Japanese cooking features some of the most enjoyable ingredients on the planet and an izakaya is one of the best places to enjoy traditional Japanese fare. Famous for a small-plate style of serving, izakayas are a wonderful place to share a meal with friends and family.
The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook, written by Wataru Yokota, takes the reader on a journey through 120 classic izakaya dishes that can be cooked from home.
Set up your own personal izakaya
Yokota’s recipes run the gamut from traditional Japanese snacks like steam-fried edamame, to more creative dishes like chikuwa fish cake fritters with aonori seaweed. Each part of the book is split into easy to follow sections:
- Snacks and starters
- Grilled, roasted, baked and sautéed
- Simmered, steamed and smoked
- Final course: rice, noodles and bread
Yokota strikes a good balance between meals that are easy to cook and those that are sure to provide a fun challenge. This snacks and starter section is a great chapter for chefs who’re interested in cooking traditional izakaya fare, while the simmered, steamed and smoked chapter contains more advanced recipes.
Yokota also provides helpful advice on some of the basics of Japanese cooking, like how to make dashi stock, how to cut open a fish from the back and essential ingredients such as lotus root, daikon radish and mirin. But there is deviation from Japanese meals as well, with the author providing recommendations on food from other cultures e.g. sea urchin spaghetti carbonara and a Turkish mackerel sandwich.
My personal favourite recipes from the book are boiled potatoes in nori seaweed butter, fresh squid noodles, pan-fried sea bream with sake-braised clams and broccolini, seasoned Japanese omelette, okonomiyaki stuffed Japanese pancakes, ramen with spicy ground pork dipping sauce and so much more!
Whether you’re a professional cook or simply want to try something new at home, The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook is an excellent book to have in the kitchen.