Sunday, October 25, 2009

Harumi Kurihara :: The Japanese Martha Stewart

I'm not shy about my love for Martha Stewart so when I heard about Harumi Kurihara, I couldn't wait to learn more about her. She is often referred to as Japan's Martha Stewart. She is a self-taught cook from Shimoda, and she specializes in classic Japanese homestyle cooking. She was encouraged by her TV anchorman husband to write a book, so she did, and now has numerous successful cookbooks, a magazine and a cooking and clothing line. Impressive! I got one of her English cookbooks (Everyday Harumi) for my birthday and couldn't wait to try out the recipes. I have been trying out simple Japanese dishes for the past few months so I'm not a total Japanese cooking beginner. In fact, I can probably whip up Japanese food better than I can bust out Vietnamese. FOR SHAME!!

Japanese cooking is very simple. Once you stock your kitchen with a few key ingredients (rice vinegar, soy sauce, sake, miso and mirin) you can make tons of healthy, tasty and easy dishes. There is a great website called Just Hungry that teaches awesome Japanese recipes and the stories behind them. Some of my favorites from Just Hungry have been the Soy Sauce and Butter New Potatoes (addicting!) and the Miso Pork. I have been a little frustrated trying to make recipes out of my American cookbooks because I can't find the right ingredients here in Japan but now that I am experimenting with Harumi's book, things have gotten much easier.

My first stab at her book was the Ginger Pork over a bed of Bok Choy and a side of Sesame Dressed Green Beans. The pork was as simple as mixing 4 ingredients for the marinade, dipping the sliced pork in the marinade and pan frying it for 2 minutes. You let the pork rest on the stir fried bok choy, and the juices from the pork dress the veggies. SO YUM. Everything turned out great and I have been eating leftovers for days. If you're in a cooking rut, try cooking some Japanese dishes! They're very well balanced and it's fun to try something new in the kitchen.

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