Japanese Home Cooking Cookbook Review

Japanese Home Cooking Cookbook Review

Title: Japanese Home Cooking: Simple Meals, Authentic Flavors
Author: Sonoko Sakai
Published: November 19, 2019, Roost Books
No. of Pages: 304
Cover Price: $40.00 Hardcover, $24.99 Kindle

Anyone who has ever wanted to master authentic Japanese cooking at home will want to pick up a copy of Japanese Home Cooking: Simple Meals, Authentic Flavors by renowned California-based author and teacher, Sonoko Sakai. In this excellent cookbook are recipes for popular Japanese dishes that are served in restaurants, as well as dishes generally served in Japanese homes.

Those who have spent a fair amount of time in Japan and (also in Hawaii where there are a lot of Japanese people and restaurants), this book is one that will be used often to recreate those authentic and delicious dishes served there. There are beautiful photographs of some of the dishes – unfortunately not all – and the recipes are easy to follow. This cookbook is for those who are serious about cooking Japanese, since there are dozens of ingredients that are needed that can only be obtained from good Japanese grocery stores. Most larger cities have good Asian markets, so obtaining the ingredients shouldn’t be much of a problem. The book does feature recipes for some of the ingredients in homemade form, but special ingredients are necessary to make them. It’s fun to go to the Japanese grocery and see how many ingredients there are that most of us haven’t heard of.

Some of the most tempting recipes included are Gyoza (these are luscious and nothing like the dumplings found in the freezer section of club stores), Tonkatsu (breaded and fried pork cutlets) with a homemade sauce, and Japanese curry made from scratch rather than the curry blocks that most of us use. All of the chicken dishes call for chicken thighs, which are fattier and stronger flavored than breasts and are typical of Japanese cooking (I substitute breasts, even though it isn’t as authentic). There is a recipe for Japanese Potato Salada which is delicious and has hints of Japanese flavors – perfect for a backyard party, and an excellent Yakisoba recipe. Also included are recipes for homemade pasta for fabulous ramen and other noodle dishes, with step-by-step instructions and photographs.

Okonomiyaki (“as you like it”), which is a pancake full of vegetables (always lots of cabbage) and meat or seafood and served with a wonderful sauce, is a recipe alone worth the purchase of the book (the price is a bit steep, however, so brace yourself). Sakai’s recipe is excellent and tastes very similar to those versions served in Osaka and Hawaii. Her version (Osaka style) is the kind without the noodles (Okinawa style), and will become a favorite.

All told, this is the perfect cookbook for learning about Japanese food and learning to cook it right. Highly recommended.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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