Murdoch Books
July 2022
Hard cover, rrp $49.99

Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Maori Murota’s latest cookbook is an incredible, important and essential reference tome that does exactly what it says on the tin, covering Japanese Home Cooking.

Her name should be familiar, her best selling Tokyo Cult Recipes was what we described as “the equivalent of opening a dog-eared copy of your mother’s personal recipe book. Bravo.” With Japanese Home Cooking she takes a step further back towards the basics, describing in simple language (and with step-by-step photos a lot of the time) how to make all your favourite Japanese noodles from scratch, how to ferment and cure vegetables, make gyozas, cook different kinds of rice, prepare dashi and even make your own tofu.

We’re so convenience-addicted and time-poor nowadays that rare is the household (or restaurant, for that matter) which would choose to commit to making noodles and all the rest from the ground up, but the result is indubitably worth the effort.

These are skills worth saving – believe me, I have worked with an abundance of young chefs who have never learnt to make such basics as mayonnaise or ice cream, and probably never will. Having reference material like Maori Murota’s books is IMPORTANT to preserve the knowledge handed down from parent to child, from generation to generation.

Of course, it’s easier and quicker – sometimes even cheaper – and definitely less messy to buy a packet of udon or ramen noodles and tofu, even frozen gyoza. But the taste of the real thing – sans preservatives and cost-cutting cheats, and featuring truly fresh ingredients – will only be outweighed by the pride and satisfaction of having learnt a new skill, and succeeded in making a truly special meal for those we care the most for.

In helping people achieve this, in preserving this knowledge, in giving people options to create dishes they never imagined were possible in their own homes by their own hands, this book and its ilk are invaluable.


Shane Pinnegar
Shane Pinnegar is an author, chef and music/pop culture writer who lives in Western Australia. He has a lovely wife, two rambunctious dogs with no respect for personal space, especially on the sofa or bed, twenty-something koi, a flock of itinerate galahs who visit regularly, and a never-comprehensive-enough rock n' roll record collection.

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