If you are familiar with Sachie Nomuras TV series, you will know how vibrant, bubbly and enthusiastic she is. This energy is mirrored in her book simply named Sachie’s Kitchen. Her book is as much a journey into her personal Japanese culture and traditions as it is a recipe book.
Never formally trained as a chef, Sachie learnt by osmosis from some of Auckland’s leading Japanese chefs. Born and bred in Hekinan city, Japan she had been in the family kitchen since she was about 7 helping her mother prepare food for the family. When she was 17 she moved to New Zealand to study English and work, it was here she lived with and was home schooled by Japanese chefs working in Auckland who after long shifts at work didn’t want to cook when they returned home and so under their guidance Sachie prepared their meals.
When I think of Japanese food I think of intricate delicate dishes, which I imagine hours of work has gone into by a highly skilled Japanese chef. Whilst there are more complicated, multi-ingredient recipes in this book there are also simple and quick recipes. Many of the dishes are a fusion of traditional Japanese recipes and modern cooking styles. Of course now there are so many well-stocked large Asian supermarkets in New Zealand, but if a recipe calls for an ingredient you may not be able to get your hands on, there are ideas for substitutes.
There are familiar popular recipes such as sakatori skewers, gyoza, teryaki chicken and of course sushi. The instructions are clear and concise and often paired with photo steps of “how to”. Ever made your own udon noodles? Me neither! The recipe involves making dough and putting it in a plastic bag and stomping on it with your feet – a fun recipe to try with the kids as Sachie suggests.
This book makes for a wonderful read and would be a perfect gift for a lover of Asian food and Japanese culture. There are recipes suited to all levels of cooking expertise and lots of fun and colourful dishes.
Reviewed by Victoria Russell
© Sachie’s Kitchen by Sachie Nomura
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand