Easy Japanese Cookbook by Emi Kazuko – review

Easy JapaneseThis isn’t just a large format volume, it’s a seriously large format complete with a CD of traditional Japanese music to listen to while you are either cooking or sitting cross-legged in agony at your coffee table pretending to be eating at a tea house in Nagoya.

Easy Japanese Cookbook is not only seriously large it’s seriously beautiful, with huge colour pictures by William Lingwood. The text is clear and the recipes easy to follow. Each one has preparation time and cooking time clearly marked. It’s a wire-bound cookbook which gives the advantage of staying open on the counter. No need for bottles of Sake balanced at the corners.

The author, Emi Kazuko, has penned several cookbooks (her book Street Cafe Japan was made into a TV series for UK Style) and is no stranger to BBC radio. It’s obvious that she appreciates that Japanese cuisine is new to many of us in the UK. Emi leads us through every aspect from ingredients, cooking methods, equipment and basic recipes to appetizers, main courses, etc. The menu section will tell you all you need to know about putting together an authentic Japanese meal.

Japanese food might not be as familiar to us as, say, Indian or even Thai but just a quick flick through the pages and you’ll see that it is easy. Nothing here takes much hands-on effort. There are a few recipes that demand a few hours marinade time but you don’t have to sit and watch the food as it soaks, do you?

Ginger Pork with Rocket Salad is an old-established and popular dish in Japan. It couldn’t be simpler. It takes 15 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes marinade time and 10 minutes to cook. It won’t break the bank, it’s authentic and it’s a lovely family meal.

Most of us will know the name Sukiyaki. No, not the Japanese pop song released in Japan in 1961 and in the US and UK in 1963 and sung by Kyu Sakamoto, killed in a plane crash in 1985 (Impressed aren’t you?). No, this is the classic dish cooked in a cast iron pan at the table. It’s a delicious combination of beef and vegetables. It couldn’t be easier…your guests will be doing the cooking.

Anyone who wants to try Japanese food at home will find all they need in Easy Japanese Cookbook. It will take away the terror for beginners and supply the more practised with lovely recipes… and some nice music as well.

Easy Japanese Cookbook
Author: Emi Kazuko
Published by: Duncan Baird
Price: £16.99
ISBN 978-1-84483-656-7


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


Read other articles about Japanese food, art and culture here