Kaiseke Dinner: A Japanese Tasting Menu – Part 4


These are the final elements of your complete Kaiseke dinner

Nakachoko- Chilled Soup or Sorbet to cleanse the palate

Cucumber Sorbet

This is a subtle sorbet that can be served between courses at any meal. For example, after a flavorful or heavy meal, you might choose to serve a small scoop of cucumber basil sorbet before the salad or cheese course

It will leave your guests feeling refreshed and ready for the final few courses. 



  • 2 lbs cucumbers,peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2/3 c water
  • 2 Tbsp chopped purple basil


  1. Purée the cucumbers with the lime juice in a food processor
  2. Heat the water and the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Combine the cucumber purée with the sugar water
  4. Press the mixture through a strained to eliminate the seeds
  5. It will still be thick and pulpy
  6. Stir in the basil and chill overnight
  7. Freeze in your ice cream machine as directed

Shiizakana- Hot pot


This is one of our favorite Japanese dishes. You can allow your guests to participate in the creation of the meal by using an electric hot pot at the table. That’s always a fun choice. You can also just make it on the stove. 



  • 1/2 head of napa cabbage, shredded
  • 7oz tong hao or Garland chrysanthemum, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 pkg enoki mushrooms, remove the ends
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
  • 1 pkg firm tofu, cut into about 6-8 strips
  • 7 oz cellophane noodles
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs sukiyaki or shabu shabu sliced beef ( thinly sliced rib eye, well marbled)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 c dashi


  • 1 c sake
  • 1 c mirin
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 c soy sauce


  1. Combine the ingredients of the sauce and bring to a boil
  2. Remove from heat and set aside
  3. Place the cellophane noodles in hot water until they are soft but not cooked
  4. Use either a hot pot at the table or a pot on the stove
  5. Heat the oil and add the beef and brown sugar
  6. Flip it and brown it
  7. Add 1 c sauce and 1/3 c dashi
  8. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil
  9. Simmer until ingredients are cooked
  10. Serve with extra sauce
  11. Traditionally a raw egg is served along side the extra sauce or cracked over the individual servings. It adds a terrific flavor and it is slightly warmed by the hot ingredients
  12. Just be advised that eating raw egg can be risky. Salmonella is no one’s friend  We endured it in Japan one time and are hoping to avoid a repeat performance. As a result, we skip the raw egg

Gohan- Rice with Seasonal Ingredients

Basically, this is Japanese fried rice.

gohan rice


  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 c warm water
  • 1 6 inch square piece of kombu
  • 4 oz fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 inch piece of carrot, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 c Japanese rice, rinsed and drained
  • Cilantro to garnish


  1. Soak the kombu in warm water for 30 min- 1 hr
  2. Remove the kombu and save the water
  3. In a medium sized pot, combine the water, mushrooms, ginger and carrots
  4. Bring to a simmer over med heat
  5. Add mirin and honey
  6. Cook for 1 min and add soy sauce
  7. Cook for 1 more min
  8. Strain
  9. Keep the liquid and the vegetables separate
  10. Place the rice and the solid ingredients in a rice cooker
  11. Add 2 c of liquid
  12. Place the kombu on top and cook as directed by rice cooker
  13. To serve, remove the kombu and fluff the rice
  14. Garnish with cilantro

Kou no mono- pickled vegetables

It’s easiest to just buy these at your local Asian market.

Tomewan- basic miso soup and rice

The recipe for miso soup can be found in the first post on kaiseke dinners

Mizumono- dessert or fruit

There are plenty of choices available for this sweet ending to your meal. 2 beautiful strawberries, garnished with a sprig of mint, presented on small dishes, make a lovely dessert. Mochi is popular too. You can find this dough covered ice cream treat in the freezer section of the Asian market.

Mitarashi Dango

These are sweet dumplings serve with a soy based sauce. Either place them on individual skewers for your guests or serve each person a few in a small bowl, drizzled with sauce

Mitarashi Dango


  • 4 oz mochiko fine rice flour
  • 3 oz Rice flour ( glutinous rice flour)
  • 3 1/2 oz water

Mitarashi Syrup

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  •  2 oz water
  • 1 tsp katakuriko


  1. Combine the rice flour and mochiko in a bowl
  2. Slowly add water and knead until it becomes a soft dough
  3. Roll the dough into small balls, somewhere between a large marble and a ping pong ball
  4. Add the ingredients of the sauce in a microwave safe dish
  5. Heat in 30 second increments and stir
  6. Repeat until the sauce is transparent
  7. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the balls of dough
  8. They are cooked when they float
  9. Give them an extra couple of seconds, then remove them and serve with sauce

Enjoy your Japanese meals

Next time

Crazy sorbet combos that you will crave

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