This is the second Hugo Arnold Wagamama book that I have come across, the first being the gorgeous Wagamama – Ways with Noodles. I was impressed by that book and I have an equally good impression of this one. The photographs are almost edible and very stylish. Hugo is a self-confessed greedy man but he has half a dozen books to his name so he knows how to write a bit as well!
The whole Wagamama ethos is about simplicity and quality – quality not only of ingredients but also of presentation. The Wagamama Cookbook has a DVD attached and it leads you painlessly through the preparation of several dishes and their cooking techniques.
Wagamama isn’t just about noodles, although they are famed for them. The book introduces us to a whole host of dishes. There is plenty for vegetarians as you would expect, but there’s meat and fish, salads and side dishes, and even desserts.
A good example of a simple but punchy Wagamama recipe is Chicken Chilli Men. It’s soba noodles with chicken, courgette, green pepper, onion, spring onion. It’s the addition of the homemade chilli sauce that elevates this dish into something a bit special. You don’t have to be a master wok wielder to achieve a professional result.
Sake Amiyaki Gohan is grilled salmon with pak choi, ginger, oyster sauce and steamed rice. A bit of grilling and a bit of woking and you have a very smart dinner party dish. It looks very cheffy but it couldn’t be easier. You don’t have to wait long for the food to arrive in the Wagamama restaurants so you can assume that all the recipes here are going to be quick meals to prepare, although you can choose to eat them slowly!
There is a nice selection of exotic and original desserts. I figure that it’s a good idea to have a dessert already done if you are stir-frying for the main course. Lemongrass and Chilli Crème Caramel with Sake and Star Anise fits the bill for me. It’s full of subtle Asian flavour and just right to finish either a Chinese or Japanese meal. Yummy!
The Daily Mail described The Wagamama Cookbook as “A must buy”. If you want no-fuss healthy food then this could well become a favourite.
The Wagamama Cookbook
Author: Hugo Arnold
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018