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Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen Hardcover – Oct 1 2005

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (Oct. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580085199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580085199
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 2.7 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

ELIZABETH ANDOH is the American authority on Japanese cuisine. She has made Japan her home since 1967 and divides her time between Tokyo and Osaka, directing a culinary program called A Taste of Culture. Her book Washoku won the 2006 IACP Jane Grigson award for distinguished scholarship in food writing and was nominated for a James Beard Award.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
"Washoku" roughly translates as "harmony in food" and describes a cooking philosophy in which every meal consists of five colours (red, green, yellow, black, white), five flavours (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, spicy) and five cooking methods (raw, fried, simmered, grilled, steamed). This great variety results in balanced, nutritious meals that captivate all five senses.

In her book, Andoh provides over 90 pages of extensive notes on food preparation, basic ingredients, and basic cooking techniques. She fills each recipe section with beautiful photographs and often points out regional differences in dish preparation, giving the reader the choice of approach to follow. "Washoku" is a must-have for anyone interested in Japanese cooking; just make sure you have access to an Asian grocery store.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book, in Kindle form and I;m guessing in hardcopy as well, is barely usable. Although there seems to be some perfectly edible recipes here, there is so much excess verbiage that just getting through one little recipe, for some simple pickles, say, is like plowing through War and Peace. In addition, the required information, for various terms, ingredients, etc., is scattered all over the place, and on a Kindle, that's pretty useless. If I knew how to get a refund, I would.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9dd23f90) out of 5 stars 73 reviews
147 of 149 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f5cb9f0) out of 5 stars My favorite cookbook Aug. 22 2006
By Ambassador_Kong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is, hands down, my favorite cookbook. There are over 90 pages of extensive notes on food preparation before you even get to the first recipe. If you are like me and have never prepared Japanese food before, these notes are essential. You learn about the basic ingredients (there are hundereds of different misos), basic cooking techniques (how to drain and press miso), and how to make a variety of basic cooking stocks. Each section is filled with beautiful photographs so you will be able to identify exactly what you are looking for when you get to the Japanese market. One of the previous reviewers was confused because they couldn't tell which miso to use in a recipe. The answer: whichever one you like. That is one of the best aspects of this cookbook. This isn't gourmet cooking, this is is Washoku (home cooking) designed to be cooked to your families taste. As an unexpected bonus the author will often point out regional differences in preparing dishes and give the reader the option of which approach they would like to follow. A great book for anyone that wants to learn basic Japanese cooking. Buyer beware: make sure you have access to an Asian grocery store. The typical American grocer carries very few of the necessary ingredients.
87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f5cba44) out of 5 stars Among the best, but not beyond. Aug. 11 2010
By Lucy Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is definitely a five-star book in theory. It's probably the only Japanese cookbook that comes close to Shizuo Tsuji's in its thoroughness and completeness. But that's also the downfall of this book, it is really too similar to Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art without offering anything that breaks through the precedent. Those of us who own and cook from the previous book a lot might find this book a little bit boring. As soon as I got this book I thumbed through the pages and I only picked out 4 recipes at first blush that I really felt like I needed to try. This is a pretty good size book, too. I've cooked more than those 4 since then, but the book didn't have the profound impact on me that it should have, probably because I've read it all before in Japanese Cooking.

I will say though, that this book can offer some things that Japanese Cooking doesn't have, mainly photography. There are pictures not only of finished dishes but of ingredients too, and even though those are artistically well done they are also quite informative. It helps to know what something looks like when you're looking for it in a store, I would suppose. But there are some steps skipped in this book that Japanese Cooking doesn't overlook. A specific example is a couple days ago when I made an asparagus and black sesame salad from Washoku to go along with lunch. Earlier today I was just perusing Japanese Cooking when it mentioned to never use wet ingredients in an aemono. Oops, nothing was mentioned about that in Washoku. I checked and sure enough, my salad, which was perfectly nutty and crisp at lunch, was now sitting in a pool of gray asparagus water. It might have gone without mentioning because no one bothered to check how it would keep as a leftover, but Japanese Cooking mentioned it, which just shows a more complete understanding of the cuisine in that book.

I would say that either this book or Japanese Cooking would probably be the best basic Japanese cookbook out of all the ones out there. You certainly don't need both though. I would browse through both of them and see which format fits your style most. If you need visual stimulation and prefer coffee-table style books, then Washoku is your seminal book on Japanese food and cooking. If you value, on the other hand, a very in-depth informative, Julia Child-type approach and format, I would have to recommend sticking with Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji.
97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9df34a68) out of 5 stars You must own this book Jan. 22 2006
By Mary Lou - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am biased about this book, but in a good way and with deep respect for the Japanese culture and the author. My husband Bob Heiss was one of the recipe testers who worked on this book from our kitchen in Massachusetts. During this process we had constant emails going to and from Toyko about the progress of the recipes, questions about confusing issues, product availability, etc. I know that a handful of others across the USA were putting similar time into the perfection of these recipes and this book. As someone observing this process,but benefiting from the results, I was very impressed with the amount of effort that Ms.Andoh put into making sure that the recipes would be clear and concise to American readers.

If you are curious about Japanese food but have perhaps been intimidated by it, then please give this book a try. I know that that you will get excellent results from these recipes - all of the dishes and sauces that I tasted were delicious and accentuated with very well-defined flavors.

As a food enthusiast, I for one am ready to move beyond 'sushi' and learn more about the fascinating world of Japanese food and cooking.
118 of 128 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9df34c24) out of 5 stars Help bring Japanese food into your kitchen Nov. 6 2005
By Yukari Sakamoto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This may be the most beautiful book on Japanese food to date. There is a thorough pantry chapter, guiding the reader on what to look for when purchasing, and how to prep the materials for cooking. There is also a detailed chapter on cooking techniques, with easy to follow directions.

The recipes cover the basics with a few modern, like a black sesame ice cream. There are "Kitchen Harmony" and "Harmony at Table" notes adding another depth to the recipes with cultural tips on presentation, for example.

I have been studying Japanese food for several years. Washoku will be a reference book on many levels, for recipes, for background on ingredients and techniques, and for the pleasure of reading.
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f5cbf0c) out of 5 stars Washoku--ole' July 10 2006
By Mary A. Grande - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Superb book. I am in love with the Asian Groceries and Markets in Ellicott City, Maryland and shop there a couple times a month. I try to buy an unfamiliar item each time I go, but often can not use them.

The first part of Washoku is worth the price of the whole book and then some. It is a thorough encyclopedia of ingredients, products, etc. Explanantions of use and pictures predominate the discussion and it is marvelous. I am ecstatic--learning more and more each time I pick up the book. It is a treasure trove.

The recipes too are well done--cross referencing the ingredients with page numbers from the first chapter.

This is a book that I wish had the author's autograph. I predict it will be a prize winner and am delighted to have it in my cookbook collection. Ms. Andoh is to be congratulated on an outstanding contribution to clear communication of Japanese cuisine especially for those of us who would rather cook than carry out!!!!