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Japanese Dishes For Wine Lovers    by Machiko Chiba & John Whelehan order for
Japanese Dishes For Wine Lovers
by Machiko Chiba
Order:  USA  Can
Kodansha International, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

We love to eat Japanese food, but are usually at a loss over an accompanying wine, so tend to pair it with beer or saké. In Japanese Dishes For Wine Lovers, Machiko Chiba (a longtime teacher of Japanese cuisine) tells us that Japanese cooking 'is not overly spicy, overly sweet, or overly sour. For these reasons, it is extremely well-suited to accompaniment by wine.'

Chiba offers healthy dishes that are easy to prepare, accompanied by John Whelehan's wine recommendations. He offers an introduction to the roots of wine in Japan, and speaks of the fifth taste, 'umami' (savory), important in Japanese cooking and in wine pairing considerations. The recipes themselves are categorized under Vegetables, Meat and Poultry, Fish and Seafood, and Rice and Noodles. Each is presented with a column to the right discussing alternative wines that work well with the dish and its spices. Frequent color photos display elegant, mouthwatering presentations. These recipes can be used to make snacks and appetizers, or can be combined into full meals. The back of the cookbook lists Basic Preparation Techniques for rice, fish and Konbu Dashi Stock.

Here are some I intend to make. I like the combination of ingredients in Broccoli and Cauliflower Crabmeat Salad (a Riesling is recommended for this) and Deep-Fried Eggplant with Sesame Sauce (suggested with a Sparkling Wine). Bite-sized Pepper Steaks (along with my favorite Shiraz) look simple to prepare and appealing to party guests. Yakotori (chicken) is recommended with a Chianti, and Pork and Oyster Rolls with Champagne. A nice variety of fish recipes includes Tofu and Salmon Stuffed Peppers (with a German White wine) and Lobster Dip (lobster with a simple dipping sauce, accompanied by Chardonnay). Next, come many kinds of Sushi - the Scattered Seafood Sushi appeals as do simple Bite-Sized Sushi Appetizers, and neither of them require finicky rolling.

I recommend Japanese Dishes For Wine Lovers to oenophiles who enjoy Japanese food, and to anyone who wants to impress their guests by incorporating easy to prepare Japanese appetizers and side dishes into their dinner and cocktail parties.

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