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Dashi and Umami: The heart of Japanese cuisine Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Cross Media; 1st edition (1 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897701934
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897701935
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 2.2 x 28.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 617,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Umami, as part of dashi, is essential to Japanese cuisine. It is umami that maintains the balance between salty, sweet, sour and bitter; in short, you could call it the origin of 'deliciousness'. - Nobu Matsuhisa Umami is a subject close to my heart. (It) actually exists naturally in many foods familiar to Westerners... In the Fat Duck, I like to use umami-rich Japanese ingredients in more Western style preparation in order to get that umami hit. - Hester Blumenthal Umami should be thought of as a vital tool when creating recipes, incorporated into meat juice and fermented fish sauces, and in the form of cheese to give character to a dish. To 'umamise' a dish such as roast chicken, serve with a Parmesan fondue. - Pascal Barbot" --Foreword, Dashi and Umami

About the Author

Umami is a subject close to my heart. (It) actually exists naturally in many foods familiar to Westerners... In The Fat Duck, I like to use umami-rich Japanese ingredients in more Western style preparation in order to get that umami hit. Heston Blumenthal
Umami should be thought of as a vital tool when creating recipes, incorporated into meat juice and fermented fish sauces, and in the form of cheese to give character to a dish. To umamise a dish such as roast chicken, serve with a Parmesan fondue. Pascal Barbot Umami, as part of dashi, is essential to Japanese cuisine. It is umami that maintains the balance between salty, sweet, sour and bitter; in short, you could call it the origin of deliciousness . Nobu Matsuhisa

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jeff S Jones on 8 Jan. 2010
This is a great cook book to better understand Dashi and Umami. There are about 24 seasonal recipies, 6 - 8 for each season, from four of the top restaurants in Japan. The recipes are pretty technical, I cook alot and cook complex stuff, I am not sure I will follow these recipies, but they do give inspiration... The background on Dashi and umami adds a lot more depth to the book. It's a bit overstated to put Heston's name on the title, he writes 3-4 paragraphs with no recipes. I am glad the publisher did as it caught my eye, and I really like the book, but it is not a Heston book so it is misleading. Overal a great technical book, beuatiful pictures, with an interesting scientific and historical look at dashi and umami.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neil Drysdale on 24 Sept. 2011
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Just to warn you it has nothing to do with Hesten Blumenthal

Very good book going into great detail on the different dashi stocks and umami favours

would recommend this book to pro chefs but may be too much for beginners.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
an in depht look into umaminess and dashi 26 Sept. 2009
By Iñigo Aguirre Polo - Published on Amazon.com
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I absolutely (please excuse my spelling, i'm spanish) loved this book, not only the content, the book in itself is a beautyful object, printed with care, and the pictures are incredibly beautyful.
The 1st part has 4 different subchapters where 4 chefs of great japanese restaurants explain how they make dashi and produce recepies with dashi for each of the 4 seasons of the year.
after that there is a comprehensive explanation on each of the ingredients used for dashi and on umami's taste perception.

to make a long story short, beautiful and perfect in content. and for a passionate lover of japanese cuisine.

hope you find this interesting
regards,
[...]
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A hidden facet of Japanese cuisine 2 Oct. 2009
By Neal Oshima - Published on Amazon.com
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I lived in Japan for a few years in the early sixties. I was a kid and my father was teaching at a university there. Food then was very traditional, few western foods were available, even in Tokyo. What is now thought of as Japanese food: tempura, sukiyaki and sashimi, were rarely prepared in home kitchens and were only found in restaurants. In homes, in ryokan and country-side restaurants the cuisine was very different, more seasonal and with less meat. Dishes had few ingredients but very specific, painstaking cooking techniques. Dashi and Umami nearly perfectly describes this cuisine and, in the process, strips Japanese food to its bare essentials. If the heart of French cuisine is its sauces and the basis of chinese food lies in the principal of ying-yang, dashi, the ubiquitous kelp broth, is the essence of Japanese cooking.
This wonderful book is a great corollary for its subject: simple yet deep. Graphically it is warm, yet minimal. The beautiful photographs tell exactly what you need to know but no more. Though it has only thirty-odd recipes, they are organized seasonally, precisely chosen to illustrate the concept of umami. A couple of the recipes I cook often. They remind me of my grandmother, who ran a restaurant in the Japanese ghetto of downtown Honolulu before WW2. She was from Wakayama and cooked in a regional, provincial style. Like this book, her food was odd, slightly exotic but ultimately hearty, satisfying and full of umami.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Most Accurate Information on Umami in English 28 Oct. 2009
By Yukari Sakamoto - Published on Amazon.com
The book traces the discovery of umami by professor Kikunae Ikeda and the creation of monosodium glutamate, but that is only a tiny bit of Dashi and Umami.

This book includes the contributions of many star chefs, including Takashi Tamura (of Tsukiji Tamura), Eiichi Takahashi (Hyotei), Kunio Tokuoka (Kyoto Kitcho) and Yoshihiro Murata (Kikunoi). Photos of their kaiseki cuisine make this a handsome coffee table book, and students of Japanese cuisine will be impressed with the depth of information on umami-rich ingredients like kombu, katsuobushi, niboshi, and shiitake, all of which are essential in making dashi. Even water around the world is ranked from soft to hard--a hot topic for kaiseki chefs who have traveled the globe.

Umami has been covered in many other books, and not always well, but this work captures the essence and explains it without missing any details. The tutorials on dashi may change the way you make this staple at home. The end of the book includes simple home recipes that are easy to incorporate into your repertoire.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Superb item - for collectors and fanatics! 22 Jun. 2013
By FoodCrafters - Published on Amazon.com
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Wow.

As of today, the cheapest price for this book is 289 USD. And honestly... I can understand the demand for it! This book is superb, both in content and in form. Anything but a practical Japanese cookbook, this is the most serious reference about umami you will find. For anyone who's been to Japan and eaten the real thing, vivid memories of tasty, succulent, juicy, intense, and flavourful sauces and soups are pavlovian reflexes to the words "japanese food" - and the reason of this is dashi.

Just like the core of french cooking are sauces and stocks, the heart of Japanese food is dashi - a basic bouillon made with water, konbu seaweed, and bonito flakes. This book goes into the heart of how to make dashi, and how much variation there can be with such a simple recipe! This books recalls traditional japanese chefs anecdotes, histories and ideas around dashi (and how one chef exclusively uses water from Kyoto transported to his restaurant in Tokyo just because it's a little different).

This is simply a work of art. Just like all things in Japan, details make the difference. Poetry at places and practical advice at others, readers won't find many recipes or secret tricks to make sucessful japanese goodies. But they will discover the depth of Japanese mentality, and learn how the simplest things are the hardest. A wonderful and intemporal gift for someone who loves Japan, its food and its traditions.

A beautiful book with a tangible soul.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
LOVE LOVE LOVE 11 Aug. 2013
By jill - Published on Amazon.com
i think this is a MUST have. so beautiful! useful in the kitchen. beautiful in the living room. bought one for myself and a few for gifts for my favorite friends. total winner!
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