As much as I like cooking, I’m definitely not a cookbook kind of girl. Looking at a recipe, following the instructions and trying to measure every ingredient accurately – it’s just not my thing. So when I learned cooking from my mother, it was all about knowing what goes into a dish and how it’s supposed to taste like. The problem here is that you don’t always know someone who can show you how to make your favourite dish, right? One of the reasons, why I’ve never tried making sushi before, even though it’s one of my most favourite dishes. So when Zomato invited me and a few other bloggers to a sushi crash course at Kuriya Keiko, a Japanese restraurant/cooking workshop in Islington, I was more than excited to attend.
After Keiko welcomed us with a lovely a lovely plum wine cocktail, we moved to the workshop area to learn how to make sushi from a real professional. We started with best practises on preparing sushi rice from the ideal water to rice ratio (1.15 cup of water and 1 cup of rice) to the easiest way to spread the rice on a nori sheet (wet your hands and spread the rice evenly without putting on too much pressure to keep the rice fluffy). First she taught us how to make California Rolls, traditionally not on a Japanese menu but no less delicious, before we moved on to Inside Out Rolls that were just as tricky to prepare as you might expect. Though, Keiko’s enthusiasm in teaching us, definitely helped in easing the struggle we faced in keeping all the ingredients tight together on our first attempts. And the results? They didn’t look too bad, did they? They definitely tasted heavenly, even more after having prepared it yourself. While we were trying our own sushi rolls, Keiko also gave us a little sneak peek of her gyoza-making class. Watching her prepare these delicious dumplings made me anticipate the dinner that followed afterwards even more!
After the “hard” work of learning Keiko’s sushi-making tricks, we were treated to a mouth-watering taster dinner. All the dishes were prepared so deliciously, with this feeling of home-cooked food I miss in a lot of restaurants that claim to be authentic. The hearty pork miso soup with ginger, spring onions and vegetables was one of my favourites from the evening. Though, the dish I couldn’t get enough of was the Katsu Tofu, fried tofu bites in breadcrumbs: Crispy on the outside, soft and a little chewy on the inside. They were marinated so perfectly that I couldn’t help but stuff myself with them. We also tried the Salmon Teriyaki, the Pork Teriyaki and the Crispy Chicken. Especially the later two stood out to me. While the Pork Teriyaki was hearty and flavourful, the Crispy Chicken felt refreshing thanks to its Yuzu seasoning (Japanese Citrus). And as if we haven’t eaten enough already, we finished off the evening with a dessert: Azuki beans filled hot pastry and vanilla ice cream. Perfect end to a perfect evening!
Whether you want to taste great Japanese food with a feeling of home-cooking or want to learn to learn how to make Japanese food yourself, Kuriya Keiko is your place to go to! Keiko’s cooking classes are so fun at such a great price that it would be a shame not to try. I highly recommend it.