My vegan cooking class was a wonderful, tasty, and educational experience! I’ve been interested in plant-based food for quite a while so I thought it’d be interesting to see how to create Japanese meals this way as a substitute to the usual fish, various meats, and egg-based sauces. We made vegan gyoza, miso soup, sushi, and a red bean and strawberry dessert which all tasted super good, while also staying authentic to the true Japanese taste.
Right away we were welcomed by our lovely hosts and given aprons to wear while cooking, and shortly after, the class began. We started off with the dessert because it had to be placed in the freezer while we prepared the rest of the food. It couldn’t have been easier to put together and the combination of strawberries and red bean was fantastic, especially for me, a self-confessed red bean addict!
A lot of the more time-consuming aspects of cooking, like chopping up vegetables, had been taken care of. So we could make the gyoza pretty quickly while also getting a good idea of how to create the same recipe at home. I wasn’t very good at pleating the gyoza by hand at first but got the hang of it pretty quickly with pointers from our instructors. Also, I learned that you can purchase a gyoza press to make it even easier (although I feel like that’s a bit like cheating, but I would pull it out if I was making 100 of them). We also learned how to cook them so they were perfectly steamed but crispy on the bottom!
The miso soup, which is normally made using fish stock, but substituted with vegetables this time, was made with seaweed, miso, and mushrooms. It had such a fantastic umami flavor and inspired me to try to make miso as a staple at dinner time. Since miso soup has such a complex taste I always assumed it would be difficult to make it taste like the real thing you get at restaurants when experimenting in your own kitchen, but our teachers made it seem completely doable, even in the vegan version.
I also was happy to learn that we got to discover how to make sushi rolls with the rice on the outside! I had always been curious about how to do that. Our teachers were extremely helpful and gave us a lot of pointers for how to create the perfect flavor for our sushi rice, how to keep the sushi together, and how to cut it to keep it looking pretty. Instead of regular mayonnaise, we learned how to create tofu mayo, which was such a simple and healthy recipe. It probably was one of my favorite discoveries of this cooking class, since it tasted great while also being easy to make, and healthy enough to put large amounts on everything without feeling like I was being excessive!
After we finished all our culinary creations, our food was presented to us in a gorgeous spread complete with little paper-crane shaped chopstick rests. I especially loved how the sushi looked with the fancy-looking smear of tofu mayonnaise on the serving dish.
If you’re vegan, or if you’ve ever wanted to become a whiz at creating Japanese food for guests of any dietary type, then I’d highly recommend joining the vegan cooking class in Tokyo. It’s also a wonderful way to learn how to create some of the fantastic flavors you love about Japanese cuisine but in a bit of a lighter way that keeps you feeling fresh and healthy!
Learn and prepare a vegan meal of some of Japan’s most popular dishes. From soups to desserts and everything in between, dive into an experience that is both healthy and delicious all at once. Book your vegan cooking class in Tokyo now!
Kimmy is a food lover from California and currently studying as an exchange student in Tokyo. She loves exploring Japanese culture through food in her free time.