Friday, December 2, 2016

REVIEW: Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking

Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking
Author: Masahuru Morimoto

I was both ecstatic and apprehensive when I won an Advance Readers Copy of this cookbook on I was excited because I love "real'' Japanese cuisine and would love to learn how to cook it properly myself. But, I also approached the book with caution. Masahuru Morimoto is an Iron Chef after all. I really expected the recipes in this book to call for ingredients I couldn't possibly find and to be too advanced to be cooked properly in my small home kitchen.

This book was a pleasant surprise. Morimoto states in the introduction that he was looking to gather together recipes for staple dishes that would highlight Japanese home cooking. And, he promised the ingredients would be readily available at Asian markets in the United States. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked out three dishes to try, and found all of the required ingredients easily.

From the simple (stocks and sauces) to the more complex (stir fry and pickled foods), Morimoto gives simple, concise instructions, detailed ingredients lists and an ingredient glossary in the back of the book. There are lots of photographs throughout, as well. Because I'm reviewing based on an ARC copy of this book, the photos were black and white in my copy. But I assume the final published version has beautiful color photos.

I was able to make a delicious, authentic Japanese meal for my family using my home kitchen with very little fuss. It did require a trip to the Asian market for some basic ingredients: miso, sea weed, spices, etc. At no time did I feel like the recipes were ridiculously complex or required ingredients that were too obscure or expensive. I didn't have to have any specialty cooking utensils either. So, the book lives up to its title -- you can make these meals at home with great results!

Now, as with any cookbook, there are a couple recipes that I will not try, just because they are not to my personal taste. I'm not going to be slow-cooking pork bellies anytime soon or simmering sweet seaweed, but for the most part the book is filled with recipes I will make for my family!

The cookbook is well-organized into several categories: basic Japanese stock, Rice, Soups, Grill/Broiled/Seared, Steamed, Simmer, Stir-Fry, Noodles, Fried, Dressings and Pickled foods. At the back of the book is an ingredients glossary that gives detailed information on certain ingredients, advice on finding the right items at an Asian market and pointers on how to pick just the right ingredients. Then there is a list of online sources for kitchen equipment and ingredients, followed by an index. My ARC did not contain the index pages, so I can't comment on the organization or usefulness of the index.

All in all, I am impressed with this cookbook. I will definitely be using it often to cook Japanese meals in my home!

Masahuru Morimoto is a Japanese Chef made famous on the television shows Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. He has published several Japanese cuisine cookbooks including The New Art of Japanese Cooking.

**I won an Advance Readers Copy of this book on The opinions expressed in this review are my own.**

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