If you thought that learning to cook Japanese is as easy as scaling a fish and sending it around a conveyor belt and labelling it as sushi, think again.
As with their culture, the Japanese rightly put similar passion and effort into spreading their culinary expertise as they do into projecting their national heritage. To the majority of the Western World, Japanese cooking remains a mystery and it takes teachers like Reiko Hashimoto to impart that knowledge.
Other than the ‘gourmet’ aspect, the anticipated book follows the same structure as her cookery classes and displays a similar frenetic energy and passion, bringing a wide and varied menu to the would-be cook.
Sushi still on the menu
As you would expect, there is a section relating to sushi under the fish and seafood chapter, but this is where the book takes on a whole new tone
Stepping Stones to Japanese expertise in the kitchen
Not only does each section provide a cookery class for each recipe, but you take the lessons learnt in the former section through to the next, building your knowledge as you go.
Beginners under starter’s orders
Soups and starters really set the tone of the cookery book from the outset, taking you through a six-course meal.
With further chapters concentrating on Salads and Side Dishes, the Fish and Seafood as previously mentioned, Meat and Poultry, Rice and Noodles and Tofu you have the real Japanese cooking experience laid out for you, if you cannot get to the cookery class, in person.
Pig out with Japanese meat dishes
There is, throughout the book, a continual reference to pork as one of the staples of Japanese protein (other than Tofu), ranging from marinaded pork bellies in brown sugar and ginger to soups using the versatile ingredient with roughly chopped root vegetables.
For those who only think of Japanese food as raw fish and teryaki, this collection will open your eyes to the versatility of the Japanese kitchen.
Unusual for cook books of this nature, which stumble from recipe to recipe, this publication uses prose that flows throughout.
In addition to this extraordinary book, the London Cooking Club have long been fans of Reiko’s recipes – you can discover more about them and how their past successes in “Demystifying Japanese Cooking”, online.