Monday, 25 May 2009

Cooking class 10: Drinking party snack plate

I took two ABC cooking classes in May, as there wasn't really anything I wanted to do among the June offerings. Actually, I wasn't planning on taking this class, either, but seeing the scrummy-looking plates that another class was tucking into quickly changed my mind.

What we had was basically a degustation menu for a drinking party! Seven more or less healthy snacks, a domburi of sliced bonito topped with Japanese aromatics, and a drink. Nine items altogether. Not bad for a 1-hour lesson. (One hour, by the way, because the teacher cleaned did the cleaning up while we ate and we only had to wash our dishes!)

So, what all did we get? From left to right in the top photo: (back row) deep-fried ginger pork; broccoli dressed in cod-egg mayonnaise; crunchy cherry tomato and rakkyo (Japanese pickled shallot) salad; (front row) octopus with kim chi; deep-fried bonito and cheese parcels; sardine, ume (Japanese pickled plum) and lemon pinchos; and Japanese-style summer rolls.

The cherry tom/pickled shallot combi really hit the spot with me. Tart and crunchy, but still healthy (unlike salt and vinegar chips, say (g).)

The pork was also a bit of a revelation, with the strips of pork basically flung into hot oil still in their marinade. This is the same technique used for frying chunks of chicken, but I'd never come across it for thin strips of meat. The katakuriko (dogtooth violet starch) magically forms a coating when it hits the oil. It's ingenious, really.

I was particularly super impressed with the rice bowl, which was topped not only with my favourite seared bonito, but ginger, myoga (Japanese ginger) and ao-jiso (perilla) and garlic chips as well! A very moorish mouthful. I will definitely be making this again, so stay tuned for a translation of the recipe.

Bonito also showed up arm in arm with cheese in little deep-fried "purses". These fun little bites would probably be perfect for anyone who needs their munchies to be fried.

In case you are wondering, it was not beer, cheap sake or shochu we had to wash this down, but cider vinegar soda. The girls found this a little tart, but it was still a bit on the mild side for me, even with the lemon garnish squeezed in (g). I reckon it also wanted some ginger juice to add a bit of zip.


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