In her own way Hiroko Shimbo wants to start a revolution: She wants you to consider Japanese cuisine as an everyday technique for cooking fresh, nutritious food, not as a once-a-month foray into an exotic culture.
As a cooking teacher, Shimbo found that what her students needed most was information about basic Japanese ingredients: What is it? What's the best way to cook it? Where do you find it? How long is its shelf life? Once they understood why tempura batter is prepared in a particular way or how soy sauce should be treated in cooking, applications to everyday cooking came easily.
The same approach is reflected throughout The Japanese Kitchen, which Ming Tsai praises in the foreword for its "traditionalism and purity of cuisine." Part I of the book concentrates on basic ingredients, from azuki beans to wasabi, while Part II delivers more than 250 recipes -- from appetizers and vegetable dishes to sushi and rice and noodle dishes. Techniques are clearly explained, often with illustrations. (Ginger Curwen)