People who are not familiar with Japanese cuisines may think Japanese food is expensive and Japanese people often eat Sushi , Teriyaki, Tempura and Sukiyaki. People in Japan eat fancy Sushi with fresh fish only special occasions. Japanese love variety of food. They eat not only Japanese but more international meals like people in Seattle. Chinese, Korean, and Italian food are popular and have evolved to meet taste of Japanese. For example, you may find pasta cooked with fish eggs, Shiso(Japanese herb) and Soy source at restaurants specialized pasta in Japan. Japanese people love Chinese dishes and pot stickers are one of Japanese favorite. I bought a Japanese cookbook about various Pot sticker recipes. In Japan, most wives stay home and one of their jobs is to cook for her family within the budget. The family eats at home most of the time and family meals at home are different from ones at the restaurants. My mother used to be very creative to cook supper for her family of four when she didn’t have much money on the day before her husband’s pay-day. Once she cooked Tempura made of dried anchovies (usually used for Japanese soup stock) with vegetables whatever she found in the fridge or her garden. It was tasty and nutritious although it was made of leftovers and didn’t make me feel poor.
It may be hard for someone from foreign country to experience Japanese home cooked meal unless you have Japanese friend who invites you to their home or their parents’ home in Japan. I love to introduce Seattleite how to make inexpensive home style Japanese food and incorporate into their home cooking. Other day, I visited to a community center nearby my house asked if I can teach Japanese home-style cooking class. Two of employees at the center were very interested in the class. I was asked to create and send proposal include budget, my fee and recipes for the class. He suggested series of classes instead of one. I considered relatively easy to make, inexpensive and/or well know Japanese dishes. Also I consider nutritiously balanced menus. Here are menus which I proposed:
Class1 Rice, Miso soup, Chicken Teriyaki, and salad
Class2 Chicken Donburi and Sunomono(Sweet and sour vegetables)
Class3 Japanese Curried Rice using curry sauce
Class4 Sushi rolls (Possible Vegetalian)
Class5 Rice balls and baked Chicken
Class6 Chicken Udon Noodle soup
Class7 Tempura(some Vegetarian)
Class8 Delicious Vegetarian Japanese dishes
I proposed to buy common ingredients before starting the first class to be used throughout classes include Calrose rice, Soy source, Rice vinegar and sea salt. The estimate budget of these costs $75. Then buy fresh ingredients for the each class at the day of the class. The estimate budget of these costs $35/class. It will serve 6-8 people.
I was going to include Sukiyaki and Katsu. I eliminated Sukiyaki because it requires so many ingredients and beef will use up most of the budget. Katsu will be OK but I include Tempura over Katsu.
I am going to bring this idea to various community centers and senior centers. Hopefully I start sharing my knowledge of Japanese cooking to Seattleites who love to cook soon.