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Hoshigaki Workshps and More

Posted on October 20, 2016 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)


Hi Everyone,


The persimmons are ripening and that means it's time to make Hoshigaki - Japanese art of drying persimmons. Unlike the commercially dried fruits that get shriveled in dehydrators, the fruit is dried whole in open air. You will learn how to peel, hang and massage Hachiya persimmons by hand until they become succulently sweet, moist and tender. See how a simple piece of fruit can turn into a beautiful delicacy that makes a nice holiday gift. I will be offering the Hoshigaki workshops along with Japanese cooking classes in Sushi rolls, Gyoza dumplings and Miso Soup. You will take home persimmons ready to be hung and massaged.


I am also offering Soba and Ramen workshops.The soba workshop includes a lesson in milling whole buckwheat groats and blending your own flour. The new crop groats and premium grade soba flour came back with me from a recent trip I took to Japan. We will make the traditional zaru soba, served with two sauces: walnut (from my English walnut tree in Tehachapi) sauce and soy bonito sauce and herbs and Soba in a hot broth with chicken, greens and herbs. You will take home 2 servings of soba. The ramen noodles will be made with a blend of rye and wheat flours. The fragrant yuzu and spicy ramen soup will be concocted from Tonkotsu and chicken bones and simmered for hours and served with Yakibuta- roasted pork and marinated egg.


All the workshops are 3 hours long from 11-2pm. Lunch is included. Location. Highland Park. The fee is $95. Vegetarian option is available. To register for the workshop, e-mail me at Sign up while the crop lasts!


Saturday, November 5 Hoshigaki, Gyoza and Miso Soup

Sunday, November 6 Hoshigaki, Sushi and Miso Soup

Saturday, November 12 Soba - From groats to noodles

Sunday, November 13 Ramen noodles by hand

Saturday, November 19 Hoshigaki, Gyoza and Miso Soup

Sunday, November 20 Hoshigaki, Sushi and Miso Soup

Sunday, November 27 Detox Soba Yoga, features soba with seasonal vegetables and 3 vegetable, tofu and Japanese agar fruit dessert with mochi.


October 2016 Workshops in The Bay Area

Posted on October 19, 2016 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Workshops in San Francisco, Oakland and Healdsburg:

Wednesday, October 26:  The Art of Miso  Pollinate Farm & Garden

Thursday, October 27  Hands on Soba Noodles  Pollinate Farm & Garden

Friday, October 28  Spooky Onigiri Contest  JCCNC

Saturday, October 29  Hands on Soba Noodles  JCCNC

Sunday, October 30  Ramen and Dashi  SHED

Monday, October 31  Hands on Soba Noodles  SF Cooking School

Workshop description:

Wednesday, October 26  The Art of Miso  6-9pm Pollinate Farm and Garden, Oakland. To register Pollinate Farm and Garden  

Miso, fermented soybean paste, is most often used in Japanese cooking to make miso soup. You can also use miso to season your salad dressing and make delicious marinades. Miso is rich in probiotics, containing millions of beneficial bacteria and is also rich in several of the B-complex vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium.

Learn to make your own miso paste from scratch in this workshop. Sonoko Sakai, author of Rice Craft (Chronicle Books) will show you how to make your own miso at home with fermented rice, non-GMO organic soybeans and sea salt. There will be tastings of homemade miso soup and you will take home 1 lb of young miso to complete the fermentation at home.

Thursday, October 27  Hands on Soba Noodles  6-9pm  Pollinate Farm and Garden, Oakland. To register Contact Pollinate Farm and Garden 


Fresh soba noodles are a simple Japanese delicacy that you can make at home. With Sonoko Sakai, learn how to make and serve traditional hand-rolled and cut Nihachi style soba, using a blend of fresh, stone ground buckwheat and wheat flours.


The two-hour class will prepare and taste the soba two ways, as a soba salad with market fresh vegetables, and in a hot broth with a medley of mushrooms and fall vegetables. Students will take home their own batch of fresh noodles.


Friday, October 28  Spooky Onigiri Contest  6-8 pm at Japanese Cultural and Community Center, San Francisco. All ages. Admission $4. For details contact: JCCNC

Saturday, October 29, New Crop Soba Noodles  11-2pm at Japanese Cultural and Community Center, San Francisco. To register contact JCCNC

LA-based food writer Sonoko Sakai returns to the JCCCNC to present an intimate lesson in crafting hand-milled artisanal soba noodles using the Nihachi style. Nihachi Style is an ancient blend of 80% buckwheat and 20% wheat flour. The workshop will teach participants how to knead, cut and cook the soba noodles, and taste two soba dishes and a refreshing dessert.

