We were so excited to be able to go to a sushi making class in Osaka, Japan. After starting our cooking class challenge this is definitely the food we were most excited to learn how to cook, and even better my Mum was able to join us when she came out to visit us in Japan for a couple of weeks. Family bonding time and cooking new food all in one evening – what more could you ask for!
After looking at a few options in the places we were planning to visit we settled on Osaka – it’s widely known as a city that is packed with amazing food and it’s also a lot cheaper than Tokyo! We found a lot of the Tokyo classes booked up really early so worth being organised if this is where you want to learn to make sushi. These did look good though as a lot of them combined trips to Tsukiji fish market which is an amazing place to visit. There are still plenty of sushi making classes in Osaka and other cities like Kyoto as well though, so lots of choice if Tokyo is booked up.
After a busy day at Nara Deer Park, we met our lovely host Yoko, we headed to her apartment via Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, which is one of the most beautiful shrines in the city and an oasis of calm in amongst the skyscrapers. Yoko explained to us more about the shrine and its reputation as a place to pray for good luck in exams – meaning at certain times of year it’s full of students (and their parents!) making wishes. Soon after this we reached her apartment where we would be taking part in our sushi making class and were welcomed with some delicious sweets – sakura mochi and cherry jellies.
The menu for our cooking class in Osaka looked pretty ambitious – miso soup and handmade sushi rolls with two side dishes, but it turned out to be more than achievable and we had a brilliant couple of hours cooking. Best of all, we learnt a lot more about the ingredients used in Japan, including the fermented soybeans used in Miso paste which Yoko makes herself at home, various different seaweed that’s used and how to make the perfect sticky rice.
Our first practical test in the art of sushi making was when it came to making Japanese style omelette for our sushi rolls. We had to use a square pan and each add a thin layer of egg to it and fold it over several times until we’d created a thick layered omelette. This took about 5 or 6 layers so was pretty intricate work by the end!
The two side dishes we made were some of the most delicious food we’d tried so far in Japan – and best of all, simple to make again back home, so we’re planning to throw a sushi party in the summer 🙂 The first one was a pickled seafood (in this case crab) and cucumber dish, whilst the second was a sesame paste with apple and sugar snap peas. Literally delicious!
The most fun part of the evening though was as expected – making our sushi rolls! I was convinced that this would be incredibly difficult and that we’d end up with a ‘deconstructed’ plate of sushi rather than the neat rolls that you usually see. We were happily surprised to find that it was much easier than we expected and whilst I wouldn’t necessarily say the end result was up there with the professionals, it was a respectable effort!
We’ve found on our various cooking classes that getting the opportunity to cook with someone in their home is a really amazing experience and this was a bonus of the sushi making class in Osaka that we ended up choosing. It’s very different from taking a class in a cookery school, and as you sit and enjoy your meal together at the end you get to learn so much more about the country’s culture.
Yoko explained to us all the various festivals and holidays in Japan, and we talked about everyday foods and flavours in English food compared with Japanese food. I’m a little mystified about why we don’t eat anywhere near as much fish and seafood in the UK as they do in Japan when we’re both islands and both do a lot of fishing off our respective coasts. Fish is pretty much a dietary staple here and yet in the UK I reckon it’s more common to hear that people don’t eat fish or seafood than anything else. I’m sure there is an answer so if anyone can enlighten me feel free!
Finally, with our recipes and new bamboo sushi rolling mats in hand, we headed off for the evening. Yoko walked us all the way back to the station which was really sweet and even took us on a detour so we go to walk along the riverside at night and see Osaka City Hall and business district all lit up. This was by far one of the best classes we’ve attended – the perfect mix of learning from a professional cook and home cooking in a new country and we’d 100% recommend Osaka Kitchen (osakakitchen.net) for a sushi making class in Osaka.