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Dining with the Chef

Latest Episodes

In this episode, chef Rika makes chikuzen-ni, a local favorite from her hometown of Fukuoka beloved for the delicious texture of its culinary ingredients. Perfect for family gatherings or even just as a side in a bento lunch, this is an easy-to-make simmered dish once you just memorize the proportions of the seasonings. For the side, they make eggs with tuna and green onions mixed in and cooked until golden brown.

Our theme this episode is vinegar. We'll be exploring the world of vinegar, from the rice vinegar considered a staple of Japanese cooking, to sushi vinegar seasoned with sugar and umami, to red vinegar made from aged sake lees. Rika will show her own recipe for vinegared sushi rice, topping it with vinegar-marinated aji horse makerel for a light and refresing chirashi-sushi with a decidedly grown up flavor. We'll also be making simmered squid and potatoes with sesame seeds as two simple sides guaranteed to make any dinner lively.

The theme of this episode is seafood. For the main dish, they'll be making asari littleneck clam rice. Littleneck clams are in season right now, so Rika will be introducing this original recipe inspired by Fukagawa-meshi, some of Tokyo's regional cooking. They'll also be learning how to make a soup with oysters and turnips, which are sweeter and tenderer in the spring, as well as nokke tofu, or tofu topped with whitebait and shrimp, rounding off the three seafood dishes for this episode.

The theme for this episode is marinating. Chef Saito sandwiches slices of fresh tai sea bream between pieces of kombu kelp, to give the tai lots of rich flavor with a technique known as kobujime. That marinated tai will then serve as a main ingredient in a clear soup. He also makes steamed crab rice, featuring the richness of dashi, the distinctive flavor of crab, and the chewy texture of mochi rice. Steaming it in containers made of hinoki cypress gives it a wonderful fragrance to round off its elegant blend of textures and rich, aromatic flavor.

This second episode is dedicated to the Ise-Shima, Mie area of central Japan, where the G7 Summit will be held and has long been a beloved traditional sightseeing destination. They'll learn from an expert how to make Ise Udon, a local noodle dish served to weary travelers to rejuvenate their minds and bodies. We'll also learn all about how to eat it from the "Ise Udon Ambassador," including easy instructions for how to make your own Ise Udon at home. For our second dish, we'll be focusing on Tekone Sushi, made with some of Ise-Shima's famously fresh and delicious seafood.

The theme for this episode is "cooking rice," and the Japanese celebratory staple sekihan rice will be introduced. Its chewy texture is beloved all across Japan. The chef and host will teach the secrets to making the azuki beans a beautiful red, and the trick to making sesame salt, the perfect finishing touch to bring out the natural sweetness of the beans. It will be made in a special way that even Japanese people don't know about! For the side dish, they'll be making simmered shrimp coated with egg.

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