Japanese Cuisine: A Culinary Tour, by John D. Keys, brings the authentic domestic cuisine of Japan within reach of the average American cook, and is available for checkout at the Colts Neck Library’s cookbook collection. It contains all kinds of recipes from throughout Japan, every one of them distinctive and truly authentic. The author was able to participate in a culinary tour of Japan, offering us his treasured recipe findings.
The recipes contained within this book are simple and standardized to provide four average servings and call for available ingredients in most supermarkets. Each of the 42 recipes in the book represents a special time-honored dish for which a particular region of Japan is noted. The thumbnail sketches of the region, with spot maps and the accompanying recipes, give the reader of this book a genuine culinary tour of Japan.
The latter half of the book is headed “Modern Tokyo Cuisine” and is devoted to recipes that are basically Japanese, but show strong traces of Chinese, European, and American influences assimilated to produce a unique and varied repertoire not quite Japanese, not quiet anything else, but representing, instead, the synthesis of a new and delightful cuisine that is ideally suited to the American table. In addition, there is an eminently useful 20-page glossary packed with information about Japanese foodstuffs, their preparation, and their use.
All in all, this is a nice collection of recipes for anyone who relishes the simple, fresh, and beautifully presented foods of Japan, and is the ideal introduction for those who have yet to taste these delights. Here’s a nice chicken dish that is as delicious as it is easy to prepare, called “Kashiwa no shirataki” in Japanese:
YOUNG CHICKEN SIMMERED IN BROTH WITH ORANGE-FLAVORED SOY SAUCE
1 very young chicken
1 pound Japanese white radish
1 head Chinese cabbage
½ pound fresh mushrooms
¾ cup orange juice
¾ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
3 scallions, chopped
Grate enough of the radish to yield ¼ cup. Add this to the orange juice and soy sauce. Mix well and set aside.
From the giblets, neck, and back of the chicken, prepare a chicken stock with 3 quarts water. Strain the stock. Cut up the rest of the chicken, bones and all, into bite-size pieces. Cut the radish into slices ½ inch thick. Slice the Chinese cabbage. Cut the mushrooms in half.
Add the cut-up chicken to the simmering chicken stock. Cover and simmer gently, skimming off the fat as it forms, for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is extremely tender and separates easily from the bone. Add the sliced radish, Chinese cabbage, and mushrooms during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Bring the pan to the center of the dining table. Serve the dish community-style, along with small individual saucers of the prepared radish-orange sauce, one of chopped scallion, and one of salt.
Recipe from: Japanese Cuisine, A Culinary Tour, page 19, by John D. Keys. Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Company. 1966.