup with Pork and Vegetables; Savory Custard Cup; and Deep-Fried Horse Mackerel.

The pork soup had Japanese radish, bok choy, tofu, scallions, and miso. Common recipes also include carrots, devil’s tongue, mushrooms, and so on. I suppose – aside from the pork – it is essentially a vegetarian dish. The fat seems to finish the flavor well, so I don’t know what it would be like without it.

The custard contained egg, stock (from seaweed or dried fish), mirin, soy sauce, and salt. This kind of custard is made in a steamer with all kinds of surprise ingredients inside. We used shrimp, fish, shiitake mushroom, ginkgo nut, kamaboko, and honewort. With a little creativity this could easily be made vegetarian (ovo-lactan, of course). One cook likes this dish because, as you eat it, you find surprises inside.

The horse mackerel was salted and peppered, coated with potato starch, and fried in canola oil. We served it with a sauce of soy, citron, grated radish, and green onions. Using potato starch and canola gives the fried food a lighter, crispier texture. Since everything can be fried. I imagine this could also be converted to a vegetarian recipe: mushrooms, sprouts, perilla leaves, …

Although, I haven’t been to the doctor yet, and I’m still feeling a little funny, none of the food caused me any pain, so I think I’ll write off the ulcer possibilities. Tonight I had class with a doctor’s wife, and she insisted I should come in and let him run a “fiber camera” down my digestive tract. If I can watch the images coming back from that, they may have sold me on the idea. That would be fun to watch.


2 Responses to “Cooking Japanese Food in English”

  1. I Can’t Go Anywhere… « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] the post office we walked past the restaurant where I got the Japanese cooking lesson recently. When we approached the next street, the owner appeared on her bike. After that we headed […]

  2. Toasted Toilet Paper Rolls « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] afficionados, I don’t know what will. My girlfriend was kind enough to make some really tasty tonjiru (豚汁) for my consumption. It was so tasty and there were left over ingredients, so I took a shot at […]

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