Cooking Japanese: tips, techniques, more


March 14, 2007|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun reporter

Nobu West

By Nobu Matsuhisa and Mark Edwards

Japanese Light

By Kimiko Barber

DK Publishing / 2007 / $25

You can tell Kimiko Barber is a seasoned cooking teacher: This more approachable book is loaded with step-by-step photos, tips and primers on etiquette, menus and presenting a Japanese meal.

Cooks who are just venturing into Japanese cuisine will find plenty of doable recipes and answers to many questions.

There are also Western influences here. Bacon, for example, shows up as an accent for fava beans, in a pot-au-feu, and in a quick, delicious "sobaghetti" with soba noodles and greens.

As reader-friendly as this book is, though, it's hard to know how "light" the recipes really are without nutritional information. The sobaghetti, for example, called for four slices of bacon to be crisped in 1/4 cup of olive oil - for two people. I made it a second time with more greens and half the oil, and thought it even better.

Monkfish With Fennel Salad

Serves 2


6 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons mirin

1 teaspoon store-bought chili-garlic sauce


5 baby or 3 regular fennel bulbs

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

4 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)

5 ounces boneless, skinless monkfish fillet

3 tablespoons flour

6 whole baby plum tomatoes or 2 sliced regular plum tomatoes

Combine ingredients for Spicy-Sour Sauce in a bowl and set aside.

Thinly slice fennel and place slices in a nonreactive bowl. Season with salt and pepper, add orange juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss well. Slice the monkfish into medallions about 1/2 inch thick. Pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Dust the monkfish with the flour and shake off any excess. Cook the fish medallions for 2 minutes on each side and drain on a metal rack.

Drain any excess liquid from the fennel and place the slices in a neat pile on a serving dish. Arrange the monkfish around the fennel and decorate with tomatoes. Serve with sauce.

Adapted from "Nobu West"

Per serving: 531 calories, 21 grams protein, 30 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 14 grams fiber, 23 milligrams cholesterol, 898 milligrams sodium

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