I’ve been enjoying Luiz Hara’s unique and delicious cooking for almost a decade. When we first met, Luiz was a fellow food blogger, and I attended several of his themed cooking clubs, and then the supper clubs which superseded them.
Born in Brazil to Brazilian-Japanese parents, Luiz has always brought together influences, ingredients and techniques from both these cuisines, as well classic British and European methods. Although he came to London only to study, while here he fell in love and settled down with his partner instead, embarking on a successful career in banking. Several years ago, he left the world of finance behind and completed a diploma at the Cordon Bleu cooking school in London, followed by a long trip to Japan to learn even more about traditional Japanese cooking.
I was so happy to review his first cookbook, Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way, and am even more excited by this second one, The Japanese Larder: Bringing Japanese Ingredients Into Your Everyday Cooking, published by Jacqui Small (Quarto Books).
Today, Luiz is a successful professional chef, still running hugely popular supper clubs from his North London home, and of course, an author with one successful title already under his belt.
In his latest book, Luiz introduces the reader to a range of Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques, some that are already familiar and others that may not be. Instead of presenting them in classic traditional Japanese recipes, Luiz encourages cooks to experiment and to incorporate the ingredients in their every day cooking, using them to bring a richness and depth of flavour to all manner of dishes. To this end, the book offers an eclectic mix of recipes ranging from miso being used in barbecued caramelised pork ribs, lamb cutlets in spicy green miso and marinated salmon, to matcha tea powder in a matcha and clotted cream rice pudding, as well as a matcha gin sour.
The book starts with an introduction to the key Japanese seasonings, including how to make dashi stock. After that the chapters cover Dried, Fermented and Preserved Japanese Ingredients; Japanese Spices, Condiments and Garnishes; Japanese Rice, Noodles and Tofu; Japanese Fruit and Vegetables; Japanese Teas and Other Beverages; and Sauces, Marinades and Garnishes. Each chapter also starts with an introduction to the key ingredients covered within, making this an excellent resource for learning about Japanese food. At the back you’ll find a list of suppliers in the UK, USA and Australia, plus the Index. All the recipes are clearly written and beautifully illustrated with colourful, inviting photographs.
The only downside of the way the recipes are organised by the Japanese ingredients used in them is that if you’re looking for ideas for a specific kind of dish (for example a snack, a starter or main, a side or dessert), you will need to flick through the whole book or search by ingredient through the Index. That’s not too onerous though, as you’ll no doubt be inspired by ideas throughout the book each time!
I recently attended a supper club that Luiz dedicated to the launch of the book, enjoying a feast including Japanese Mochi Cheesebreads with Sweet Saikyo Miso Caramel; Japanese Curry Popcorn Rice with Coconut, Nuts and Curry Leaves; Onigirazu Rice Sandwiches Soboro Chicken, Fried Egg and Mangetout; Marmite Chicken with Sweet Cucumber and Wakame Pickle; Yasai no Agebitashi – Deep-Fried & Dashi Marinated Vegetables; Maple-Soy Cured Salmon with Greens and Shimeji Mushrooms; Mentaiko Spaghetti in Marinated Spicy Cod Roe and Black Tobiko Caviar; Oven Roasted Beef Picanha in Shoyu Koji, Lime and Garlic Dressing with Daikon Fries, Garlic and Soy Sauce; Edamame Gohan – Rice with Edamame Beans, Mangetout and Spring Onions; and Yuzu Cream, Plums and Pistachio Crumble.
Being able to enjoy twelve delicious recipes from the book was a great insight into the kind of food to expect from this cookery book, and a great incentive to get cooking!
I can’t wait to make some of these and the many other tempting recipes in the book myself. In the meantime, read on to enter the giveaway and stay tuned to enjoy three delicious recipes we’ll be publishing soon.
We have three recipes from the book to share:
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of The Japanese Larder by Luiz Hara. Published by Jacqui Small (Quarto Books), RRP £26.