Finally—a book on nabe in English. Chef Tadashi Ono of Matsuri restaurant in New York and journalist-blogger Harris Salat of the Japanese Food Report have teamed up for the definitive guide to Japan’s quintessential comfort food.
The first chapter deconstructs the basic parts of a good nabe: broth and dashi; foundational ingredients like Napa cabbage,daikon, Japanese mushrooms and tofu; seasonings such as miso; and yakumi (condiments) like ponzu and yuzu kosho. There are helpful suggestions on how to incorporate shime, the rice or noodles added to the hotpot as the traditional end of the meal.
Recipes include classics like mizutaki (chicken and vegetables), yudofu (tofu) and the sumo wrestler’s staple,chanko nabe. Readers in Japan who want to try the book’s regional dishes are fortunate to have access to esoteric ingredients like ishiri fish sauce from the Noto peninsula or the grilled rice “logs” of Akita (kiritampo).Japanese Hot Pots is so easy to follow that you may soon find nabe becoming a regular part of your repertoire. And vegetarians, don’t despair—there are plenty of meatless recipes to keep you well fed through the winter.
By Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat
Ten Speed Press, 2009, 150pp, ¥2,406
This review first appeared in Metropolis magazine: