Cooking Classes in Kyoto Teach Basics of Japanese Style Cooking
Since “Washoku,” the traditional dietary culture of the Japanese, was added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage, Japanese cuisine has attracted revived attention from around the world. Many of you may already have a general idea of the Japanese cuisine as a very healthy vegetable-based cuisine. As there are many delicious Japanese restaurants around the world, you may also have visited one or two of them.
But what if you can make Japanese dishes yourself at home? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you can make a “bento” lunch box which Japanese pack to take lunch on the go? You may be able to change your diet drastically into a very healthy one. We are here introducing to you cooking classes in Kyoto Prefecture, where you can learn Japanese style cooking, which will help such wishes of yours come true. Photo: flickr.com
Characteristics of Japanese Cuisine
Before we introduce the recommended cooking classes, let’s take another look at the characteristics of Japanese food.
1. Ichiju Sansai (One Soup and Three Vegetable Dishes)
Ichiju Sansai (one soup and three vegetable dishes) is a basic form of Japanese meal in which rice or brown rice is served as the staple food along with one soup and three vegetable dishes (one main dish and two side dishes).
This style of meal contains a lot of ingredients cooked in various ways and has good nutritional balance. As each dish is served to each diner in a relatively small portion, it can also prevent overeating, which is important for a healthy dietary habit.
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2. Bringing the Best Out of Four Seasons and Local Natural Resources
Japan has very distinct seasonal changes and thus is a great place to enjoy ingredients of each season. While many vegetables are cultured in greenhouses and available all year round nowadays, nothing beats the taste and nutritional value of vegetables harvested in each of its best seasons.
Also, as Japan is a country stretching far from north to south, different regions around Japan produce a great variety of different ingredients. Wherever in Japan, you can enjoy the dishes that bring the best out of fresh and abundant local seafood and mountain vegetables. It is also characteristic to Japanese dishes that many of them contain mineral-rich seaweed.
3. Enjoy with All Your Senses
One of the best things you can enjoy in Japanese cuisine is the texture and taste of each ingredient that are brought out by most appropriate cooking method. Also, traditional Japanese dishes have many ingredients of different colors arranged beautifully on a plate, which is not only pleasant to look at but also indicates good nutritional balance. Japanese dishes are to be enjoyed with all your senses.
Tofu Boiled in Kombu Kelp Dashi Stock, https://www.flickr.com
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Many of you may have heard of the word “dashi” and “umami.” “Dashi” is the very basic of Japanese style cooking. You make dashi by boiling kombu (dried kelp), dried bonito flakes or small dried sardine (iriko) and extract umami components such as glutamic acid and inosinic acid to give a deep rich flavor to a dish. The best taste can be brought out of each ingredient when its umami component is well-extracted. And the dishes cooked with dashi can also be healthy with a smaller amount of salt compared to other cooking styles.
Two Recommendable Cooking Classes in Kyoto
1. HARU Cooking Class -Kyoto-
At this cooking class held in Shimokamo, Kyoto Prefecture, you can learn how to cook home dishes that are served daily at ordinary households around Japan rather than gorgeous dishes offered at some luxurious restaurants.
As a student here, you can choose a course from the vegetarian course, the Kobe wagyu beef course and another special course in which you first go on a tour of Nishiki Market, which is known as a popular tourist attraction, before learning cooking. Whichever course you may choose, easy and detailed lessons about every aspect of Japanese style cooking from preparing ingredients to actually working on them will help you learn the basics of Japanese cooking and you will surely find it easy to cook the dishes you have learned back at your home just going through the learnt process.
The cooking class is held in an old Japanese house and unlike a regular cooking class, it makes you feel as if you have just casually dropped by your friend’s house to learn cooking. Learning cooking at such a place would also be a great opportunity for you to get close to the Japanese culture and experience what an ordinary daily life is like at a Japanese household. Your experience here will surely be precious and valuable. The student quota here is relatively small, so an early application is recommended. Official Website
2. Cooking Sun
Here, the two courses bento course in the morning and izakaya course in the afternoon are available to choose from. In bento course, you can learn how to cook Japanese style dashi flavored omelet (dashimaki), tempura, miso soup and other basic and typical Japanese dishes. In izakaya course, on the other hand, you can learn how to cook popular izakaya pub style Japanese dishes. In both courses, the first thing you will learn is how to make dashi stock.
As this cooking class is also held in a traditional Japanese house, you can enjoy immersing yourself in Japanese culture. For those of you who want to learn even more advanced Japanese cooking, there is also a special course where you can learn from a professional chef. Official Website
There are many famous tourist destinations in Kyoto, but the experience of learning Japanese home cooking in a traditional Japanese house can be very unique and should become an unforgettable memory of your trip. Additionally, by learning authentic Japanese home cooking and trying to cook it for yourself once you return to your home country, you will be able to get a sense of Japan at any time. We would love for you to add Japanese dishes in your cooking repertoire.
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