Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Japanese
Published: November 1, 1998
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Some mornings you wake up, roll out of bed, and you just know it's a cold soba kind of day. Sound familiar? But if you don't happen to live or work near Japanese noodle restaurants, you're kind of out of luck. "The Japanese," writes Emi
Kazuko, author of Café Japan, one of the Conran Café series, "cannot survive, even for a few days, without a bowl of noodles.... So it's not surprising to come across a Soba-ya (noodle shop) every ten yards or so on any high street in Japan." Yeah, well,
what about the rest of us?
Fortunately, Kazuko strips away the mystery from Cold Soba, much as she does from many other café-style dishes you would find in Japan. And where words might fail, the fine color photography used throughout the Café
series beautifully illustrates just the point the author wants to convey.
Small cafes and bistros in Japan specialize in one item, yakitori, say, or tempura. In other words, there's no such thing as a "Japanese" restaurant in Japan. Fortunately
for the Western cook, Kazuko has pulled all these disparate specialists into one food court where ease and simplicity are the hallmarks of dining.
You will find familiar soups and appetizers such as Miso Soup with Tofu and Snow Peas, Clear Soup
with Mussels and Watercress, Fried Giant Prawns, and Soft-Cooked Octopus. Main Dishes include Seared Yuan Salmon, Ginger Pork, Chicken Teriyaki, Udon with Curry Soup and, of course, Soba. There are many dishes here that define the popular palate in
Japan, but remain more obscure in the West. Kazuko's great talent is making familiar what might seem exotic. If you have suffered a fear of cooking Japanese food, this is a great place to start. And the next time the sun rises on a Cold Soba kind of day,
you'll know just what to do. --Schuyler Ingle
The essence of Japanese cooking lies in its simplicity; the overarching goal is to preserve each ingredient's natural flavor and texture. These 75 easy-to-make
recipes--including tricolor nori-rolled sushi, grilled skewered chicken, and seared yuan salmon--bring home the popular daily dishes of Japan's cafes using ingredients found in many supermarkets or Asian markets in the West. These meals are perfect for
those who want light and simple dishes without heavy sauces or spices.
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