[caption id="attachment_1578" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Just Add Shoyu: A culinary journey of Japanese Canadian cooking (2011)"] [/caption] (What is "shoyu"? It's the Japanese term for soy sauce.) Not only are the images breathtaking, the recipes simple to understand, and the breadth of food dazzling, Just Add Shoyu (2011) is a collaborative project of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. It serves as a food history book and culinary documentary of Japanese Canadian kitchens, including inspiring stories of the issei (first generation) and nisei (second generation), and how they wove their Canadian experience into the Japanese fare served at home. Below is a quick Q&A with Russell Onizuka and Jan Nobuto of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre's Heritage Committee: Q: How many chefs collaborated on the recipes in Just Add Shoyu? A: The recipes were sent in by the [Japanese Canadian] community. A committee of volunteers who were familiar with the cooking helped determine the ones that would be used. These are truly Japanese Canadian recipes that reflect comfort foods made in the home. Q: I was delighted to find the Stories section in the back of the book (page 188), illustrating the experiences of Japanese Canadians over generations. What convinced the JCCC to add this section, or did it start with the Stories and extend into recipes? A: The stories are a key component of this book, as the intention is give a sense of the journey of the early Japanese immigrant through the war years, to resettlement, to the present. The hope is that this book will stimulate conversations about the Japanese Canadian experience among the generations of Japanese Canadians, their families and friends. Q: Japanese cuisine is often considered difficult to make with hard-to-find ingredients. Are these recipes suitable for the Canadian home cook? A: Just Add Shoyu reflects Japanese Canadian cooking and the use of Canadian (available) ingredients that were incorporated into the recipes when more traditional Japanese ingredients could not be found. Q: If someone has never made Japanese cuisine before and is nervous to try, which recipe should they start with? A: All of the recipes are fairly easy though a few may have more steps than others. Try Shoyu Wieners (kids usually love them), Chicken Yakitori or Beef Patty Okazu for meats; Salmon Miso Yaki if you like fish; Nasubi or Broccoli and Meatball Stir-fry for veggies; and Azuki Crescent rolls for a very quick and tasty dessert. Pssst: You could WIN one of 10 copies of Just Add Shoyu - click here to enter! Excerpted recipe (with permission): With spring fever in the air, I thought what better recipe to publish than this wonderful dish serving a wild Canadian specialty: fiddleheads.
Fiddleheads with Sesame Noodles[caption id="attachment_1580" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Fiddleheads with Sesame Noodles - Photography by Vince Noguchi"] [/caption] Ingredients: 1 cup (240 mL) tahini (sesame paste) 1/4 cup (60 mL) light miso 1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro or parsley 1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice 8 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin 2 tsp (10 mL) chili paste or 1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) cayenne hot pepper 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) water 8 cups (1.9 L) fiddleheads (or asparagus) 1/2 lb (227 g) of any thin, flat, white noodle 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil 1/4 cup (60 mL) mirin 2 tbsp (30 mL) saké 2 tbsp (30 mL) shoyu Method In blender, purée tahini, miso, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and chili paste. Chop cleaned fiddleheads into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces, reserving a few longer ones for garnish. Blanch fiddleheads and cool in cold water. Boil noodles in salted water until al denté. Drain and toss with olive oil, mirin, saké, and shoyu. Add puréed mixture and half the drained fiddleheads to noodles and mix together. Serve with rest of fiddleheads placed over dressed noodles. Preparation Time: 1 hour Servings: 6 P.S. - The acclaimed Chef Masaki Hashimoto (Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto) from Toronto had this to say about Just Add Shoyu in January: 書籍「Just Add Shoyu」の発行を心よりお喜び致します。 海外に於ける日系社会の歴史を料理と言う形で受け継がれながら 長い長い年月を経て今の世代に息づいている過程を垣間みて 改めて、頭の下がる思いが致します。 日本料理を生涯の仕事として携わっておりますと海外に於ける日本料理の歴史に大変興味を覚えます。 先人の方々の知恵と工夫によって現在の料理形態が確立され、 時代の移り変わりによる調理道具や嗜好、食材の変化に対応しながら生み出された郷愁の料理だと思います。 「Just Add Shoyu」は日系カナダ人の歩まれた年輪を料理に依って 表現した貴重な一冊の歴史本であると共に、私の日本料理文献の 一つとして大事に取って置きたい資料でもあります。 懐石遊膳橋本 橋本正樹 Translation: The cookbook “Just add Shoyu” brings great pleasure to my heart. It displays the rich history of cooking for the Japanese Canadian community. The journey through countless generations to its current carries with it an immense amount of admiration to where it stands today. I have always taken interest to how Japanese cuisine strived within foreign nations as I have spent my life cooking it. Through this book, I can feel each predecessor’s wisdom and skill in overcoming each passing era of cooking and changing ingredients. To conclude, this book has passed on the nostalgic memory of cooking for future generations. “Just add Shoyu” I believe is what embraces cooking for the Japanese Canadians from the past to its present generation. This book expressing the precious history of its cultural cuisine, touched my heart of how powerful cooking can be to tie together our culture. Without a doubt, I will keep this book close, as an important resource to where my roots lie, right here in Canada. I wish there was a Canadian cookbook that documented my cultural culinary roots, as varied as they are. What are your roots, and does the food you tend to cook reflect those roots?