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The Japanese Kitchen: 250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit [Hardcover]

Beitchman Shimbo
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 7 2000
In the first comprehensive introduction to Japanese cooking for the U.S. market in two decades, Hiroko Shimbo Beitchman gently and authoritatively demystifies for Western cooks this elegant and tasty cuisine.

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From Publishers Weekly

While Asian flavors have long been fashionable in the U.S., it is perhaps the hipness of sushi and familiarity of the Tepanyaki style that have been a catalyst for the recent popularity of Japanese cuisine. The author, a veteran cooking-school instructor and food writer, offers a well-rounded introduction to the rich heritage of Japanese cooking (complete with historical, cultural and personal observations from her own childhood). "Nutrition, taste and... a spirit of innovation" are Shimbo's ambitions with this comprehensive and intriguing collection of updated classic and new recipes. Perfect for the Western cook, Shimbo's book explains traditional equipment, techniques and ingredients (although, she says, American cooking implements, and the occasional substituted ingredient, will more than suffice) and how to make such staple elements as tofu. She particularly touts the healthier aspects of Japanese cuisine and offers many simple preparations that support fast-paced lives, including Easy Simmered Chicken and Chestnuts or the quick one-pot meal of Rice, Beef, Burdock Root and Mushrooms made in a rice cooker. Shimbo doesn't disappoint the aficionado, however, with Yakitori grilling, Ponzu Sauce and a far more interesting (and healthy) rendering of ramen than the cellophane-wrapped variety. Based on Japanese home-style cooking, Shimbo's is an indispensable book for the home cook, with recipes such as Chirashizushi and her mother's Green Plum Wine. Nevertheless, Shimbo also shows a fresh modern sensibility by smartly melding Western influences in her own recipes for Clam Chowder (New England meets Edomae style), Lamb StewDwhich she enlivens with misoDand Teriyaki Chicken Roll served on a bed of greens. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Japanese food has conquered America's palate almost as completely as Japanese cars have come to dominate the nation's highways. America's teens, especially, have become fascinated with the joys of sushi, and wasabi vies with salsa as a source of tongue-tingling pleasure. Hiroko Shimbo eruditely introduces the American home cook to The Japanese Kitchen and its centuries-old traditions. Beyond her explicit instructions for expertly preparing sushi, Shimbo offers a host of other recipes that don't require a source of pristine raw seafood to succeed. Noodle dishes, soups, and even a version of roast beef in a sake sauce show the range of edibles turned out by today's Japanese cook. Shimbo takes pains to place each recipe carefully within its context, explicating the history and character of each dish and painstakingly inventorying the varieties of rice and noodles used. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond sushi March 30 2001
Format:Paperback
Books that delve into Japanese cuisine beyond the popular restaurant dishes like sushi and miso soup are few and far between. And in that sense, this book does not disappoint.
Shimbo's recipes are a joy, introducing over 200 wonderful dishes from the Japanese culinary repertoire to Western readers. Agedashi tofu (crisp tofu cubes in tempura sauce), negima-nabe (tuna and leek hotpot), multiple variations on fresh ramen and yakitori skewered chicken, the unusual gyuniku no misozuke (miso-marinated steak), usuyaki senbei (homemade rice crackers), mitsumame (chilled gelatin in syrup), along with modern Japanified Western standards like ebifurai (fried shrimp in a crisp breading), omu raisu (rice-filled omelet), and kurimu korokke (creamy croquettes) are all here. Each recipe is prefaced with a tale about its origin or the author's childhood memories, and clear instructions make preparation of "exotic, foreign" specialties easy.
Less successful are some of Shimbo's unique concoctions: soybean hummus (why?), eel burgers, "creamed" soup made of carrots, celery, garlic, miso, and soy milk. But these misfires, thankfully, can be easily overlooked.
Another of the book's strengths is the author's deep investigation into ingredients.
Shimbo, a native of Japan who teaches frequently at major cooking schools in the United States and Europe, took years to write this book, visiting artisanal food producers across Japan to gather first-hand information about how products are grown and manufactured. Her research is a goldmine for devotees of Japanese food. I've been cooking Japanese food for 25+ years, and am Japanese Food Host at BellaOnline.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised... Feb. 22 2003
Format:Paperback
