Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking, written by Masaharu Morimoto, features homestyle favorites of the beloved Japanese cuisine. The cookbook is filled with traditional and yōshoku (western-style) dishes including Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls), Katsu Don (Pork Cutlet and Egg Rice Bowl), Dango Jiru (Japanese Style Chicken and Dumpling Soup), Sakana no Sakamushi (Fish Steamed in Kombu with Spicy Soy Sauce), Buta no Kakuni (Slow-Cooked Pork Belly with Beer-Teriyaki Glaze), Kinoko Zaru Soba (Chilled Soba Noodles with Mushrooms and Daikon), and Kabocha Korokke (Squash Croquettes).
Masaharu Morimoto was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. He moved to the United States and became the executive chef of Nobu in New York City before opening Morimoto in Philadelphia. He now has restaurants around the world and has starred on the Japanese television show Iron Chef and the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. He is also the author of Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Chapters are divided into the following: Dashi, Gohan (Rice), Supu (Soups), Yaku (To Grill, Broil, and Sear), Musu (To Steam), Niru (To Simmer), Itame Ru (To Stir-Fry), Men (Noodles), Ageru (To Fry), Ae Ru (To Dress), and Tsukeru (To Pickle).
Morimoto begins with an insight into his life at home, the start of his career as a chef, and his introduction to homestyle cooking. He discusses the basics of a Japanese meal including the idea of ichiju sansei (“one soup and three dishes”) and how to bring together different cooking methods to complete a meal.
He also gives invaluable cooking tips and techniques. You will learn about helpful specialty tools such as the rice cooker and Otoshibuta (a wooden disc used in simmering), how to properly cook white rice (hakumai), and how to easily create the base of Japanese cuisine- Dashi (plus a recipe for Kombu Dashi for vegetarian dishes).
Measurements are listed in US Customary. The name of each dish is written in Japanese (Romanji) and English. Headnotes provide background information for each recipe along with tips and serving size. The over 150 beautifully-styled color photos are from Evan Sung. Many of the recipes are accompanied by a full page photo of the finished dish. Some of the more complicated recipes like Gyoza (Pork and Cabbage Dumplings), Shumai (Japanese Style Shrimp Dumplings), and Tamagoyaki (Japanese Omelet) also include step-by-step photos.
This book is a great pick for those with an interest in Japanese cuisine. The recipes are prepared with the home cook in mind and many are perfect for weeknight meals. The instructions are well-written and straight forward, particularly for techniques that may be new to the reader. There is a nice assortment of appetizers, soups, meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, and rice, though you won’t find any desserts or beverages. Having a grocery store that features Japanese ingredients will be helpful to locate some items like napa cabbage, sake, gyoza wrappers, kombu, bonito flakes, usukuchi, mirin, tobanjan, umeboshi, shisho, miso, fresh seafood, wakame seaweed, shishito peppers, and pork belly.
Hambagu (Hambāgu/ハンバーグ/Hambāgu Steak) is a part of the Yōshoku cuisine in Japan, Western-style dishes cooked with a Japanese twist. It is a delicious cross between the hamburger patty and individual-sized meatloaf. The meat mixture has a beef base (pork is also often added) with soaked panko breadcrumbs and eggs for binding. After forming into large patties, they are browned on each side, then simmered in a teriyaki sauce seasoned with ketchup and mustard. I served the Hambagu with steamed white rice.
One thing that takes this dish to the next level is the homemade teriyaki sauce (Tare no Teriyaki). It is so much better than store-bought and doesn’t take that much effort. The sauce can be made up to two weeks in advance and refrigerated until needed. I actually made a double batch so it was already on hand to make other dishes like the Supagetti no Teriyaki.
Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking rice wine. I use hon-mirin (true mirin) in recipes calling for mirin. I have been able to find it in Asian food markets near me. Many grocery stores have aji-mirin, but those usually have a lot of additives. Other types of mirin are shio-mirin (includes salt) and shin-mirin (very little alcohol). It is also available on Amazon: Eden Foods Mirin Rice Cooking Wine — 10.5 fl oz.
I also made Miso Shiru (Miso Soup with Tofu), Kinpira (Stir-Fried Parsnip and Carrot), Zaru Udon (Chilled Udon Noodles with Scallions and Ginger), and Supagetti no Teriyaki (Chicken Teriyaki Spaghetti).
Miso Shiru (Miso Soup with Tofu) is a classically simple and flavorful soup. The Dashi base is seasoned with shiro (white) miso, silken tofu, scallions, and wakame seaweed. It was easy to make and the perfect accompaniment to dinner or as a light lunch.
Kinpira is a light vegetable dish with thinly sliced parsnips, carrots, and celery. The vegetables are quickly stir-fried in a lightly sweetened soy sesame mixture until just tender. Claire especially loved this.
Zaru Udon is a light and delicious noodle dish. Chewy udon noodles are served cold topped with scallions, sesame seeds, and ginger. They are paired with a homemade dashi soy dipping sauce. Morimoto also provides step-by-step instructions on how to make your own homemade udon noodles.
Supagetti no Teriyaki was the biggest hit for the kids and Chad. It is also perfect for weeknight dinners. Spaghetti noodles and pieces of chicken are coated in a thickened teriyaki sauce and topped with basil. It is definitely a great way to use up any teriyaki sauce you may have.
Hambagu (Japanese-Style Hamburger with Tangy Sauce)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking
Tare no Teriyaki (Teriyaki Sauce), Makes 1 1/2 cups, only need 1 cup:
1/2 cup Japanese soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/2 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
5 thin round slices peeled ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, very finely sliced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1 pound ground beef (80% lean)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
White pepper to taste
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing hands
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
To make the teriyaki sauce: In a small pot, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, onion, ginger, and garlic. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook for 8 minutes. Strain and discard the solids. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
To make the Hambagu: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly golden on the edges, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, stir together the panic and milk. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Use your hands to mix the cooled onions, beef, salt, nutmeg, and white pepper into the panko mixture for about 1 minute, until slightly sticky. Mix in the egg.
Lightly oil your hands and divide the mixture into 4 equal pieces. Form one piece into a ball and firmly toss back and forth for 30 seconds to 1 minute to release any air pockets. Form into a patty about 4 1/2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Make a gently slopping dent in the center of the patty to keep it from puffing. Repeat with remaining pieces.
Place the large skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Once thoroughly heated, add the patties, making sure they aren’t touching. Cook until dark golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, flip, and cook until golden, another 3 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup teriyaki sauce, ketchup, and mustard. Add to the skillet with the patties and bring to a simmer. Flip the patties occasionally to coat and cook until they are medium to medium-well, 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.