Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Review: Fun & Fancy Sushi

Eye candy alert!! This is one
of my favourite bedside table
books, packed with photos
that make you drool and
inspire you to make a
beautiful bento or party
platter. Fun & Fancy Sushi
by Seiko Ogawa & Ine Mizuno
is one of the best idea books
out there in my opinion.

This is not a vegetarian
cookbook, but there are plenty of vegetarian items and recipes, and many more that are easily veganizable. If you want to learn to cook proper sushi rice, form, fill or top some delicious rice triangles or onigiri, or roll some fabulous looking maki sushi, then this book is a must have.

I have the first edition (1999)
of this cookbook, but there is
a more recent edition as well
(2008). I am highlighting the
1999 edition, but they appear
to use most of the same photos.

There are few actual bento
photos in the book, but most
of the food obviously lends
itself to bento presentation.

I think the best part of this
cookbook is its copious array
of rice triangles & onigiri.
There are full colour photos
of every type, along with a
recipe for each.

For example, this page is
packed with mouth-
watering rice shapes, two-
third of which are vegan:
cowpeas, mushrooms,
shiso, chrysanthemum &
gingko nuts.

Or check out this page
with its barley & seaweed,
molasses & soybean flour,
or delicious kurumi-miso
topping, amazing when grilled.

There are just so many
ideas that I never would
have thought to pair with
onigiri, such as tea leaves
& peanuts, bracken, bamboo
& wild mushrooms, even
pumpkin, carrot & onion.

Rice is used a lot in Japan
for party food, in place of
sugary treats, just made to
look extra fancy & cute.
Rice ball cones! And the
tiny bite in the front almost
look like rice petit fours to me.
There are recipes for rice "cakes", wrapped onigiri party favours, rice & nori finger sandwiches, and of course inari-zushi. In addition to the recipes, there are blurbs about the traditions and customs surrounding the preparation and eating of these foods.

This it all looks too complicated? There are many extremely detailed photo directions, like this spread on how to make this party panda sushi:
There are directions for many of the seasonal sushi:
One of the things I really appreciate about this book is the attention to seasonal ingredients used in the different regions of Japan. Each district of the country has its own unique types of traditional onigiri, often using crops specific to that area.

From basics to ultra-fancy party food, this cookbook will help make your sushi impressive and delicious.

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