By Jessie Price
Harumi’s Japanese Cooking, Harumi Kurihara, Penguin Group, Inc.
Harumi Kurihara, known as the “Martha Stewart of Japan”, absolutely beams from the cover of her book, Harumi’s Japanese Cooking, which will be released in paperback this April. If her smile’s not enough to get you interested, the gorgeous food photography will do the trick. She aims to make Japanese cooking accessible for the average home-cook. Her food is thankfully not fussy—no sushi-restaurant-style elaborate presentations—it’s relatively simple, attractive, easy to make and healthful.
While she does call for Japanese ingredients that may be hard to find, she also includes tips on acceptable substitutions. If you’re baffled when you read her recipe for “Hot Tofu with Ponzu Soy Sauce” which calls for yuzu or kabosu juice you’ll be happy to find a helpful tip that explains “yuzu and kabuso are Japanese citrus fruits; yuzu is similar to a lime and kabuso to a lemon, so if you cannot find them use lemons or limes.”
Kurihara’s recipes are not all straightforward traditional Japanese; it seems she’s been bit by the global-fusion-cuisine bug just like everyone else. An Italianate tofu salad with basil and gorgonzola dressing and a “Pot Roast Pork” with a wasabi dressing are perfect examples. She does cover plenty of the popular Japanese classics that Americans will recognize like “Teriyaki Salmon”, some simple sushi and miso soup. With this book in hand you’ll realize that, as Harumi puts it in her introduction, “Japanese food is not frightening, just exciting and delicious!”