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Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions Hardcover – Oct 19 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (Oct. 19 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580089550
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580089555
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 24.9 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 14 2011
Format: Hardcover
Kansha roughly translates as "appreciation," a cooking philosophy that encourages mindfulness, emphasizes nutrition and wastes nothing. This book contains a myriad of Japanese vegan recipes complete with gorgeous photos and an in-depth explanatory section on ingredients and kitchen tools.

Andoh's previous compendium, "Washoku," includes egg and meat-based dishes but "Kansha" enters the world of mock-mackerel sushi, goya (bitter melon) stirfry and steamed soy milk custard. Obtaining more obscure ingredients like burdock root and umeboshi (pickled plums) may prove difficult but, even if you never cook anything from the book, "Kansha" still provides a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in Japanese food and culture.
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By Ryan on July 11 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book with many interesting facts, recipes and techniques that cannot be easily found elsewhere or online. Highly recommended
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
A gorgeous cookbook that inspires appreciation July 6 2011
By Sarah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was stationed in Japan for six months, and while there, I took four Japanese cooking classes. I purchased Kansha from Amazon Japan in December 2010, and enjoyed leafing through the many intriguing vegan recipes inspired by traditional Japanese Buddhism (because of my living arrangements in Japan, I didn't have a kitchen in which to try out these recipes). Being vegetarian in Japan is more difficult than it sounds; nearly every Japanese dish (with the exception of shojin ryori, vegan Buddhist temple cuisine) contains fish in some form, whether in the dashi (stock) or shavings of katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). The traditional Japanese diet, which was heavy on fish and fresh and pickled vegetables, is being replaced by deep-fried cutlets and American-style fast food joints like Mos Burger.

I was lucky enough to attend one of Elizabeth's Kansha workshops in Osaka shortly after the March 11 earthquake, and it was a much-needed chance to focus on appreciation (the English translation of "kansha") that my Japanese coworkers' and students' friends and families were safe. We made several of the recipes from Kansha around a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) theme, including Thick Fried Tofu & Broiled Tofu Braised with Root Vegetables, Simmered & Blanched Mountain Vegetables Tossed in Nutty Tofu Sauce. Rice with Salted Cherry Blossoms, Burdock and Wheat Strips in Dark Miso Broth, and Home-Made Nuka-Zuke. After the class, we went on a supermarket tour, where Elizabeth pointed out various types of sansai (wild mountain vegetables) and gave us a primer on soy sauces and basic pantry staples.

Despite the fact that the book is marketed as "Vegetarian and vegan traditions," Kansha is totally vegan (if you're looking for egg-based dishes like Japanese omelettes and chawanmushi, those can be found in Elizabeth's previous book Washoku). You'll find mock-mackerel sushi made from eggplant, light and springy cherry blossom rice, and a variety of pickles. There are some lovely regional recipes like goya (bitter melon), a popular vegetable from Okinawa, where it is commonly served in a stir-fry known as chanpuru. Yes, tofu gets its own chapter, but it's served in a variety of preparations that are commonly found in Japan, including a soymilk version of chawanmushi (steamed custard with savory bits of veggies), fried tofu (atsu age), yuba (rather substantial soymilk "skin"), and instructions on how to make your own tofu from soymilk. Varietal tofus (especially fried tofu skins used for inarizushi and in miso soup) may be near-impossible to find in your local grocery, but you can always fall back on that most Japanese staple of summer, hiyayakko: buy the highest-grade tofu you can find, cut into cubes, garnish with grated daikon, wasabi, or fresh grated ginger, drizzle with soy sauce and serve!

The book is gorgeously illustrated, and the recipes are very clearly laid out and explained step-by-step. The ingredient and kitchen tool section is excellent as well, but again, you will most likely have to mail-order many of the specialty items like rice molds, miso strainers, etc. I've ordered from Korin.com; they have a wide selection of imported Japanese tableware and kitchen tools.

