Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Japanese Cookbook for Beginners: Classic and Modern Recipes Made Easy

Japanese Cookbook for Beginners is a tutorial guide and recipe collection for Japanese cuisine using (mostly) authentic ingredients. Due out 17th March 2020 from Callisto on their Rockridge Press imprint, it's 146 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats (ebook available now). It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

The book has a logical and easy to follow format. Chapter 1 covers the background meal planning and ingredient buying (including a general overview over pantry staples lists and tools and supplies in the Japanese kitchen) as well as a very general beginner-accessible discussion of the time-saving and streamlining techniques. The author also includes some logical pointers about containers, ingredients, and supplies. The recipe chapters are arranged thematically: staples, snacks and salads, vegetarian, rice and noodles, seafood, and meat and poultry. There is no included nutritional information, although special dietary information is included (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy, etc). Prep and variation tips are included in a footer at the bottom of each recipe.

The recipes have their ingredients listed bullet style in a sidebar. Measurements are given in US standard only. Special tools and ingredients are also listed, along with yields and cooking directions. Most of the ingredients are easily sourced at any moderately well stocked grocery store but some will need to be acquired at an Asian specialty grocer. The book also includes a short author bio, a glossary, and a metric conversion chart, but lacks any index or general ingredients index.

My one small quibble with the book is that the recipes are mostly not photographed. There are some photos, and they're clear and attractive, but they only represent about 5% of the recipes included in the book.  There are a number of fusion cuisine items (Japanese Mexican for example), so for purists, this is a much more general 'everyday' cookbook.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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