*Zaru Soba* (cold soba) with grated daikon, cucumbers, radishes, shiso, served with dipping sauce

*Kake Soba* (soba in a hot broth) with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, mitsuba and citrus peel

*Agar Fruit Jelly, Asian pears, Shiratama Mochi* served with Okinawa brown sugar syrup

Sunday, October 30 Ramen and Dashi Workshop at SHED, Healdsburg  11-2pm            

To register visit SHED

Ramen lovers, rejoice. You can make delicious slurpable ramen in your own home. In this workshop, Japanese home cooking professional Sonoko Sakai will teach you how, and she’s not talking about the kind out of a styrofoam cup! Lifelong noodle lover and cookbook author Sonoko will instruct the class in building a hearty bowl of ramen with fresh homemade noodles and umami-rich ramen broth using pork, oxtail and chicken bones along with ginger, garlic and scallions. The fresh noodles will be topped with chicken balls, pork belly and vegetable toppings, “Chanko style,” for lunch after the class.


Tickets include the hands-on workshop and the hearty ramen lunch, known as a favorite of Japanese sumo wrestlers. Please bring an apron and a take-home container in case you want to bring home some extra noodles! The workshop also includes a 10% off discount card for use in SHED’s retail store the day of the event, perfect for stocking up on Japanese cookware and books. Fee $95 SOLD OUT!

Monday, October 31, Hands on Soba Noodles  6-10pm at San Francisco Cooking School. To register visit


Freshly made soba noodles are delicious and simple to make. With Sonoko Sakai, a Japanese home cooking instructor, we’ll review the Japanese pantry, and how to make and serve Soba, the traditional hand-rolled and cut buckwheat noodles. We’ll make traditional Nihachi style soba, using a blend of fresh, native stone ground organic buckwheat flour and wheat flour from a new crop of heirloom grains. The class will prepare the soba two ways, cold with soy-bonito dashi dipping sauces and served hot in a broth. Students will take home soba and dipping sauces/broths.


Menu: Soba chips with Sea Salt, Soba Salad with Baby Greens in Vinaigarette, Hot Soba Soup served with Grilled Chicken, Soft Boiled Egg, Ginger, Yuzu and Herbs, and Shiratama Dumpling Agar Jelly Dessert with Fruit.  Each class concludes with a meal around the table, enjoying what you and your fellow classmates have cooked using your newly acquired skills.... And, yes, wine is served!  This is an immersive, hands-on cooking class. You will be on your feet cooking most of the time so please wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes.  Fee $165


Sonoko Sakai September 2016 Workshops

Posted on August 30, 2016 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I have been touring up and down the West coast to promote my new cookbook RICE CRAFT, which was released this summer from Chronicle Books. Rice Craft made Amazon’s Best Book of the Month in July 2016. This week, I find myself in Seattle where I will be teaching Rice Craft at The Pantry from August 24-28. , While the book tour has kept me very busy during these last two months, I took a weekend break to visit Vancouver. Binah, my daughter-in-law’s parents Laura and Alfred showed me around the city. The highlights were visiting the oldest Farmers Market in Trout Lake and climbing the Grouse Grind - a challenging rugged train. I underestimated the difficulty of this hike and felt rather dizzy when finished, but finished indeed. I will continue to promote my new cookbook in September with workshops and book events in Los Angeles.

Here is a list of upcoming events in Los Angeles:

September 10 - Homestyle Sushi  - Highland Park 11-2pm Do you love sushi but have never attempted to make it at home? I will share how she prepares sushi at home. I will discuss where and how to source the best ingredients for making sushi and how to cook sushi rice. In class we will make temari-sushi -ball shape sushi with salmon, rolled sushi with egg crepe and vegetables and canapé style sushi with a variety of fresh seafood. To finish, we will make miso soup made with fresh dashi. $110. To register, e mail 

September 11 - Rice Craft Book Event and Free Demonstration-TORTOISE in Venice 3pm & 4pm. For details visit sonoko-book-signing-sep-11th-2016/

September 17 - Homemade Miso and Onigiri - POKETO Koreatown 2-5pm This is a hands on miso making and onigiri workshop. This is a workshop that teaches you how to prepare miso from sratch. This is a hands on fermentation workshop that is accompanied with a lunch that we will prepare. The menu is homemade miso soup with vegetables and tofu, two kinds of onigiri and homemade pickles. $95 To register visit: http://

Septmber 25 - Ramen Workshop 11-2pm - Highland Park Build a bowl of ramen noodles with fresh homemade ramen noodles, Tare, Ramen Pork and Chicken broth, Classic Chashu Pork, Menma, Soft boiled egg and Scallions. Vegetarian ramen option is available if requested in advance. Fee $110 To register, e-mail sonoko at and she will register via Paypal.

