BOOK REVIEW: Donabe by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton

Japanese home cooking is one of a few traditions that I like the most –ingredients, processes of cooking and consuming the meals make sense and bring comfort.  Donabe is the book that opens a new range of possibilities for me — to cook traditional Japanese hot pot meals the way they are supposed to be cooked. The book is written by Naoko Takei Moore, a Japanese home cooking enthusiast and teacher , and Kyle Connaughton, chef and culinary educator.


First of all the book explain all about donabe (Japanese clay pot), the process of creating them (very interesting read), the varieties (some are all-purpose, some are meant only for rice, steam etc), the specifics of choosing one, how to properly use it. There is a very interesting section on Iga, the region donabe is made. Chapter 1 focuses on classic-style donabe dishes. This one was the most interesting to me because classic style donabe is the one I am getting soon. Chapter 2 is about double-lidded rice cooker, so naturally it’s all about rice. Oh, some many amazing and easy recipes! I love rice and I am absolutely excited for the possibilities. Chapter 3 focuses on soups and stews  and seems more challenging to me, what with pork shoulder and steaks and curries. Chapter 4 is all about steaming, interesting and healthy recipes are full of variety from veggies to pork belly and shrimp on tofu, even cakes are included (although only 2). Chapter 5 is about tagine style donabe and again, some recipes look like lots of work, but some like Japanese style bibimbap I can’t wait to make. Chapter 6 is dedicated to donabe smoker. Everything looks delicious, but I am not sure I will ever try any of the recipes from this one. The t shorter chapter on dashi, sauces and condiments finishes the book.

Overall impression: absolutely love this book. The author emphasizes that donabe style meals can be cooked in regular pots as well, and ingredients can be tweaked to suit one’s preference and pantry. All the recipes are wholesome and most are simple enough to put together. Cooking times vary, but again, most do not require hours of prep work and can be thrown together quickly. I am getting a donabe pot soon and I can’t wait until it arrives, it will be especially handy in winter for slow family meals.  Loved the photography. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange to a fair and unbiased review.


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