Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: HP Books (April 4, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #261,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #95 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Asian Cooking > Japanese #3048 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International
Japanese food is famous for being great to look at and great for your body. But it is not easy to make it using traditional methods. Kurihara's book removes that problem. She makes it easy to create both the traditional family meals and some unusual concoctions of her own.This book does not cover the kinds of foods you will be able to buy at Japanese restaurants but rather the kinds of foods that Japanese eat at home. Her recipes make it easy to make them in your home. She has tested these recipes in Europe and has found some interesting substitutes for materials not easily found outside of Japan.If you like Japanese cooking and would like to try to make it at home, this is the best introduction. Once you get accostomed to her cooking style, you can then move on to the more difficult methods of Tsuji and Suzuki. But you will find yourself returning to this book regularly because your family will keep requesting her foods.
Just so you know, the recipes in this wonderful cookbook are largely Japanese-Western fusion, not traditional Japanese. We enjoyed the delicious mentaiko spaghetti this afternoon (very easy to make) and the tofu Gorgonzola pesto salad. The combinations of flavors are interesting and tasty, but if you're looking for a book of more traditional recipes, you might try Washoku.
Harumi is a bonafied cookbook star in Japan. She's published more than 12 cookbooks, some of them small and adhering to themes like Bento, Seafood, or Italian, and many of her larger ones are collections of her "favorites," recipes that are regulars in her household - both are huge bestsellers, and I own most of them. So when this english version came out, I couldn't wait to try them.The best part is that most of these recipes are "Japanese," but they are selectively compiled to cater to the American audience. She steers clear from the so-called "weird" Japanese ingredients, like natto (fermentated soy beans), or umeboshi (really sour pickled plum). A lot of Japanese home cooking are western dishes, like casseroles and hamburgers (surprise!), but Harumi, staying true to her title, has selected authentic Japanese recipes or western dishes with a Japanese twist.I've cooked about half of the recipes in her book, and they all came out great. The best one so far is the open-faced dumplings, and the salmon cakes, and the chicken salad. There was one questionable recipe - the shredded carrot salad - which is her staple dish (as it's published in many of her cookbooks), but I think either Harumi or her editors may have altered the original recipe (which does NOT include vinegar or mustard) to cater to the more American notion of "salad." The original version is MUCH better; less like a salad and more like a stir-fried side dish.I can guarantee that many, if not all, of her recipes in this book will turn out great, and this is coming from a girl who was raised by her mom's Japanese cooking for a good part of her life.
Harumi's recipes are just the thing if you'd like to try your hand at some simple Japanese dishes. Her directions are clear and most of the ingredients are not too hard to find. If you try her recipes for green beans with ground meat or green beans with black sesame sauce, for instance, you will have created dishes that are simple, pleasing, and, well, Japanese. And if you've ever been to Japan and had that delicious pancake called okonomiyaki, then longed to reproduce it, Harumi gives you a pretty good recipe for making it right at home. Her variations on miso soup are good, too. I am less tempted by the "fusion" type dishes like "tofu with basil and gorgonzola dressing," which seem a bit odd to me. And the book does, annoyingly, lack an index, although it has a good glossary. I haven't tried all of her recipes, but my favorite so far is her easy and homey take on gyoza (dumplings). And although she has some recipes for making sushi, I'm leaving that job to the excellent sushi chefs in Portland (Maine).
Harumi's approach to cooking is refreshing. The cookbook is accessible, and works for beginners and expert chefs. There are "stable" japanese food items like Tempura, and Beef on Rice, but also great recipes for traditional homestyle meals that Japanese enjoy on a rainy day.There are wonderful international influenced dishes that marry japanese style, with italian and american flavors.The other great thing is that many of the dishes include items you already have in your fridge. A few trips to speciality grocery stores, and you'll be stocked to be able to cook a wide range of great food for your family and friends. They will be so impressed!I personally think this book makes a great gift to anyone who has been oversaturated by books from Ina, Rachael, or Giada (though they are still great!)
I have a large cookbook collection and hate to admit that there are some I've never used for a single recipe. I first checked Harumi's book out at the library and after using (and loving) five recipes in two weeks, I just had to buy this book. The recipes are easy, quick and truly delicious. My mother was Japanese and these recipes remind me so much of what I grew up eating. I can recommend this book with confidence for anyone who wants to try something Japanese beyond sushi and teriyaki.
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