Onigiri - Super cute and Healthy snacks for Kids

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I am doing a series of radio interviews for my new cookbook RICE CRAFT. This radio piece also made it to print.

San Francisco Chronicle - The Farmer and the chef

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Wonderful story by Tara Duggan was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle this July. The story is on our rice heritage and onigiri. Great timing with the publication of my new cookbook" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Rice Craft. 

Rice Craft - Seattle August 24-28 - The Pantry Seattle

Posted on August 17, 2016 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I am heading back up to Seattle to teach RICE CRAFT at" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">The Pantry in Seattle. August 24-28 I will share recipes from my new cookbook RICE CRAFT, including miso soup, pickled ginger, inari zushi and smoked trout sushi and more. All five workshops are sold out!  

Los Angeles Area - Soba Workshops - August 2016

Posted on August 13, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I am offering two workshops this weekend.

Saturday, August 13 2-6pm

Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savory

(Santa Monica)

Sunday, August 14 6-8pm

Kinship Yoga

(Highland Park) 


Posted on July 22, 2016 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

August BAY AREA Book Promotion and Workshops

August 5 JCCNC (Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California)
Seafood flavors cooking classes. Seafood Onigiris will be featured. 6-9pm 

August 6 Omnivore Books Book signing and onigiri tasting 4-5pm
August 7 SHED Healdsburg 10am -1230 Rice Craft-Adventures in Onigiri
August 8 SF Cooking School Bento and Onigiri 630-930pm  

Rice Craft - Onigiri and Sushi cookbook

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

RICE CRAFT - my new cookbook is now available at the bookstores nationwide!  You can order it through or check your local bookstores.  RICE CRAFT is a healthy, yummy, fun to make cookbook for everyone.

RICE CRAFT - Chronicle Books - is out!

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Sonoko Sakai July 2016 Newsletter

Posted on June 26, 2016 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Summer greetings!


I am very excited to tell you that RICE CRAFT will be out this month! July 20!!!. This is my second cookbook about rice balls - onigiri, omusubi, sushi - call it what you wish. It’s a fun cookbook for everyone. RICE CRAFT is already on the best seller list of new cookbooks coming out of Chronicle Books this Fall. You can preorder this book from


Here are the upcoming workshops in July:


July 8 6-9pm Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden - Japanese Supper Club, Pasadena         Soba Noodles Night - I will be making a special three course meal, featuring soba.

I will be doing a demonstration of how to make soba by hand. $65 To register, please visit



July 13 730pm -9pm Skirball Cultural Center - The World Of Dumplings    Through cooking demonstrations and tastings, learn about the history and practice of dumpling making in Italy, India, and Japan. Find out what makes a dumpling and why they are so ubiquitous in diverse food cultures around the globe. I will be talking and making Japanese gyoza dumplings. Free workshop For details visit


July 16 11-2pm Soba Noodles Workshop - Highland Park                                                                  This is a hands on beginners soba workshop. We will cover everything from how to source the flour, blending flours, making noodles and sauces. We will do tastings of hot soba in a broth with protein and vegetables and a cold soba salad with market fresh vegetables. You will take home 3 servings. $95. To register E-mail


July 17 11-2pm Udon Noodles Workshop -Highland Park                                                          This is hands on udon noodle workshop. We will cover everything from how to source the flour, blending flours, making noodles and sauces. We will do tastings of hot udon in a broth with protein and vegetables and a cold udon. You will take home 3 servings. $95. To register E-mail


July 22-25 630-930pm Udon Noodles Workshop PCC -Seattle      All four workshops are SOLD OUT!


July 28-30 Grain Gathering Event at The Bread Lab/WSU Mt. Vernon, WA                                      Tofu & Haiku Workshop - I will be a guest instructor teaching tofu and haiku. 

July 31 T-Project RICE CRAFT Onigiri Workshop - Portland Oregon


Time: TBA



I am looking forward to doing my first RICE CRAFT workshop in Oregon at T Project - a beautiful tea shop in Portland, Oregon owned my friend Teri Gelber. Details to come.


I hope to see you soon.


Best wishes,


Sonoko Sakai






May Newsletter

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Hi Everyone,

I just got back from Vermont where I was invited to teach soba and udon noodles at King Arthur Flour Education Center. People joined me from all over New England- Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and also Virginia. We served the noodles with tender wild ramps picked from the nearby fields, as well as fiddlehead ferns and sweet asparagus. What better way to signal the arrival of spring!