... that this isn't higher up on the list of popular Japanese cookbooks on this sight. I consider this book to be one of the most definitive books on the subject of Japanese cooking. The Nobu cookbook (which is the most popular) isn't Japanese so much as it is Pan-Asian, and then the other books, are all sushi books, which is strange to me seeing as, having lived in Japan, I know that Japanese people rarely eat sushi (it's expensive there too!) Hiroko Shinbo's book was given to me as a present, and I have grown to really love it. I was at first put off a little by the lack of photos, but then when I realized that it contains many of the REAL dishes that I am familiar with, I started to use it more and more. It is easy enough that anyone can cook the dishes in this book, and has all the real dishes that I remember eating in Japan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic ! April 26 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is really one of the best cookbooks. The great chef Charlie Trotter(a big culinary hero of mine) said something about choosing cookbooks:" When you get a cookbook, READ it, don't just look at the pictures! ...review any information the book gives on different foods, and look through the notes that are included with the recipes....This is where you can get your best ideas."
This book is a treasure to help you get many many great ideas and understand authentic Japanese cuisine. Every recipe comes with valuable notes that you can't find in most Japanese cookbook, and these notes are beautifully written with the author's deep knowledg of cooking, love of nature, and respect of Japanese tradition.
One simple example is the last recipe in this book "Mom's Japanese Green Plum Wine". The ingredients are simple: fresh plums, sugar, white liquor. Yet the author explains that rock sugar is preferred because it dissolves more slowly than granulated sugar, and so helps to extract more juice from the plums. Details like this make a difference. I've seen this recipe before but it's not untill I read this book, I feel I have the most authentic recipe.
This is also a good book for vegetarians and vegans, because there's only a small part of the recepies that contain meat, and the meat can often be substituted with Tofu.
Read this book, please...
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Format:Paperback
Selected and compiled by food writer, consultant, teacher, and Japanese cuisine expert Hiroko Shimbo, The Japanese Kitchen features 250 wonderful recipes drawn from traditional Japanese kitchens. Enhanced descriptions of Japanese ingredients (including where to find them and how to choose them), as well as with helpful illustrations and clear, step-by-step preparational instructions, the recipes range from Ingen no Kurumi-miso-ae (Green Beans in Walnut-Miso Dressing); Shimeji Gohan (Rice with Shimeji Mushrooms); and Buta-miso Ramen (Ramen with Pork-and-Miso Sauce); to Suzuki no Gomamiso-yaki (Broiled Sea Bass with Sesame Seeds); Tori-nabe (Hearty Chicken Hot Pot); and Mushi Chokoreito Keiki (Light and Delightful Steamed Chocolate Cake). Informative and thoroughly "user friendly", The Japanese Kitchen is enthusiastically recommended for inclusion into multi-cultural and ethnic cookbook collections.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Japanese Cuisine July 27 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book after visiting a Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas (Osaka in Henderson). I had Sukiyaki and was so impressed, I wanted to try it at home. This book has many fine recipes, and yes, the Sukiyaki from this book was even better than the restaurant. Sometimes unusual ingredients are called for, but with a little patience and hunting, they can be found. I am fortunate to have a great Asian market nearby, and the staff is eager to assist me with my requests. I suggest you do the same, or find one on-line. Safeway just isn't going to carry Sweet Taro Noodles or quail eggs.
My only complaint is that there are no photos. You're on your own for presentation and techniques. But the recipes themselves are fantastic and authentic. Whether you're new to Japanese cooking or well seasoned, this book has something for you. Enjoy.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes!
A wonderful book for those interested in preparing Japanese-style food. It is very well put together and includes all of the favourites!
Published 9 months ago by Rev. M. Devost
5.0 out of 5 stars very good cookbook
i love this book very good condition and would recommend if you like japanesse cooking, and the book is very easy to understand.
Published 17 months ago by heather
5.0 out of 5 stars This covers everything!
I took this book with me on a year-long stay in Japan. There is literally nothing that I ate there that I couldn't find out about in this book. Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by K. Foss
5.0 out of 5 stars The DEFINITIVE guide to Japanese home cooking
This is THE BOOK to have on Japanese home cooking. 250 wonderful true homestyle recipes - I'm in heaven! Read more
Published on June 28 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars I was impressed
I was looking for a book that taught the fine art of okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza pancakes). I thought after buying this, if only it also had sushi recipes. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2003 by Thomas F. Hooker
5.0 out of 5 stars I was impressed
I was looking for a book that taught the fine art of okonomiyaki (Japanese noodles). I thought after buying this, if only it also had sushi recipes. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2003 by Thomas F. Hooker
5.0 out of 5 stars from my great teacher
I must say that Hiroko has been my teacher and I have been assisteing in her classes in Madrid, Spain. Read more
Published on June 30 2001 by Raul Carrera Ruiz
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book without Glitz
Ignore the rabble who say that this book doesn't give you presentation photos. You want that, go buy a picture book. Read more
Published on March 29 2001 by Hans Stampfli
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