good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Adventures in Cooking: Kyoto Uzuki

During our stay in Kyoto, we not only got to see some spectacular shrines and temples, but we were also lucky enough to take a hands-on, four course cooking lesson in Kyoto cuisine. The class was taught by Emi of Kyoto Uzuki at her home. This was our first travel/cooking experience and it was so much fun! Above was our favorite dish, Taino Kinome Yaki (grilled seabream with baby sansho leaves). Not only did I learn about the traditional flavor profile, new ingredients, but I also learned a great way to prepare grilled fish- cut slits in skin to prevent curling/marinade/blot excess liquid/season/grill. This method yields a nicely grilled fish with delicate flavor and not a trace of fishy-ness.

Before taking the first bite, make sure to garnish with a handful of sansho leaves. This is more than just pretty garnish. The sansho leaves are a bit lemony, peppery, and they impart a subtle numbness on the tongue when eaten. A perfect accompaniment to more than a few Japanese dishes. I have to say, we were so impressed with the flavor of this garnish (actually, they are fresh baby sprigs from the pepper tree), we immediately bought one upon return home. Sadly, we have to wait quite a few years until it will be ready.Above is the Dressed Salad of Nanohana (broccoli rabe) and Prawns with Shiromiso Dressing. This was my second favorite dish and I will definitely be making it again. Once all of the ingredients are prepped, assembly is quick so I can easily see this as a great starter for a dinner party.

Simmered Fuki and Yuba (soymilk skin)- Fuki is one of those special Japanese vegetables that has a distinct flavor and I can’t think of a comparable substitute. It looks like a thinner version of celery but does not taste like celery. The flavor is closer to a faint lemon/fennel essence.

Stir-fried Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Beef, and Asparagus- Another simple dish to come together once the prep is complete.Fresh takenoko has to be boiled and skin removed before slicing for the stir-fry.

Takenoko Gohan (rice) was a bonus dish Emi decided to teach us. Who doesn’t love rice?

This dish needs a sheet of fried tofu sliced thin. I am a fan of fried tofu. It’s also great as a garnish for miso soup. There’s also more sliced takenoko in this rice.

See what we cooked the rice in? No electric rice cooker here- just this fabulous clay pot. I need to get one. Cooking rice in a clay pot yields fluffier rice and that makes it more enjoyable to eat. It’s just fancier.

Kyoto Uzuki Cooking Class

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