Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kaiseki August 2007

This is soo bad of me. Nearly a month is gone and I am about to go for my second Kaiseki class and I haven't even blog about the first one.

Kaiseki, according to Wikipedia means "stone in the bosom". It refers to monks who would place warm stones in their obi to ward off hunger in the olden days. It later came to mean simple meals (vegeterian meals) that were served after the tea ceremony to Zen monks.

In the present day, kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food. Only fresh seasonal ingredients are used and are prepared in ways that aim to enhance their flavor. Finished dishes are carefully presented on colorful plates that are chosen to enhance both the appearance and the seasonal theme of the meal. Dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished, often with real leaves and flowers, as well as edible garnishes designed to resemble natural plants and animals.

I was excited about going for my first Kaiseiki cooking class and the menu is based on early spring.

M & I, being the excited ones were the first to arrive and we were greeted with a cup of green tea.

I took the chance to take a look around at the kitchen while sipping my tea and sight the preparation table where the slicing and dicing was to occur.

The rest of the class started trickling in and we were soon put to work. We were all delegated tasks so that we can complete all 7 dishes in about 2 hours. Hence, not everyone gets to learn cooking all the dishes due to time limit. However, a tip for those interested, makes sure that you stop what you're doing when you want to see how another dish is made or to speak out if there are certain dishes that you want to experience making.

M & I were delegated to make the first dish. An appetiser called "Sakizuke" (Baked chicken and Fish Cake with Poppyseeds). Although I've cook for the past few years, it still feels strange and a little hesitant as this is a different cuisine. Took a deep breath and got to work.
After a minor mishap in the misinterpretation of the recipe *gulp*, the dish was completed and all done. The pic above is when we took it out from the oven and the pic below shows the final presentation.

Second dish is the seasonal broth, "Wanmono". The Early Spring version is going to be the Chawanmushi - Steamed egg custard.

Pouring the egg into the cup for the final steaming.

The Steamer

The final product. It was soooo good. The best I've ever had, really light & smooth. It slids down your throat like silk.

Third dish is Sashimi "Mukozuke". Tuna Sashimi Shimofuri Style with Nori & grated daikon with Tosa soy sauce.

Kei demonstrated the Shimofuri style before a few of us tried our hands at it.
After lightly boiling, it is placed into iced water so as to achieve the 2 tone effect.

Doesn't it look fabulous?

4th dish is the Yakimono, "The Grilled Dish". Whole grilled prawns in the shell with mustard sauce and "Chrysanthemum Flower" radish pickle.

The only male in our class got this task. He has to slit open the prawns, make the mustard dressing and smear it over the meat. Lastly, he had to poke through with the rods.

5th dish is the Takiawase, "The Simmered Dish". Twice Cooked Tofu with 5 coloured thick sauce.

The 5 ingredients for the sauce all chopped and diced!

This was how mine turned out after following Kei's instructions. I am happy!

Kei showed us how to slice thereafter although mine didn't turn out as good as I hoped. More practise I say.

The is the "Gohan" made by me! *proud moment* Teehee!

Finally, it was time for us to start setting up the table and decorating the individual plates.

Amazing! All the colours. They looked really vibrant, like the sun rays are playing a little dance with each of them.

This is how it was placed and looked for each of us. Time for me to eat.

Kei's Kitchen runs english led cooking classes every second weekend of the month and the menu changes according to the season.

Classes scheduled for the rest of the year are:

October 13th, 14th (Late Spring Menu 晚春)
November 10th, 11th (Early Summer Menu 初夏)

To enrol, go here.

Final Look!

6th dish is the Sunomono, "The Vinegared dish/Salad". Burdock root and carrot with sesame rice vinegar dressing.

The final dish the the Gohan, "The Final Rice". This was to be the smoked salmon and cucumber tazunazushi. Kei instructed that all of us were to make our own for this one. Great, I finally get to learn how to make sushi as my previous attempts were sad miserable ones.

1 comment:

  1. omg, everything looks bew-yew-ti-fulllll, especially the gohan - so professional!

    and the tips and tricks were so useful - like using a sieve to make sure the chawan mushi is silky smooth and icing the salmon to make it two toned - always wondered how they managed that LOL

    envious of you having the chance to make such professional grade food =)


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