Japanese dinner at home
When we have visitors from Europe for dinner and it's there first time in Japan I usually cook Japanese for them, but I cook what I call "soft Japaanese". I don't try to impress them with my skills in cha-kaiseki cuisine with elaborated tofu mixes, plain white rice and strongly miso tasting fish and Japanese sweets for example. I prefer to introduce them to flavors their palate can identify and distinguish if they don't. And if they come on week day, since I don't have the luxury to spend more than 2h for grocery shopping+cooking, I need to be very organized.
This time our guests have been in Tokyo for a few days already, and travelling the world before arriving there so I crafted a menu where they can enjoy Japanese food while still feeling the casual home made touch:
somen with a chicken meat ball as a starter,
ginger grilled pork (buta shoga yaki) with white and whole rice,
miso soup with silky tofu and mitsuba.
for dessert, just fresh summer fruits in salad: Japanese grape, Japanese plums and Japanese green melon.
If the main dish and dessert are quite common, for the starter I composed a recipe from cha-kaiseki and adjusted it to the market. The original recipe is using snapper and togan, a kind of summer gourd; but I couldn't find neither so I replaced the fish with chicken meat balls made out of grinded chicken breast and startch, boiled in konbu dashi, and the togan was replaced by thinly sliced cucumber. The whole thing seasoned with a few drops of soya sauce. And I added two slices of dried shiitake. Since it is almost summer I chosed somen and served the whole refregirated. Bonus: since It is refrigirated you can prepare the bowls and just take them out of the fridge to serve!