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Friday, March 07, 2008

Book Review: Japanese Dishes for Wine Lovers

ワインと楽しむ和のレシピ

Japanese Dishes for Wine Lovers
by Machiko Chiba
112 Pages
Kodansha International

While Japanese food has traditionally been paired with saké, and later shochu and beer, only recently has wine begun to catch on as a pairing for Japanese food. Japanese Dishes For Wine Lovers is the perfect primer for people wanting to make simple and modern Japanese dishes at home and enjoy them with a variety of wines.

Machiko Chiba presents fifty-eight delectable and easy-to-follow recipes accompanied by two or three suggested wines and other wine advice for each recipe by J.K. Whelehan and mouthwatering color photographs by Tae Hamamura. Chiba’s recipes are flavorful and yet readily accessible to even the novice home cook.

Most of the recipes are simple enough for a weeknight dinner yet delicious and rich enough to serve at any dinner party. A short appendix explains basic preparation techniques ranging from how to cook rice to how to clean a whole squid. The repertoire of dishes reveals a contemporary and cosmopolitan Japanese cuisine that maintains the traditional spirit of simplicity and natural flavors while absorbing an array of Pan-Asian and Western influences.

Standout recipes include the Shrimp Sautéed With Lemongrass, Pan-Fried Salmon With Lemon, Soy Sauce, And Thyme, and the Beef With White Sesame and Mirin.

Sparkling wines and Germanic white wines have often been the tried-and-true default pairings for Japanese and other Asian cuisines. Whelehan expands on this theme and shows that Japanese flavors can be successfully paired with a both red and white wines, still and sparkling, from a variety of regions and price ranges. His wine advice is authoritative and informative enough for serious wine buffs and yet clear and simple enough for neophytes.

Those interested in expanding their collection of Japanese recipes designed for wine pairing should also check out The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen by Eric Gower.

Japanese Dishes for Wine Lovers: Buy this book from Amazon
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