My cookbook RICE CRAFT will be published on July 20. Pre-order from Amazon.

This is a book that will teach how to make rice balls, sushi, and whimsical onigiri to eat as snacks and to put in your bento box. Rice Craft is already one of Chronicle Books best selling cookbooks!



Fresh-Soba-to-Go at COOKBOOK


Cookbook in Echo Park will commence the annual Summer Fresh-Soba-to-Go on Fridays, starting June 3. Available after 1pm until we sell out. So reserve by phone! These are my hand-cut soba noodles with dipping sauce and fresh herbs. They only takes 90 seconds to cook so it’s the best way to enjoy a fresh slurp.




Kimchi Workshop and Lunch - San Francisco

Saturday, May 21 10-1pm

Where: Japanese Community Center of Northern California


Description: Learn how to make two types of kimchi including the classic whole cabbage kimchi, daikon kimchi, and delicious citrus “water” kimchi. You will learn to prep, taste, and understand the fermentation time. Your class will be followed by a delicious lunch of Korean rice bowl and chilled fruit dessert. Fee:$70 JCCCNC members $90 Non-members. To register, please go to





Community Umeboshi Pickle Workshop and Lunch - Oakland

Sunday, May 22 10-1pm

Where: Pollinate Farms and Gardens(Oakland)

Description:We have 40 lbs of freshly harvested ume which we

were able to source locally. Umeboshi is made with unripe ume - a stone fruit that belongs in the plum family. It is a pickle that has

been enjoyed in Japan for centuries as a medicinal (digestive) food as well as a condiment. I will show you how to prep the ume for

pickling and the various stages of fermentation.

What to bring: 2 quart jars

Lunch will include miso soup, rice balls and salad.

Fee: $50 To register please go to



Soba Noodles Workshop

Saturday, May 28, 11-2pm


Where: Highland Park

This is a hands on soba noodle making workshop, using authentic Japanese tools. You will learn how to make the noodles, dipping sauce and soup. This workshop will also help you incorporate the Japanese pantry items like soy sauce, mirin, miso, sake, dashi stock into your everyday cooking. We will have a lunch of Duck soba with ginger and citrus and a summer soba salad.

Desserts will be fresh fruit with agar jelly. Fee: $100

To register: email to reserve a spot. To register, e mail





POKETO - Soba Workshop April 16, 2016

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (1)

I am looking forward to the soba workshop this Saturday ,April 16 from 2-5pm. It's offered by Poketo, the coolest design shop in Los Angeles. Owers, Ted and Angie, have been so enthusiastic about putting this together. We started planning it months ahead of time. It's their first food event at Poketo. I hope the flour binds and the soba taste good. Here is the link to their website.   The event is SOLD OUT! 


Japanese breakfast

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Salmon Fava Basil Onigiri

Posted on April 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Udon Noodles Workshop Highland Park April 9

Posted on April 8, 2016 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Udon Workshop tomorrow.  It all begins with good flour.
  Stone Buhr's AP Flour - both are owned by family farms
in Washington where I will be teaching in July,  I used a pasta machine
to make the noodles.  Chilly and raining in Los Angeles. It was a perfect
day for hot noodles.

odles. They turned out looking like "kishimen" which 
are the flat Japanese noodles - a cousin of Udon noodles.  Delicious.

April 2016 Workshop - Visit Events/Workshops

Posted on April 4, 2016 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Cherry Season is here!  Click to Event/Workshop for April 2016 workshops!  I will be teaching Tofu, Soba and Udon Noodles.

Soba pop up at the Standard Downtown 3/20/16

Posted on March 15, 2016 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Rice Craft is coming soon!

Posted on March 14, 2016 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

\The fragrance of the white blossoms on my grapefruit tree fills my backyard with the sweetness of spring, thanks to El Nino. This is a little too much because we haven’t gotten around to harvesting last year’s fruit. I can’t complain. March has also been a productive month on the cooking end. The current issue of Saveur has a feature story on soba noodles by Francis Lam titled “Sonoko Dreams of Soba.” Francis captured the spirit of soba. Beautiful photos by Dylan and Jeni. Arigato! Visit

My book Rice Craft is due out from Chronicle Books in August 2016. You can pre-order it on line.

It’s a cute little cookbook that makes onigiri accessible to everyone!


Skirball Center - Dumpling Workshop

Posted on March 9, 2016 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Dumpling workshop is coming up at Skirball Center.   I am teaching Japanese dumplings - my favorite, which is gyoza. Here are the details.