3 Easy Ways to Make Japanese Soup #SakuraDays

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The chef from Guu Izakaya and teacher at TKC Japanese Gourmet Kitchen was giving cooking lessons during the Sukura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Garden.

Always up for a chance to learn how to cook, I sat down for the class. It was actually an hour long and we learned how to make 3 types of Japanese-style soup without powder soup stock. Quick and easy! Here is what I learned.

First we learned what the elements of tastes were and the most important element that gives you a very tasty soup - Umami.

Mix is 2 or more types of umami together

Umami means very tasty, delicious and consists of 3 types:
  1. Glutamate
    - vegetables, kombu, tomatoes, onions, chinese cabbage, cheese, etc
  2. Inosinate
    - meat and fish
  3. Guanylate
    - mushrooms
Mixing 2 or more of the three types of umami increases the deliciousness 10 times more!

Don't Forget the Salt

The key to a good soup is SALT. 1% salt level in soup is the best percentage. But the ingredients also add salt to the soup and evaporation increases the percentage so aim for 0.5 to 0.6% - that's about 2 -3 teaspoons in 5 cups of water (2L).

Chef showed us how to make a Vegatable soup, Chicken and Anchovies Soup and Japanese DASHI soup. One common ingredient in them all is kelp (KOMBU).

Vegatable Soup
- chop up and mix in Water, Sake, kelp, mushroom, onion, carrots, burdock, chinese cabbage, ginger, salt, soy sauce and bring to boil
- top off with NORI (seaweed) and sesame seeds

Chicken and Anchovies Soup
- marinate 3 pieces of chicken thighs in 3 tblsp of sake, salt, sugar for a 5 min
- chop and mix in water, garlic, dried anchovies, kelp, tblsp of rice, onion, and chicken
- bring to boil

Japanese DASHI Soup
- mix in water, bonito flakes, Kelp, green onion, salt, soy sauce, tofu, yuzu
- bring to a soft boil and take out the kelp (don't want the kelp to overpower the taste of the bonito)



I went home armed with my newfound knowledge, I attempted to recreate one of the recipes. Except I didn't bring my ingredient list and missed some others. So I ended up mixing things - chicken bones, chinese cabbage, enoki mushrooms, king oyster mushroom, carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, rice, salt and sugar - it actually turned out pretty well! Success!


It was a fun cooking class and I enjoyed learning about Japanese style cooking. The rest of the Sukura Days Japan Fair was fun too. There were food stalls, performances, workshops and more!

There were still a couple of flowering cherry trees despite many of them flowering a couple of weeks early this year due to warm weather. They were beautiful!






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