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Jul 19, 2013 01:43 AM

Japanese Cookbooks

What are your go-to Japanese cookbooks? I want to start cooking Japanese food. I love it and there is Japanese store not too far from me. l have been too intimidated by the challenge in the past, but it's time to take the plunge! My skill level may not be great, but I am willing to put in the effort. So cookbooks with some more challenging recipes are ok too. Thanks!

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  1. Have you seen the blog just bento and just hungry? The blogger Makiko Itoh has just done a japanese cooking 101 masterclass earlier this year. It's a very good introduction to Japanese cooking.

    There is also a Bento 101 too. If you are interested.

    Both blogs have lots of recipes for Japanese food. And since Makiko lives outside of Japan, she adapts her recipes to ingredients more available overseas. Sometimes she reposts articles she wrote for a Japanese newspaper. Those are the ones with very unusal ingredients.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lilham

      That's a great site. Thanks so much for introducing me to it-a step-by-step with pictures is going to be very helpful!

      1. re: lilham

        Thanks very much Big Sal and Gio for the cookbook recommendations. I have put them ALL on my Amazon wish list. Word to the wise, never shop for cookbooks when hungry!

      2. Shizuo Tsuji's "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art" is a comprehensive guide to traditional Japanese cooking that will give you an introduction to the basic cooking methods (i.e. steaming, simmering, deep frying and grilling). This is my sentimental favorite. There are not a lot of pictures, but there are drawings/diagrams, and the recipes are well written.

        Here's a link to our cookbook of the month ( where we cooked from "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art" as well as Elizabeth Andoh's "Washoku." Andoh's books (she has several) are also well written. Please add your reviews if you cook from either book.

        Again, Tsuji's book will focus on traditional/classic Japanese food. This will not include yoshoku (omuraisu, korokke, cream stew, Japanese style potato salad, hayashi rice, etc).

        I also agree with lilham that Maki Itoh's blogs are a good resource. Additionally, Cooking with Dog (YouTube) is a great resource and everything I've made so far has been very good.

        Good luck!

        1. Along with the suberb cookbooks Big Sal recommended I'll add any book written by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat. I have their "Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals" and find their style of writing to be clear, concise and easy to follow, their recipes quite delicious. Chef Ono is a very well known LA and NYC chef while Salat is a food journalist and restaurant owner. Their other books are:

          >Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More from the Streets and Kitchens of Tokyo and Beyond

          >The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables

          Another book to consider is "Takashi's Noodles"
          by Takashi Yagihashi and Harris Salat. It presents Japanese comfort food in the same well written style as Salat's other books.

          1. My go-to Japanese cookbooks are from Japanese Buddhist Churches. I live in Northern California, during the summer months, most of the (Japanese) Buddhist Temples have an Obon Festival or Obon Bazaar. They are cultural events (dancing to honor one's ancestors), that have food, games, and arts and crafts for sale. I have purchased 4 different cookbooks from the Obon Festivals I have attended.

            I like those cookbooks because they use locally available ingredients and the cooking is home style.

            My favorite reference books are: Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh and Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji.
            Both of those books cover: history, ingredients, techniques, recipes and suggested menus.