The biggest challenge that home cooks will face is finding authentic fresh Japanese ingredients like mitsuba and shiso (herbs), burdock root, and takenoko (baby bamboo shoots) and prepared ingredients like dried seaweed (most US stores only carry nori sheets for sushi, but there are many common varieties in Japan, like hijiki, kombu, and wakame), umeboshi (pickled plums), and seasonings (unfortunately, our Japanese market did stock konnyaku, my most loathed Japanese ingredient; imagine a squiggly, translucent, chewy block of tasteless speckled jello).

I'm lucky in that my city has not one, but several Japanese markets and a large network of Japanese, but it's still difficult (and extremely expensive) to buy these ingredients in the US (I miss my local Heiwado grocery store in Japan!). Unfortunately, these recipes call for very specific ingredients without American substitutions, so for some Kansha may end up as a beautiful coffee table book. It's a beautiful volume and fine companion to Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, which includes Japanese fish, meat and egg dishes, and vegetarians, vegans, and Japanophiles should certainly add this to their collection. If you're looking specifically for Japanese Buddhist temple cuisine (which is vegan), The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan covers that niche in greater detail.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A vegan craving long forgotten food Feb. 9 2011
By L. M. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am a vegan who used to live in Japan for 3 years. I have been hopelessly searching to recreate some of the amazing food I experienced while living there. So far I had been severely disappointed. That is, until I bought this book. I want to thank the author for the amazing selection of recipes. The Heaven and Earth Tempura and the Kabocha Croquettes were incredible. Maybe even better than the ones from my beloved Kyushu. The instructions were so clear and exact, that the preparation and cooking in a Japanese style was surprising easy. Thank you again for allowing me to share these dearly missed dishes with my friends and family.
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Another excellent book by Elizabeth Andoh Oct. 19 2010
By Lilico - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've been waiting for this book for a long time. There is no one like Andoh to explain authentic Japanese food to non-japanese. She is like the Julia Child of Japan. Her recipes are thorough, easy to read and use, and tell you a lot about Japanese culture and thought along the way. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian and like Japanese food, this is the book for you. There's nothing else like it. She knows how to coax the authentic flavors out of the ingredients, and put everything to good use. Even if you are not a vegetarian, this is an important book to learn more about japanese thought and culture and to add to your japanese repetoire. Beautifully photographed and written, i can't put it down.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Ms. Andoh is an international treasure Oct. 20 2010
By Michael K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A gorgeously produced and photographed book and a worthy companion to Washoku. Ms. Andoh's discussion of the Japanese kitchen, ingredients, cooking techniques, and "waste nothing" philosophy is lucid and inspiring. Even the most carnivorous Japanese food lover will find much here to add to their repertoire. The pickle section alone is worth the admission. I can't put this book down.

Ms. Andoh is an international treasure. One reviewer compared her to Julia Child, but I see Ms. Andoh more as another M.F.K. Fisher for her stunning prose and her approach to cooking and eating as a celebration of life. Check out her websites: [...] and [...]
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Another Treasure by Elizabeth Andoh Nov. 26 2010
By H. Kawakami - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am lucky enough to know Elizabeth and have been in her kitchen with her. Every dish she makes, every meal, is amazing in flavor, presentation, balance. Here is another chance to learn from her how to prepare delicious, nutritious Japanese cuisine suitable for our small planet -- the vegetarian and vegan traditions. Each recipe has been painstakingly researched and checked multiple times with an international crew of volunteers so that you can follow the recipe wherever you are and know that you will create something wonderful. This is a beautiful cookbook but it is more. Even with my many years of experience in Japan, I always learn something new from Elizabeth. And Elizabeth imparts her holistic philosophy of living and appreciating (kansha) through the descriptions and notes of this book. She is also passing down precious knowledge of generations of temple and kitchen cooks. This second volume, added to Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (2005), is cause for celebration and appreciation of Elizabeth's dedication to introducing, interpreting, and preserving Japan's culinary traditions. A beautiful gift for yourself and loved ones during this season of gratitude and hospitality.

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