Above: Miso-marinated pork shoulder steak, garnished with shiso. Served with yakisoba - stir fried soba noodles.
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a meat and poultry cooking class as a guest at Yuki's Kitchen. Originally from Japan, restaurant-trained chef Yuki Gomi now does catering events and teaches sushi and Japanese cooking classes in her beautiful flat in Crystal Palace. I was really looking forward to learning from her and growing my little bag of tricks for home meals and dinner parties.
The day's main meat dish was going to be a miso-marinated pork shoulder steak. So Yuki opened the session with a little otaku (Japanese hip kids slang for geek) session on the what and why of miso, which is made from fermented soy beans.
We tasted 4 kinds of miso. From left: The black / red hatcho miso from Nagoya which is fermented along with red beans and tastes like marmite; 2 kinds of brown miso, fermented with varying levels of wheat; and a very light "white" miso fermented with rice.
Yuki then got down to making the miso marinde, which, in addition to pork, she reckons will also work well with chicken, white fish and... lamb! (Think I'll have to try the latter to believe it...)
Along with a base miso marinade, Yuki also hand-grinded some black sesame seeds, and used the grainy paste as an absolutely gorgeous sauce for some quickly blanched green beans.
Sweet, salty, nutty, fragrant... what's not to like? Can't wait to make this at home. You'll be able to sample this diabolically simple and yummy dish at Yuki's debut Supperclub evening on 21 June.
Another lovely vegetable side dish: Kinpira gobo, or spicy stir fried burdock root and carrots, all julienned. Yuki's little secret? Eat this the day after you make it, so that the flavours sink in even deeper.
Another fun dish I'm looking forward to trying at home: Seaweed and egg drop soup. I grew up with a Chinese version of this soup, but have to admit I like this Japanese version better, as the addition of cooking sake, mirin and sesame oil really adds depth to the flavour of the soup.
The eye popping gorgeous gold of the Posh Birds eggs might have helped to influence my opinion as well. Here's Yuki's cheffy trick for making lovely feathery (rather than clumpy) egg drop soup. Feed the beaten egg into the saucepan via a strainer!
Another chef trick picked up while boiling soba noodles before stir-frying them: Just as the pan is about to boil over, dribble in a touch of cold water. Do this 2 or 3 times (Yes, that means make sure the pot isn't very full at the beginning). This is what Yuki was taught by the Japanese soba master she studied under, who said that this was the way to achieve perfect al dente soba noodles. Upon sharing that anecdote with her Italian friends, they apparently said, "Yes that's exactly what we do to get perfect al dente pasta as well!"
Meanwhile, the pork shoulder steaks had been grilling in the oven. And now, if I may, a food porn moment for the carnivores out there.
And now to lunch!
I have to admit, when I started flipping through Yuki's recipe sheets at the start of this Japanese meat cooking class, I did think to myself, "Is that it? These recipes all look almost laughably simple." But then I realised the magic and usefulness of this approach as I tasted each dish and marveled at how downright delicious they were. There isn't a long list of over-exotic ingredients or tricky equipment involved. Students of this class will, without a doubt, be able to replicate and improvise on these dishes when they get home.
This was a demonstation-style class, and personally, I prefer a more hands-on approach (which Yuki uses for her gyoza and sushi classes). But again, as delicious as all these dishes are, they were all quite simple to make, so following Yuki wasn't a problem at all. And, if you ask nicely, I'm sure Yuki will be happy for you to come to the demonstration area and take on a kitchen task for her!
Yuki conducted a one-off ramen class in the winter. I wonder if I can persuade her to do another one... Meanwhile, you can keep track of Yuki's class calendar by clicking on the logo below.
Disclosure: I'm the founder of Edible Experiences, which sells class and event bookings on behalf of Yuki's Kitchen. I attended this class as a guest of Yuki's Kitchen. This class usually costs £55.