Japanese Vegetarian Cookery Paperback – 24 Jul 1986
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During her four years in Japan Lesley Downer discovered just how varied, delicious and healthy Japanese vegetarian cookery is, with its emphasis on fresh foods simply prepared. lightly cooked to conserve flavour and goodness, and presented with maximum visual appeal. S sampled and collected many recipes - from the finest Zen temple cuisine and restaurant cooking to exquisite food served in the homes of friends. This book is the welcome result of her culinary adventure, and gives us the chance to enjoy the very best of Japanese cooking at home. The recipes are divided into three sections. The first reveals a rich variety of both classic and unorthodox vegetable dishes, from broccoli with golden dressing or mushrooms with tofu and deep-fried walnuts, to steamed spinach buns and marinated turnip and apricot rolls. In the second section she deals with beans, eggs and particularly the wide use in Japanese cuisine of the versatile and nutritious soya bean in its many forms. We are shown how easy it is to make tofu, luxurious yuba, miso and natto - and how to combine them in mouth-watering recipes such as tofu treasure balls. Grains arc the subject of the final section. which shows us how to make that Japanese staple sushi rice (with both white and brown rice), and the non roll, which, with its endless variety of fillings, is the Japanese equivalent of the sandwich. Lesley Downer illuminates the mysterious rituals of Japanese etiquette, and prefaces her recipes with entertaining stories from her life in Japan. With lists of Japanese food suppliers in Australia and the United Kingdom, and an alphabetical explanation of ingredients, authentic utensils and cooking techniques, this is a clear and comprehensive guide to the art of Japanese vegetarian cooking, which will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any adventurous cook.
Top customer reviews
"A Japanese meal has no main course preceded by an hors d'oeuvre and followed by a dessert, and consists not of a heaped plateful of food as in the West, but of tiny portions of various foods, each on its own plate."
Generally you as the cook rush out all at once a soup, a rice dish and another 1 to 7 dishes. There is ritual in eating- its fun trust me- and I had lots of joy assembling a collection of bowls and plates - which is always in fives as the word "go" is lucky. Strangely western marketed Japanese sets are all in fours- eek- "shi" -the Japanese word for four is also the word for death. You shouldn't stick your chopsticks upright in the middle of your rice bowl either as it looks like the incense sticks burned at funerals (honestly folks, I pointedly walk under ladders-I just find the culture buzz FUN!)
So- my favourite dishes from this book so far are (apart from discovering the delightful chewy gooiness of REAL rice cakes- mochi- not those wagon wheel polystyrene things.)
Vegetable pickles- you serve them with every meal- it's just salted veg left overnight which you then rinse and flavour with rice vinegar- but so good (crunchy like pickled red cabbage).
Pumpkin tempura- battered Japanese veg is so yummy- why don't we have chipshops which do this as take aways?
Grilled tofu with sweet miso- bunged under the grill, you spread on egg/miso and extras topping - ooh it really is delicious.
Mock eel- which is a buddhist tofu mix spread ontop of a type of seaweed- nori- all fried up- the nori acts like the eels skin. Now I am not an advocate of fake dead things, but this is truly yum.
rice balls- leftover rice rolled up and dipped in sesame seeds.
stuffed mochi rice cakes in toasted nori were also delicious
Oh, if you need inspiration on cooking- watch Tampopo [DVD]  [US Import]- one single mum's struggle to run an outstanding noodle bar with help from a mysterious trucker who rolls into town.
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