The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo

My Christmas present to myself just arrived! I thought it would take much longer! YAY :)

I am trying to stop myself from continuing collecting cookbooks, I simply don’t have space for more. Browsing through cookingbooks is like meditation for me. I generally know which recipe I can find in which of my books.  I enjoy improvising with food and creating new combinations but sometimes its therapy to follow a recipe and to see the result. When I came across The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo online, I just had to have it and and ordered it. And the postman just delivered it!

Hiroko Shimbo began her career in 1989 in Tokyo by opening Hiroko’s Kitchen, where she introduced the art of Japanese and Asian cooking to the foreign community in Japan. She’s an authority on Japanese cuisine with worldwide recognition. She’s a chef-consultant for the restaurant industry and food companies, a trained sushi chef and a chef- or cooking- instructor in USA and Europe, she helps restaurateurs realize their concept, develops recipes and menus and helps with staff training and instruction manuals and she’s a cookbook author.  She has developed an exclusive line of product imports for one of the largest Japanese food and restaurant equipment importers and distributors.

The Japanese Kitchen, award-winning, best selling cookbook published by Harvard Common Press in 2000 has been acclaimed in the press and by cooking authorities as the standard book for preparing Japanese dishes in a Western kitchen with readily available ingredients using easily mastered techniques. In this book you will find thoroughly explained all you need to know: from shopping for and selecting ingredients, to cooking techniques, to presentation. Healthful, delicious, appealing, and easily prepared Japanese dishes can become part of your cooking repertoire.

Unfortunately Hiroko’s webshop is not yet adopted for European customers (If you, unlike me, live in The States, this book is an absolute bargain!) but Hiroko promised me she will take care of this soon. Also because of this we had to be in touch a couple of times and put some extra effort in (Thank you again, Hiroko!), I was surpised with a package of Handy Disposable Brewing & Infusion Bags, which can also be ordered from her site for  $5.95 (price for USA customers). Great! I will definitely use them, I spend some time last summer picking herbs and teas.

Before discovering this unique product, how did you survive in the kitchen? Well, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but this is one of those products that once discovered will become essential to your culinary life. These are disposable cloth-textured bags that can be used for all brewing and infusing tasks. Any material can be put in these self-closing bags: teas, herbs, spices, poultry bones, or any other material you wish to remove from a liquid after preparation. The bags can brew a strong cup of tea in minutes or, filled with herbs as a bouquet garni, can simmer for hours in a stockpot. Since they are not paper, the bags will not degrade or decompose while in use. Want fresh lemon juice without seeds or pulp? Simply put half a lemon in a bag, seal and squeeze. Make hot mulled wine or infuse flavors such as orange peel, pepper or what ever you like into vodka or any liqueur. After use simply dispose of the bag and its contents. You will find more uses for these handy bags than we already know! Please let Hiroko know how you are using them!

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When you order any of Hiroko’s books directly from her website, she will sign the book for you. I asked her to write me my name and enjoy your meal in English and Japanese and she did, so cool! Also it seems like all communications (by email) were with her personally, which is for me a total added value to my order. I did not even try any of the recipes hyet but I’m already a fan! I promise to keep you updated over here when I try something from the book.
If you’d like to order anything from outside the USA, I recommend you to send an email to Hiroko first to ask her how to proceed. <hiroko@hirokoskitchen.com>. For more info, Hiroko’s blog and to order from the USA, visit Info and to order from the USA; http://www.hirokoskitchen.com
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6 Responses to “The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo”

  1. Happy Holidays and thank you for the great write up on your blog! My husband lived in Amsterdam back 10 years ago for 2 years. I visited the city frequently. I fell in love with the city which is full of history, story, inspiration, maturity and good food. During my visit in the city when I needed Japanese ingredients I remember that I commuted to China town. Please let me know if you know any cooking schools or organization in the city want me to come to do any Japanese cooking teaching or demonstration. I am more than happy to be back to your beautiful city! Hiroko

    • Wow Hiroko, thank you so much for visiting and replying to my blog! I feel honoured!

      I can sure tell you much must have changed since your last visit, there is actually a pretty big Japanese community over here, mostly in The South of Amsterdam, as well as in Amsterdam’s neighbouring town of Amstelveen. We even have a few quality Japanese shops over here, I will do some proper research and then answer your question. I would love to learn to cook from you!!!

  2. I now know what i want for christmas. Japanese food is great.

    • I actually want a teapot for Christmas ;) And Japanese knives… I read Hiroko brings them to all her teaching/cooking trips because of how good they are. I actually never owned a really good knife yet.

  3. I’m glad you bought the book! I love it: she has taught me so much about Japanese home cooking. She has a book about sushi too, though I haven’t purchased that one. She is coming out with another book soon, “a book about Japanese meals made easy for American Kitchen.”

    Ms. Shimbo is really a nice person—she commented on my blog back when I first started. She even prepared and wrote a tongue recipe on her blog when I asked her for the recipe her mother used. I made and posted about that too.

    Yikes! I just noticed my link to her site and blog are missing from my sidebar. I’m late for work but I’ll fix that as soon as I get home!

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