Last Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of taking part in a Japanese cooking class that focused on traditional autumn foods. The class was half Japanese participants and half foreigners. My group included an Australian in Tokyo to study Japanese, a German diplomat, a Japanese fashion designer and a Japanese student.
First we listened about the origin of the foods we were going to make and then we had a lesson on Japanese seasonings. After that, we got to work and put together our own mixes of salmon and vegetables in aluminum foil pockets to be steamed over the stove.
After preparing the rice and miso soup, we enjoyed quite a feast together. My favorite part was the dessert - I was a bit skeptical of the red bean paste but it quickly won me over.
Here was the menu for the day:
Chestnuts and red beans with sesame salt rice
Japanese moon festival style sweets (soft rice cake with red bean paste)