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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous cookbook that inspires appreciation
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...
Published on July 6, 2011 by Bundtlust

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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very specialised recipes
The book goes into great detail describing Japanese Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. The author doesn't really like substitute ingredients. The focus is almost exclusively on the food rather than than its cultural setting of this kind of cooking. We also get a lot of side information about Japanese ingredients.

I like all kinds of food; meat, vegetables, and...
Published on November 3, 2010 by Jackal


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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous cookbook that inspires appreciation, July 6, 2011
This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (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.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vegan craving long forgotten food, February 9, 2011
This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (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.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book by Elizabeth Andoh, October 19, 2010
This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (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.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Andoh is an international treasure, October 20, 2010
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This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (Hardcover)
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 [...]
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Treasure by Elizabeth Andoh, November 26, 2010
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This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food and Food for Thought, February 3, 2011
This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (Hardcover)
Kansha is a wonderful book which gives us food and food for thought! I find myself peeling vegetables and thinking - okay, what shall I do with this peel, what would Elizabeth Andoh do? There are so many delicious dishes which are not only wonderful for their authentic Japanese flavor and pedigree but also for their cost and earth conscious appeal. We are such a disposable society - and I find Kansha to be deliciously thrifty! I find myself thinking about tofu showered with herbs and Japanese root vegetable chips - my Super Bowl party will never be the same. In an effort to eat healthier and make a kinder impact on the Earth, I really appreciate this cookbook. Japanese food is already delicious and healthy and to now be able to make delicate vegetarian dishes like I had the pleasure and privilege of tasting in Kyoto - it brings my travels home to my table! These cookbooks from Andoh-san are beautifully photographed, exquisitely researched and well worth the money and please, cook from them. I know that her books are beautiful enough to be displayed on your coffee table, but how impressive will it be to serve your guests "forbidden rice"?!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Kansha" Is An Approach to Your Food As Much As A Cookbook, June 1, 2013
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This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (Hardcover)
I'm not going to say that "Kansha" will change your life, but it may blow open doors for your approach to food and it's preparation. I've only touched on a few of the recipes since receiving it and each one is a mediation on preparation. Sometimes it's doing just enough, sometimes it's more involved. Great lessons for life and for food.

My only complaint about the book is that there is not a photo of each dish. The ones that are there are so beautiful and tempting that I wish I could see how each preparation would ideally look. Ideally, because the photos shown are something to aspire too, since they are way out of reach.

Given the audience for this book---like, people such as myself----it would be great to have a series of companion videos available that cover some of the book's finer points (equipment, techniques for preparation and cooking, etc.) There is a lot of opportunity to cover much of the approach and procedures that may be new for readers exploring this wonderful cuisine.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kansha, January 17, 2013
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Rather than just another list of westernised Japanese recipes, Kansha is an advanced guide to 'real' dishes. There are explanations for why the ingredients are used, what parts of the ingredients work best, how to process them and what tools to use. This book goes above and beyond your average recipe book and is certain to become the go to guide for anyone seeking authentic, vegetarian, Japanese cooking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Vegetarian Cookbook!, September 20, 2012
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This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (Hardcover)
Excellent book to learn vegetarian Japanese cooking. In depth chapters on technique and ingredients. Plenty of helpful color photographs for help on presentation, and all around fun reading. A great followup to Washoku.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book!, July 26, 2013
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This review is from: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (Hardcover)
Elizabeth Andoh makes the flavors and culture of Japan accessible to the West with expert insider knowledge. The recipea are doable, healthy, and delicious.
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Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions
Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions by Elizabeth Andoh (Hardcover - October 19, 2010)
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