Reviewed by Antonella Townsend
For the busy person there is nothing more appealing than a one-pot meal, it is the holy grail of culinary laziness, and better yet if the result suggests the cook is imbued with gastronomic flair. In Simply Hot Pots Amy Kimoto-Kahn provides all of the above in a 26 x 21 cm colourful presentation of Asian one-pot meals, including some really stunning desserts.
The first step would be to visit an Asian Market and Spice Shop, there seems to be one on every corner catering for growing Asian palettes. The glossary on page 164, lists ingredients needed for authentic Japanese recipes, such as: Machta powder (full of anti-oxidants), Shoyu, Japanese soy sauce, Mirin a sweet rice wine, and the traditional sake rice wine.
Amy gives the reader an over-view of the range of equipment that could be used (pages 12-17). The donabe, a traditional Japanese earthenware pot, could be replaced by its modern day version, an electric hot pot, or a cast iron casserole pot would be equally as effective. However, a must investment is a pressure cooker, which will produce the best broths.
Broths are the foundation of Asian pot dishes. The best strategy might be to spend one Saturday morning making broths for the month, which is how long most broths will keep in the freezer, although some will keep for three months. Once this is done assembling the hot pot becomes a very easy job. In the section: ‘Broth bases, sauces, and more’, the recipes range from the basic to the exotic. It is here that the authentic flavours are created, from a simple chicken bone broth to a Japanese curry broth. The range of delicious sauces is varied, such as: sesame miso, chilli-cilanto-lime and chiriu sauce.
The anatomy of a good hot pot is a mix of broth, protein, range of vegetables, carbohydrates (rice, noodles) and sauces. So the hot pot becomes a balanced nutritional meal. Amy details so many recipes, from everyday satisfying family meals to wonderful exotic recipes from Japan, Mongolia, Thailand and Malaysia that would be great for entertaining. For these special occasions Amy illustrates how an elegant table should be set to best present a Japanese Nabemono.
Amy Kimoto-Kahn is a graduate of the Miyajima Ramen School in Osaka, Japan and has taught a popular series of Asian-inspired cooking classes for Williams-Sonoma. She is a student of her families’ long history of cooking and continues to share her favourite recipes on her blog, easypeasyjapanesey, also working part-time as a personal chef. When she isn’t cooking, she runs her own marketing firm, Fat Duck Consulting that she founded in 2008.
Simply Hot Pots is a beautiful presentation of interesting and healthy recipes.
Allen & Unwin