Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking by Morimoto Masaharu (森本 正治) takes the often-attempted approach of balance between detail and accessibility. A hardcover with a nice layout and many photographs on glossy paper, this is a well-produced book.
Chef Morimoto begins by discussing some basics regarding the Japanese meal before continuing with the essentials of making dashi and cooking rice. The recipes are organized by category, such as supu (soups), yaku (to grill, broil, and sear), musu (to steam), niru (to simmer), and so forth.
As this is for the home cook and Morimoto is a real chef, he keeps it simple enough but without compromising fundamentals. A lot of hacks on television either over-simplify things or make it more complicated than it needs to be, and Morimoto does neither.
Whilst he doesn’t teach you how to make your own gyoza wrappings, he does have a recipe to make your own udon and broth which works well. Perhaps a little surprisingly, there are no recipes for ramen. Admittedly, making ramen from scratch is probably outside of what most would consider as home cooking and is a subject in itself.
More realistically, my one complaint is that although he does teach you how to make su meshi (sushi rice) and there are recipes for temaki and battera, he doesn’t give a brief treatment on the basics of sushi and sashimi. That would make the book more complete.
In any case, at approximately 250 pages, this is a solid cookbook. If one wants comprehensive treatments on technique, then Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Tsuji Shizuo is more suitable as that is practically a single-volume encyclopedia. This is more like a typical cookbook.
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