Kuriya Keiko: Cooking Up A Storm In Keiko’s Kitchen
I eat sushi a lot, but do I know how to make it? Not at all, so I couldn’t possibly turn down an offer from Zomato UK
to take part in a sushi-making workshop at Kuriya Keiko
restaurant in North London
. The restaurant name translates to ‘Keiko’s Kitchen’
and Keiko Urakawa
, the owner and head chef of the venue, also serves as the sushi-making expert & instructor.
On arrival at the restaurant with fellow London foodie, Inna
, from Start Up Your Happiness
, we were offered Plumtinis
, a sweet sake cocktail and introduced to Keiko, one of the funniest and most charming chefs I’ve ever met. Keiko explained that she would work with us as we learn to roll basic maki & inside out California rolls before moving onto gyozas, and expert wrapping & grilling techniques to create the perfect dumpling. Finally, we would enjoy a dinner made up of our own creations in a sit-down meal alongside a few other Kuriya Keiko signature dishes and then a dessert.
The workshop began with learning to make a basic maki roll
, with advice on how to cook sushi rice before assembling and rolling. Along the way, Keiko gave us great tips such as using 1.15 cups of water to 1 cup rice, ensuring we don’t roll the sushi too tight as it’s supposed to be fluffy and to serve the sushi at room temperature. The basic sushi rolling process was not too difficult, however, the sushi rice is sticky and gets everywhere, making the process very tricky!
The inside out California roll
was trickier still as the sticky sushi rice was spread out onto the seaweed before the sheet is turned over, filled with vegetables and meat, before being rolled up. It was hard work but definitely rewarding
and afterwards we all had a break to eat our colourful sushi rolls. Admittedly, my rolls were a little lopsided, but it’s very satisfying eating sushi that you have rolled yourself.
While we ate our sushi rolls, Keiko brought out some pork miso soup
to accompany the rolls. The soup was made from pork, ginger, spring onion and vegetables – it was simple, tasty and warming. Keiko then demonstrated how to prepare and cook pork gyozas
; delicious golden grilled dumplings filled with pork and cabbage, which were then promptly served to us as our next course.
Next Keiko presented us with Nigori sake
from Tsukino-Katsura, the oldest brewery in Fushimi, Kyoto – it was so delicious – really sweet and fresh. We were then treated to plates of deep-fried tofu katsu, salmon teriyaki, pork teriyaki and yuzu kosho chicken,
which was a gorgeous crispy pan-fried chicken seasoned with Japanese citrus (yuzu) sauce – all washed down with a fresh white wine
. By this point, there were literally endless rounds of food coming from the kitchen – all of them were excellent. Dessert was a hot pastry filled with azuki beans & vanilla ice cream
, however, I was too full to eat it!
The evening was fun, imaginative & interactive, the workshop is perfect for absolute beginners, such as myself, because no previous sushi-making skills or experience is required. It’s simply about enjoying a new experience rolling sushi and Japanese home-cooked style food. While I may not be the best chef, I am certainly one step closer to creating a beautiful bento box. Best of all, you get to eat as you go along so you will not leave hungry.
Finally, for those of you who simply want to dine at Kuriya Keiko, be prepared for friendly service, freshly made sushi and an authentic & delicious Japanese cuisine experience – it truly is that good!