Japanese cookery is an age-old cuisine. Practiced by chefs who have taken years just to master the knife skills needed to create some dishes (and even more if you count the vital knowledge needed by those that make use of the deadly fugu fish!) it has always seemed completely out of reach for modern Western home cooks.
Not any more!
With the advent of hugely talented chefs like Nic Watt – chefs prepared to simplify and explain the dishes we all love – suddenly creating healthy, tasty, show-stopping Japanese dishes is within the reach of us all.
Nic Watt, a New Zealander, began his career in Auckland, and quickly became head chef at a busy city restaurant. When he chose to learn more, he decided against the more usual chef-path of heading for Paris or London, instead packing up and moving to Japan. It was his love of seafood which led to this change. After all, seafood is integral to Japanese cookery, and little wonder, then, that seafood turns up throughout this book, in chapters which are concerned with various modes of cooking - searing, curing, rolling, frying, cooking with charcoal - rather than simply a major ingredient.
Watt's career later took him to working at Nobu, then serving high-end Japanese food at his very popular restaurant, Roka, in London, which went on to win many awards. Yet New Zealand has finally lured him home and that is where he now runs his restaurant, Masu, the namesake for this book, with his wife, Kelly.
This beautifully illustrated book (photographs by Babiche Martens) is also a useful one. You will learn how to make a traditional Japanese whitebait sushi omelette, a range of sushi rolls, the best cedar plank roast salmon, tiger prawn and courgette flower tempura, as well as a stunning white miso pavlova (mixing two cuisines). There are even cocktails, base recipes (such as how to cook perfect sushi rice), and a pantry list so everything is on hand when you begin.
There are notes on the tools you will need, and even the etiquette of eating Japanese meals. This of course is vital even if you are eating out in a Japanese restaurant.
Just one more thing: Masu is the name of the small square box once used to ration rice in the feudal era of Japan. These days they are smaller and are used to hold overflowing bowls of sake. This custom symbolises abundance, prosperity, goodwill and giving more than people expect. Knowing this, perhaps best explains the largesse and generosity of this chef and his restaurant in sharing these recipes.
Raise your masu and toast him the Japanese way - Kanpai!
Masu, by Nic Watt, published by Allen & Unwin, 2015, rrp A$55, hardcover.
- reviewed by Sally Hammond
- Salads all year round
- Modernist bread
- Istanbul cult recipes
- Sweet celebrations
- Neil Perry's Good Cooking
- Indian made easy
- Nuts about Nutella
- Summer on fat pig farm
- Indian Harvest
- Love your leftovers
- Starting a restaurant
- The rotten food cookbook
- Social Sweets
- Outback pantry
- MasterChef: the masters at home
- Meatballs the ultimate guide
- My street food kitchen
- Margaret and me
- Keeping it Simple
- King of the Grill
- Movida Solera
- New Thai Food
- Mini Chef
- Scandinavian Baking
- Sarogini's Sri Lanka Food
- Not Quite Nigella
- Riverside recipes
- Phillippa's Home Baking
- Mangia! Mangia! Gatherings
- Merle's Country Show Baking
- Rick Stein's India
- Love Italy
- Hamburger Gourmet
- Silvia's Cucina
- Salt Grill
- Homemade Patisserie
- Seasonal Regional
- Sydney Seafood School Cookbook
- My Greek Island
- Heavenly Fragrance
- Hide & Seek Melbourne
- Hopscotch and Honey Joys
- Mezze to Milk Tart
- SMH Good Pub Food Guide 2012
- How to Operate a Successful Cafe or Restaurant, and How to Operate a Successful Coffee Shop
- Hungry, Food from my Heart
- Hunter Food & Wine
- In the Mix: Great Thermomix recipes
- Shannon Bennett's France
- Possum Pie, Beetroot Beer and Lamingtons
- In the Mix: Great Thermomix recipes
- Insatiable - My Life in the Kitchen
- Lotus, Asian Flavours
- Loukie's Kitchen
- Lucio's Ligurian Kitchen
- Luke Mangan - at home and in the mood
- Manna From Heaven, cooking for the people you love
- Margaret Fulton Christmas
- Mexicali Rose
- Must Eat - Must Cook
- Mumma’s Kitchen
- My Abuela's Table
- SBS Feast magazine
- Off Duty - the world's greatest chefs cook at home
- On A Shoestring
- Queensland Food and Wine Touring Atlas
- One Magic Square
- Paris Cookbook Fair
- Pomegranate Soup
- Pork & Sons
- Real Flavours
- Recipes My Mother Cooked
- Recipes from the Heart
- Secrets of Macarons
- Secrets of the Red Lantern
- Sicilian Food
News FeedFeed Entries
India's best-kept secret - a state of excitement and mystery.
Fells and dales, gingerbread, shaggy sheep and weird standing stones.
Glasgow is shaking off its grey reputation.....
Still find all the food and fun of Central Taiwan ....
From the valleys to the seaside - sharing the surprises of South Wales.
Lovely green Kerala has a friendly welcome for everyone.
Listen to the podcast
Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city, is full of surprises!
Can't get enough of Singapore?
Why does dining on an island always seem so much better?
FIFTY places and foods you may (or may not!) recognise.
The world's BIGGEST war memorial. HINT: it's in Australia.
Meet the courageous Japanese city that is embracing the future.
The Blue Mountains have much to offer - summer or winter.
A cruise around south-east Asia uncovers some fascinating secrets.
So you thought throwing the wedding bouquet was strange....
If you like beer, this could be helpful when you travel.
Pack your Big Yellow Suitcase ...