One of my favourite publishers, Tuttle Publishing, just released a new title that will transport you right to Japan through it’s unique kitchen: “Japanese Superfoods” by Yumi Komatsudaira.
I am personally a big fan of the Japanese kitchen (if I have to pick one cuisine for the rest of my life, I would 100% go for Japanese) – as it’s so versatile, creative and often really healthy!
* Japanese Superfoods on Tuttle Publishing
* Japanese Superfoods on Amazon or Bol.com
HEALTHY JAPANESE FOOD RECIPES
WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?
Superfoods are the life-giving ingredients that our bodies need for balance, wellness, healing, and longevity.
From reducing cholesterol, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties and developing an overall healthy gut to even preventing cancer – the list of their benefits goes on and on.
The Japanese are known to face fewer health issues, less obesity, and have longer lifespans than those in other countries, because they have long known the power of these key ingredients.
WHAT ARE JAPANESE SEA VEGETABLES?
Sea vegetables (seaweeds) are algae that live in the sea. Like plants on land, they perform photosynthesis and growby absorbing water and nutrients.
They are divided into three categories based on the leaf color:
- Green Algae (Chlorella and Spirulina)
- Brown Algae (Wakame, Kombu and Hijiki)
- Red Algae (Nori and Dulse)
The colour differences are a result of the depth of the water in which the sea vegetables grow.
DID YOU KNOW? There are approximately 20,000 kinds of sea vegetables in the world, of which 50 are regularly eaten today – most notably brown algae, such as wakame (used in such everyday dishes as miso soup and salad) and kombu (primarily used in dashi broth) in Japan.
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ABOUT THE WRITER
Yumi Komatsudaira is a Japanese recipe developer, food stylist and culinary instructor in New York City public school system, children’s museums and hospitals, and private cooking classes. She is also the president of K-Seaweed, a leading ocean greens provider.
Growing up outside Tokyo in her family’s seaweed shop, Yumi always snacked on the green treats on which her family built their health-based culinary business. Now she is keen to share the secrets of healthy eating that have guided the Japanese for ages.
Yumi is currently based in New York, but travels to Japan often promoting seaweed and its health benefits.
“Even as children we all loved the smooth silky texture of the seaweed. It is the best childhood snack I can remember.”
– Yumi Komatsudaira
ABOUT THE BOOK
In this book, Yumi Komatsudaira combines her extensive expertise with ocean vegetables and Japanese cooking to show you how to create simple, delicious, and super-healthy Japanese-style meals at home.
Besides recipes, the book also goes deeper into the world of Japanese superfoods by showing how to prepare and store kombu, wakame, hijiki and nori; explaining about all the different types of soybean, Japanese vegetables, seasonings, mushrooms, noodles and green tea.
It also displays the variety of ways Japanese rice can be processed, how to make dashi and the perfect bento, which traditional Japanese kitchen utensils can be used and what ‘umami’ exactly is.
DESIGN & ILLUSTRATIONS
There is so much content in this book, both in text as in photos, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Each section of the book is clearly marked with a two-page cover spread and the recipes also cover two pages (one page with the recipe, one with a full-page photo).
The book is divided into the following sections:
- Introduction to the World of Japanese Superfoods
- Superfood Soups & Hot Pots
- Super-Healthy Sushi
- Superfood Seaweed Recipes
- Super Seafood Dishes
- Rice, Noodle and Bread
- Soy, Sesame & Eggs
- Vegetable Recipes
- Healthy Meat Dishes
- Healthy Desserts
There are many personal tips in the book, which are sprinkled throughout the book as little notes.
The photos really jump off the page and most of them are beautifully shot by Yumi herself. With vibrant colours and very Japanese, clean settings, you want to pull up a chair and join her for the meal right away!
Some of the power-packed, super-nutritive dishes from all the different categories in the book that I will definitely try to make at home include:
- [Soups & Hotpots] Mushroom Hot Pot with Shredded Beef & Watercress
- [Sushi] Avocado Hijiki Sushi Rolls
- [Seaweed Recipes] Kombu Water Blueberry Smoothie
- [Seafood Dishes] Crispy Tuna with Green Onions Sauce
- [Rice, Noodles & Bread Dishes] Traditional Udon Noodle Soup
- [Soy, Sesame & Egg Dishes] Tofu Fritters with Edamame
- [Vegetable Dishes] Lotus Root Chips with Aonori Seaweek Sprinkles
- [Meat Dish] Green Onion Beef Rolls
- [Desserts] Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
Some handy cooking tips I got from the book are:
- Dry mushrooms a day or two by placing them in the sun to dehydrate so the flavour intensifies; the vitamin D content increases as well!
- To prevent tofu from getting soggy when storing it (for example in a bento box), squeeze out the broth before packing it.
- To retain the beautiful purple colour of eggplant, sprinkle it with sea salt and cook it quickly over high heat.
- Cover dumpling wrappers with a damp paper towel to keep them moist.
WHICH BOOK TO READ?
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From travel guides and stories to books about business and self-development and from cultural stories to cook books from kitchens around the world… if it looks interesting to us, we’ll test it!
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I love this book as it’s a great all-encompassing manual to good and tasty Japanese cooking. A must-have for anyone looking to get more into the Japanese kitchen, but doesn’t really know where to start, like myself.
While some ingredients might take a bit of effort to buy, there are also enough recipes in the book of which I already have most of the ingredients in my pantry, such as the Matcha Green Tea Almond Cookies you can see above. And I can’t wait to get started trying them out!
Tuttle Publishing has again delivered a high-quality title in their range of Asian cultural (cook)books, and I can highly recommend getting a copy for yourself or a friend that loves to cook with healthy ingredients.
Look & Feel: 8/10
Practical Use: 9/10
Contribution to Self-Development: 8/10
Value for Money: 9/10
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Title: Japanese Superfoods
Subtitle: Learn the Secrets of Healthy Eating and Longevity – the Japanese Way!
Author: Yumi Komatsudaira
Photography: Yumi Komatsudaira (as well as commissioned/stock photos)
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Number of Pages: 256
Buy from: Tuttle Publishing / Amazon / Bol.com
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