Japanese Cooking with Manga: Easy Recipes Your Friends Will Love, written by The Gourmand Gohan Team (Alexis Aldeguer, Maiko-san, Ilaria Mauro), features 59 favorite Japanese recipes perfect for the home cook. Highlights include Broccoli Miso Soup, Uramaki “Inside-Out” California Rolls, Soy Braised Vegetables (Kinpira Gobo), Japanese Potato Croquettes, Japanese Ginger Pork (Buta no Shogayaki), Crispy Fried Prawns (Ebifurai), and Mushi-pan Banana Muffins. I will also be sharing their recipe for Dashimaki Tamago (Japanese Omelette Rolls) following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Tuttle Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
The Gourmand Gohan Team
Alexis Aldeguer was born in Elx (Valencia, Spain) and is currently based in Barcelona’s la Vila de Gràcia. With a passion for comic books, he provided the illustrations for Japanese Cooking with Manga. He is also “an apprentice in the art of making Paella, a regular consumer of war documentaries, and loves arguing for entertainment purposes.”
Maiko-san moved to Barcelona, started working in a Japanese restaurant, and became friends with Alexis and Ilaria. She is a “connoisseur of each and every Asian restaurant in Barcelona and gives away both wisdom and love by cooking for her friends.”
Ilaria Mauro moved to Spain from Brianza in Lombardy. She is a photographer, designer, and “collects patatas bravas and cozy spots where she likes to go eat and chill out.”
Japanese Cooking with Manga
Chapters are divided according to course: Starters & Snacks, Soups & Salads, Sushi, Vegetables & Tofu, Meat & Chicken, Fish & Seafood, Noodles & Rice, and Desserts & Drinks. The contents include a list of the recipes with page numbers for easy reference.
Japanese Cooking with Manga began as a hand-drawn and hand-bound version called “Gourmand Gohan” made by the authors for their friends in Barcelona. It evolved into this paperback, 128 page version filled with delicious recipes and fun manga-like illustrations. Along with the recipes, you will also find guides for essential Japanese ingredients, how to use chopsticks, buy and cut fish for sushi, and an abundance of cultural insights.
While there aren’t any photos, the book is filled with step-by-step illustrations. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Titles are written in English and occasionally romanized Japanese. Each recipe include a headnote with background information, serving size, cooking time, and preparation tips.
This book is a great pick for those interested in the basics of Japanese cuisine. It is especially perfect for beginners with many of the recipes taking 30 minutes or less. Having access to a grocery store with Japanese/East Asian items will be helpful for locating ingredients such as sake, nori, panko, tofu, miso, mirin, Japanese rice, black sesame seeds, matcha, kuki-cha, rice paper wrappers, umeboshi vinegar, wakame, kombu, fish roe, wasabi paste, and daikon.
Dashimaki Tamago (Japanese Omelette Rolls)
Dashimaki Tamago (だし巻き卵) is a Tamagoyaki (Japanese Omelette Roll) with the addition of dashi, a kombu (kelp) katsuobushi (bonito flake) stock, along with mirin and soy sauce. Thin layers of the seasoned egg are heated in a skillet until barely set, then tightly rolled up and another layer is added and cooked before continuing to roll back and forth with more layers to create a large, multilayered omelette. It is similar in technique to the Korean Gyeran Mari.
If you are new to making Dashimaki Tamago or Tamagoyaki, keep an eye on the heat as you cook the eggs. You may need it at a lower temperature to give yourself more time to roll the egg. You want to roll the layer of egg immediately as it sets while the top is still a little wet. If it is cooked completely and browned, the egg will crack and be more difficult to roll. Same issues will come up if the layer is too thick. Once you get the rolling technique down, the omelette comes together in less than 10 minutes. I served the Dashimaki Tamago sliced with a little grated daikon drizzled with soy sauce on the side along with rice. It is also delicious paired with a salad.
Make sure the pan is well-greased with oil to keep any egg from sticking. The directions in the cookbook are provided for making a large roll in a skillet since Tamagoyaki pans may be difficult to come across. I personally like to use my little 5 inch square well-seasoned cast iron pan.
This recipe uses dashi powder mixed with warm water. It is available in Japanese markets and an increasing amount of larger supermarkets. You can also use freshly made dashi stock if you happen to have any leftover.
Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking rice wine. I use hon-mirin (true mirin) in recipes calling for mirin and have been able to find it in Asian food markets and Whole Foods. Many grocery stores have aji-mirin, but be sure to check the ingredient list for additives. Other types of mirin are shio-mirin (includes salt) and shin-mirin (very little alcohol).
I also made Miso Marinated Mozzarella, Tori Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken Nuggets), Braised Fish with Ginger & Miso, and Matcha Frappuccino.
The Miso Marinated Mozzarella is an easy recipe that just takes a little planning ahead. Fresh balls of mozzarella are coated in a mixture of miso, mirin, and soy sauce, then marinated for two days in the refrigerator. I sliced and served them with a salad, but they would also pair well with fish and meat dishes.
Tori no Karaage is one of my favorite ways to fry chicken. This recipe made the perfect snack. Pieces of chicken are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, garlic, ginger, and onion, then coated in flour and fried until golden. It is an old family recipe of Maiko’s and delicious served with beer or rice.
The Braised Fish with Ginger and Miso is a wonderful way to prepare fish. The authors recommend using mackerel. That was unavailable, so I actually made the recipe with salmon. The results were absolutely delicious. The fish is simmered in a mixture of sake, brown sugar, mirin, miso, and ginger until just cooked through. The fillets and sauce are best served with poached asparagus and rice.
This Matcha Latte comes together with just a handful of ingredients. Sifted matcha powder is mixed with hot water and combined with frothed milk. For a fun touch, top the drink with mini marshmallows.
Dashimaki Tamago (Japanese Omelette Rolls) Recipe
Excerpt from Japanese Cooking with Manga
Dashimaki Tamago (Japanese Omelette Rolls)
- 5 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Dashi stock powder
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon mirin or cooking sherry
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
- Pinch salt
- Vegetable oil for the pan
- Beat the eggs with a whisk or fork in a large bowl.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to obtain a softer texture.
- Mix the dashi powder and water together in a bowl or glass to form dashi stock. Then add it to the eggs along with the mirin or sherry, soy sauce and cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Blend well.
- Heat a skillet with some oil over medium-high heat until smoking hot.
- Scoop about one-sixth of the mixture into the skillet and swirl it around to cover the skillet with a thin layer of egg.
- Cook for about 2 minute or until set. Then roll the omelette up using two spatulas.
- Push the cooked omelette to one side of the skillet, add a little more oil and pour another scoop of the egg mixture into the skillet to form a thin layer. Once it sets, roll the new layer around the previous one to form a bigger roll.
- Repeat for more times or until the egg mixture is all used up, each time rolling the new layer around the old ones. You'll get an XXL omelette! And voilá! You can serve it with rice and soy sauce, or a salad.
- Alternatively, slice the omelette and serve the slices as an appetizer.