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I felt so decieved when I recieved this book. The blurb claims that it shares the secrets of Yo! I was hoping to be able to recreate the yo! experience at home.... sushi, gyoza, the chicken salad, mochi. Reassured by the fact the author is such a respected figure in the world of japanese cooking.
At first, I thought I was onto a winner. I rushed to the local asian supermarket gleefully, I planned on making the Spicy chicken salad followed by some sushi hand rolls. The list of ingredients was exhastive, I spent over £40 on things, thinking I'd use them all the time, making my favourite things.
When I got into the kitchen, I started preparing things. Firstly the salad dressing, and the marinade for the chicken. I thought it all looked a bit strange but persevered in the hope that eveyrthing would come together once the chicken had cooked. BOY I WAS MISTAKEN.... the resulting chicken salad was inedible.... it had a smell that was alien to me, kind of a dirty spicy smell... imagine the smell of stale grease mixed with chilli powder, that was what I had. Needless to say it all went in the bin
After this I made the sushi, again, nothing like what I buy in the Yo! shop. I realise that recipe books for these chains never give the EXACT recipe that they serve. Obviously they'd be out of business if this were the case. However I expect that the recipe will atleasrt yield something remotely analogous that I can eat.
I've enjoyed visiting this Japanese sushi purveyor over the years and was initially sceptical when my partner suggested buying this book.
It is a Japanese cookbook with around 188 pages of recipes, it retails for £15.99 but is generally available for a lot less on Amazon, Play and other online retailers. We bought our copy from The Bookpeople for £5.99 which has proved incredibly good value.
The book is well presented with a stylish minimalist cover which looks pretty good. The book has a great number of excellent, stylish photographs which look better on the page than when cooked (Well they do the way I cook them anyway!!). The book is presented in a nice glossy book with simple pictures, simple instructions and really does break through some of the intimidatingly intricate details i've always associated with Japanese cooking.
The book has over 120 recipes from Sushi to rice dishes and includes step by step instructions which are simple and written in plain english which makes a huge difference.
Chapters include, The Basics which talk you through the basics of Japanese Food, Sauces which are an essential part of Japanese dishes, Novice, which offers easy to make recipes for you to begin with and then Apprentice and Samurai which ratchet up the difficulty levels and offer greater rewards. The sauce section is also excellent as it allows you to create wonderful tasty sauces from a minimum of ingredients which is excellent.
The book is incredibly well presented, it looks great, the instructions for recipes are great as they don't clutter up recipes with personal opinions they simply tell you what to do when, which is much easier to understand. I really like the fact that I can now create a recipe with 5-6 ingredients that tastes and looks incredibly exotic and is easy to make in under 40 minutes. I have only really used the Novice pages yet, but like the fact the difficulty levels are specfiied as I haven't overstretched myself yet and then just given up on the book.
Personal favourite recipes include Japanese Beef Steak with Wasabi Garlic Butter and Salmon Teryaki with Garlic Baby Potatos which are both simple and incredibly tasty. I haven't used the sushi recipes yet its not something I find readily available where I live and therefore it hasn't been practical, however they look great.
Overall its well presented, simple and tasty, much like the restaurants themselves and their food, for anyone who likes Japanese food, or learning about new cuisine this is a winning book really.