We have the pleasure of presenting to you 61 Japanese home-cooking recipes. A majority of the dishes introduced in this book have been handed down in Japanese homes from generation to generation.
Japan is surrounded by ocean and blessed with four distinct seasons. The daily avail- ability of fresh fish and seasonal vegetables is reflected in the fundamental charac- teristic of Japanese cooking: food is prepared in a way that will enhance the natural taste and aroma of each ingredient.
Most traditional dishes are made with dashi (stock made from dried kelp/bonito fish) and seasoned with unique Japanese fermented items such as soy sauce, miso (soybean paste), sake (rice wine) and mirin (sweet rice wine). Sometimes a small amount of a strong-tasting vegetable is added to give more zest to a dish, as herbs are used in western cooking. Japanese cooking uses oils and fats very sparingly, which is why it is referred to as a low-calorie cuisine.
A standard Japanese meal consists of rice and miso soup plus one main dish with two or more side dishes. Using a variety of cooking methods, Japanese housewives plan their daily menus so as to attain full nutritive values from at least thirty ingre- dients.
We hope the Japanese dishes introduced here will be tried and enjoyed by all the readers of this book.
The Better Home Association of Japan (A non-profit foundation)