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Three Noodle Workshops - January 2017

Posted on January 10, 2017 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (120)

Happy New Year!

I hope your New Year is going well!

This year I will continue to teach a variety of classic and modern Japanese cooking but hope to add a new dimension.  My goal is to incorporate "Japanese composition" lessons to my feature cooking classes. It's sounds like a language class. In a way it is. I would like to show you how to build a Japanese menu at home via the concept of Ichiju Sansai, one bowl, one dish, grains and pickles.  If I didn't tell you it's classic, you would think it's modern and Californian, because I emphasize fresh, seasonal ingredients and simplicity. One bowl of soup, one vegetable, meat or fish dish, a grain dish and some pickles to aid digestion.  So wheather you make noodles with me, or miso or tofu or pickles, we will sit down to a meal at the end that reflects this concept, so you can add it to your vocabulary of Japanese cooking. 

I will be teaching for the first time at King Arthur Flour's new school at WSU in Mt. Vernon, Washington from January 21-22.  

I am offering the following three workshops in Los Angeles (Highland Park)  this month:

Sunday, January 15  11-130pm  UDON   $125

Saturday, January 28  11-130pm SOBA   $125

Sunday, January 29  11-2pm  Ramen   $125

If you would like to sign up, please e-mail me at [email protected] and I will send you a PAYPAL registration form.

All three workshops are community style. Everyone pitches in to help. You will make the noodles and soup from scratch. We will sit down for a simple meal. You will  also have extras to take home, so bring containers for your soup and noodles. 

Thank you for all your support.



Posted on December 2, 2016 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Lucky Peach    Art by Vinnie Neuberg

As some of you may know, Sakai and I have a small ranch in Tehachapi, which is in the high desert northeast of Mojave. We’ve had this place for almost four years now. After spending Thanksgiving day at our friends’ house in Venice, we drove up here for the weekend. Winter came early to Tehachapi this year. By the first evening, temperatures fell to the low 30s and the rain turned to snow. No matter how cold, winter is my favorite time of the year. I like to do a major year end cleaning, so I don’t carry any old dust into the New Year. It is also the time of the year that I get superstitious with food. Japanese people prepare special foods that are supposed to bring good luck and good health in the New Year and eat them during New Years Eve and throughout the first week of the New Year.

I am excited to tell you that In addition to my core winter workshops in miso, sushi and noodle making, I am going to teach how to make Japanese Good Luck dishes that can be easily prepared at home. You can serve Good Luck dishes as nibbles or as part of the main course at your New Years Eve or New Years Day party; or you can enjoy them throughout the winter season. I am also offering a Good Luck Holiday Special Certificate for $110, which you can use toward any of the following workshops, so long as you sign up before Sunday, December 8, 2016; you can also use this certificate for any future workshops I host in 2017.

I hope you join me or invite your family and friends to come to one of my workshops.  Finally, I want to thank you for all your support in 2016. Good luck and Good health to you and your family in the New Year! Sonoko Author of RICE CRAFT(Chronicle Books) Best Book of the Month of July 2016 by Amazon.

Sonoko’s December 2016 Workshops  

Miso Making and Ozoni, New Years Good Luck Mochi Soup

Saturday, December 10

Hours: 10-130pm

This is a hands-on miso making workshop. I will show you how to make miso from scratch. We will cook and mash the grains and inoculate the paste with koji - fermented rice. We will use non-GMO soybeans and rice as a base for making the miso, which will undergo a slow fermentation process of six months to a year to reach maturity. We will make a a hearty good luck soup Ozoni, made with homemade mochi rice cakes, chicken, greens, and a rich dashi stock; also Grilled Ongiri, with miso, using rice grown by my friend farmer Koda Farms. You will each take a pint of miso to complete the fermentation at home. Fee: $135. To register e-mail me at [email protected]

Freshly Milled Soba Noodles Workshop and Good Luck Tempura

Sunday, December 11 

Hours 10:00-130PM

Hours: 10-130pm Soba noodles are traditionally eaten at New Year’s Eve, because soba represents a lean and long life. Even if you are a ramen lover, switch to soba for a day. You will feel better. This is a hands-on noodle making workshop. We will use a blend of home milled groats and premium grade Japanese buckwheat, and Sonora wheat flours grown by my farmer friends of the Tehachapi Grain Project. We will make noodles in a hot soup and a batterless vegetable tempura, using root vegetables like burdock and carrots to bring you a sense of balance and stability in the New Year. Fee: $125 To register e-mail me at [email protected]

Easy Sushi for Beginners and Good Luck Mochi Soup Session one:

Saturday, December 17

Hours: 10-130pm

We will make easy seafood and vegetable sushi, using mari zushi (ball shaped sushi) and maki zushi (rolled sushi, using rice grown by my farmer friend Koda Farms. You will get a lesson on filleting the fish and seasoning the rice to make sushi as well as preparing the vegetable toppings. See my story in Lucky Peach to get more details about the class. http:// I will also show you how to make the dashi rich New Year’s soup of toasted mochi, shrimp, greens and yuzu to bring you good luck in the New Year. Fee: $135 To register e-mail me at [email protected]

Handmade Ramen noodles workshop and Good Luck Pickles

Wednesday, December 28

Hours 10-130pm

Those of you who love ramen should try making it at home. You will taste the difference, especially the noodles. In this workshop, we will be cranking out noodles made with a blend of rye, sonora and red fife wheat grown by my friends of the Tehachapi Grain Project. I will show you how to make ramen with chicken and pork bones cooked slowly for more than six hours. Yakibuta -braised Pork Belly and Marinated eggs will be served on top of the noodles. For good luck, we will make Namasu, carrot and daikon radish salad that represents the purity and fire in our life. Fee: $135 To register e-mail me at [email protected]

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 lso 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 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 (3)

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

(Santa Monica)

Sunday, August 14 6-8pm

(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 (1)

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 (2)

Sonoko Sakai July 2016 Newsletter

Posted on June 26, 2016 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (1)

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 [email protected]


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 [email protected]


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 (1)


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 [email protected] to reserve a spot. To register, e mail [email protected]





POKETO - Soba Workshop April 16, 2016

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (3)

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 . I hope the flour binds and the soba taste good.    The event is SOLD OUT! 


Japanese breakfast

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (2)

Salmon Fava Basil Onigiri

Posted on April 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (2)

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.
I used  and
  - 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 (3)

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 (1)

Rice Craft is coming soon!

Posted on March 14, 2016 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (2)

\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 (1)

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

POKETO - Soba Workshop April 16 2-5

Posted on March 7, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (2)

This has been another busy year teaching soba.  I am going to be teaching at POKETO's studio in Koreatown. Such a creative space! To register visit