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Let's Cook Japanese Food!: Everyday Recipes for Home Cooking Paperback – March 1, 2007

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Home-style Japanese cooking is demystified in this refreshing and informative cookbook. After marrying into a Japanese family, the American author was taken under her mother-in-law's wing to learn the ins and outs of Japanese cooking. Here she presents her acquired knowledge in an appealingly designed book with Japanese graphic motifs and color photos. The recipes themselves are a mix of family favorites and restaurant dishes Kaneko learned to recreate at home. Yet readers will see few of the familiar foods available in Japanese restaurants in the U.S. Instead, the book illustrates how to make dense, exotic creations like a sumo wrestler's stew with fish, bacon, chicken and tofu, as well as Yoshuko (fusion) dishes combining Japanese and Western influences, like Beef and Onions in Tomato Gravy over Rice. In the first few pages, Kaneko identifies the basic ingredients and equipment needed. Chapters devoted to Tofu and Eggs; Vegetables, Fish and Shellfish; Meat and Poultry; and Rice Noodles and Dumplings intersperse recipes with boxes that highlight Japanese traditions. Though she includes a labor-intensive Okonomiyaki (a pan-fried dish), Kaneko recognizes the home chef's limits: she readily employs the concept of mottai nai (don't waste) and saves readers time with suggestions for reusing leftovers. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Amy Kaneko spent several years in Tokyo and now lives in San Francisco. Her two children approved the noodle chapter.

Deborah Ory is a New York-based photographer, whose work has been featured in Bon Appétit and Real Simple.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Printing edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811848329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811848329
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. Clemens on November 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
i'm not a novice cook, but just like other reviewers i wish to expand my repertoire of japanese dishes. i admit that i was initially seduced by the cover and the art direction, but the recipes i have tried so far have all tasted great and been happily eaten by my family (my kids are very accustomed to eating a wide variety of foods). there is a helpful section at the beginning which explains essential ingredients and implements, although most avid home cooks will have some version of the necessary tools (for example, a mortar & pestle can stand in for a suribachi).

based on my limited experience with more homestyle Japanese restaurants (not sushi joints), the results i have gotten from these recipes have been great. when i would try to reproduce japanese dishes at home, i would often not know what flavorings to add in order to get the right taste. for example, i never knew dashi was what was missing from all my broths! this book has helped take some of the mystery out of the flavors.

somebody mentioned that there are few vegetarian recipes in this book - the author admits in the notes that she increased the meat portions in order to appeal to the western palate - this is not a pure japanese cookbook, it's written for western schlubs like me! i've simply reduced the portions that she calls for and in some recipes eliminated them with normal vegetarian tricks. i'm not a committed vegetarian but like to minimize the animal products i eat.

i own roughly 40 cookbooks, but right now this is the one i take down most often for dinner ideas. if, like me, you want to learn to cook more Japanese dishes but weren't sure where to start, this is a great primer.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By dewey eyed on April 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after a positive review was written in the Oregonian's Food Day section. I enjoy Japanese food, but haven't had the nerve to try making it at home. Amy Kaneko's descriptive details helped me get over the fear of trying it myself. The meal I chose was simple to prepare, and the ingredients were fairly easy to find. (Note to anyone else about to try this - mirin, or sweet sake, wasn't with the sakes in the wine department, but next to rice vinegars in the Asian food section - it's not a drinking sake.) I was very pleased with the results - a much more complex flavor than the simple preparation would have led me to expect.

The only negatives about this book are that vegetarians will be a little surprised to see how much pork and chicken winds up in the 'vegetable' section of the book, and that there is no dessert section.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yuzu on October 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful cookbook for those who love to eat Japanese food but are a bit intimidated by how complicated preparing it may seem. I've been making simple Japanese dishes for years, but I wanted to add more than just onigiri, sushi and udon into the mix. Amy Kaneko's book provides a good variety of dishes that are not that difficult to prepare and are sure to make your family's tummies satisfied. Even the pickiest of eaters (kids) will find some of Amy's recipes rather tasty.

This cookbook features a glossary to help you figure out what the various Japanese ingredients are, and the author even helps solve your shopping woes by providing alternative ingredients to items you might not be able to find in your market (although most of what's in the book should be found in the Asian food aisle at any major grocer). There's even a list of web sites that sell many of the ingredients used in the recipes, should you be at a complete loss at your local supermarket.

I'll admit that the reason I even picked up a copy of "Let's Cook Japanese Food!" in the book store is its beautiful art direction. The colors and patterns featured on the cover and pages of this book are vibrant and cheerful, and they complement the gorgeous photos very well. Even if you don't feel like cooking, this book is great to thumb through because it's nice to look at. But because Amy's book is filled with stories and helpful information as well, the book is even better.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Joseph on June 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
i love this book. she makes recipes super, super easy... but all the food is also realy great. it's simple, so if you're into difficult recipes, this might not be your book... but if you want great food explained in an easy way, this is your book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K VINE VOICE on August 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
My hubby was born in Tokyo, but came over at 7. He's a great cook, but his repertoire of from-scratch homecooked Japanese food is pretty limited -- miso soup and fried rice. He's taught me those. Everything else Asian that we eat at home comes partially out of a box/bag from the Asian grocery -- curry, mabo tofu, real ramen, and okonomiyake.
I've bought several Japanese homecooking cookbooks, but something was missing from the translation on the **method.** The author of this book explains those missing methods in ways I can understand.
For example, the author explains how to cook kabocha squash. Kabocha is probably in everyone of my Japanese cookbooks. Being used to boiling potatoes for American fare, I've always put way too much liquid in it. I end up with mush. She says 1/2 inch of liquid at the most. I can't wait to try this out when the weather gets cooler.
I love the narratives that come with every recipe.
You don't get a whole lot of recipes in this book, but I think her explanation of *how* to cook Japanese homestyle food is well worth the price.
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