Gourmet Japan 2013 is in its 2nd year and presumably will be an annual event just like Savour and WGS. This is my first year being involved and things kicked off with 2 days of back-to-back cooking workshops by some of the famed chefs in Singapore, of which I had the opportunity to be present.
For starters, Chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto of Ki-Sho, Scotts Road (previously chef-in-charge at Waku Ghin in Marina Bay Sands) took us through 2 simple Japanese dish, very duplicate-able at home and yet impressive if you’re hosting some guests.
Kinki Sakuramushi – serves 1.
The Kinki fish was a first for many of the participants (me included). Apparently it is a very expensive white fish, and with one weighing in at 200g or so costing almost SGD70-80. That’s a small fish for the price!
The fish was filleted quickly and blanched briefly. Immediate after it was transferred to a basin of cold water. Chef said that helps to remove the skin as well as to eliminate any fishy odour.
After towel drying the fillets, a bit of scallop paste (refer to recipe as above) was spread over it. Lastly each individual piece was topped with chopped bamboo shoots for a bit of crunch.
The MC joked at this point that Chef is making “yong tau fu” and frankly, it did seem so!
Majority of the participants was housewives and serious cooks. They had plenty of queries about the cooking methods and especially so on the availability of the ingredients. It was a good session as there were active 2-way participation.
After all, it defeats the purpose of attending a cooking class if at the end of it all you’re still clueless on replicating what you have just learnt right? It’s important to note the exact ingredients used, even the brand and of course, the exact shop to get it if possible.
The sakura leaves was a major concern. Chef Kazuhiro kindly shared the name of the outlet in Ang Mo Kio where the participants could get their supply. Same goes for the Kinki fish (Isetan) and sakura flowers. For the Kinki fish, it can be substituted with any other white fish such as seabream, garoupa or snapper.
After the fish was wrapped it was left to steam in the oven.
Next Chef Kazuhiro worked on the broth. The dashi stock he had was prepared in advance, but he did shared that it was basically kombu seaweed boiled in water and with added bonito flakes to taste.
He bought the dashi up to boil, added mirin and soy and even a bit of sea salt. He stirred in kudzu starch (a type of Japanese root starch) to thicken the broth. Cornflour is acceptable as a substitute should kudzu starch be a bit elusive to obtain. The consistency we are looking for here is just slightly thicker than the popular sharkfin soup.
Once the fish is ready, the dish is assembled easily enough – each fish parcel was bathed with the stock, garnished with sakura flower and warabi.
One of the best part of attending workshops like this must the tasting session! We helped ourselves to the sampling portions prepared and I did enjoyed the Kinki Sakuramushi. The fish was sweet and delicate while the scallop paste was rather tasty. The leaves are edible but I found it to be salty so I abandoned it. Anyhow the leaves are meants to flavour the fish which it did nicely.
Chef Kazuhiro moved on to the lobster next. He cooked the live lobster by boiling it first. Again once done it was transferred to a cold water bath. He left it in the cold water for a few minutes before deshelling it.
He made the process of de-shelling lobster looked really simple. First was the head off, followed by cutting along the sides of the underbelly. Strip off the soft shell under the belly and carefully pry the soft flesh of the lobster out.
Cut into desired sizes.
In another pot, sweat the ginger and shallots in white sesame oil – this is some Japanese version that’s odorless compared to our usual Chinese sesame oil. And no, Chef Kazuhiro said substitution of the chinese version is not an option here. Instead, grapeseed or canola is preferred; as long as it’s not the pungent like the original Chinese sesame oil.
Add the cut lobster into the pot followed by some dashi stock. Simmer.
From Step 3 as per recipe above, add the mixture into the pot according to taste. Let it the lobster braise for a while before transferring to the plates for serving. Grate some yuzu zest over each serving. Yuzu can be substituted with orange zest.
And that’s it for the first class. Next – Chef Kentaro Torii of Forlino, an Italian restaurant. Watch how he incorporate Japanese elements into Italian cooking! 🙂
The workshops are courtesy of Sphere Exhibits Pte Ltd, (the event company and subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings Limited) handling Gourmet Japan 2013 Singapore this year.
The workshops was held at ToTT Store, 896 Dunearn Road. The ToTT store was impressive, stocking almost anything you might need for a professional home kitchen. Do check them out HERE–> http://www.tottstore.com/.
For bookings of the exclusive dinners and events in conjunction with Gourmet Japan 2013 Singapore, please refer to the attached below. I wish I could join for some of the dinners for they certainly sounds promising.
And I have no doubt that of the quality of Japanese ingredients used as well as the skills of the chef behind each dinner!
Last but not least, I’ll leave you with 2 last pictures of the dishes by Chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto of Ki-Sho, Scotts Road, Singapore. 😀
BRAISED LOBSTER WITH WHITE MISO.