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October 17, 2012

Hiroko’s American Kitchen

Nancy Matsumoto

One of the hallmarks of Japanese culture is its openness to foreign ideas and its ability to improve on them and make them uniquely Japanese. Author, chef-instructor and consultant Hiroko Shimbo’s third cookbook, she explains, is firmly in that tradition. Her idea is to take the best produce and other ingredients of America and cook them Japanese style, using a foundation of two stocks (dashi and kelp) and four “mother sauces” made with basic Japanese products readily available to the home cook, such as soy sauce, mirin and sake. The results are inventive East-West hybrids dishes such as her sake-braised short ribs, or her sashimi tuna with avocado and tomato salad made with white sumiso sauce and yogurt. I especially like the nostalgic Japanese food memories and technique lessons interspersed throughout the book, such as Shimbo’s memory of childhood korokke (potato croquettes) snacks, or “How to cut a stone-hard kabocha squash.”

JapaneseJapanese AmericanSauces