By Makiko Sano, published April 2013 by Quadrille Publishing. 128 pages, ISBN 1849491755.
Review by Mike Sullivan
One of the best Japanese restaurants in West London can be found in Hammersmith, Suzu is run by Makiko Sano and was opened in 2009. The talented chef behind this restaurant originally had her own catering business before being asked to run the sashimi takeaway counter in Selfridges. Besides her restaurant, catering business and giving sushi lessons she has also taken the time to write a book to reveal some of the secrets behind Japanese food. Sushi Slim came out in 2013, it is a lovely looking book and a quick flick through reveals many beautiful photos.
In her introduction Makiko explains that Japanese food has the ability to boost both slimming and natural beauty, furthermore that it is also the perfect fast food for busy people. As can be gathered from the title of the book there is a focus on becoming slim through eating Japanese cooking, for example a facts and figures page shows how Japanese people tend to only eat until they are 80% full, that the average calorie intake in Japan is considerably lower than in places like America and in a typical week Japanese people will eat around 100 varieties of food in comparison to 30 in the UK. She goes on to explain about the different health benefits of specific ingredients and devise a meal plan.
Before actually going into the specifics of making sushi Makiko provides a very thorough explanation behind basic things such as cooking rice correctly, cutting vegetables, choosing fish and how to cut fish as well as elaborating on key ingredients that can be found in a Japanese kitchen. The rest of the book consists of step by step guides to making different kinds of sushi as well as other simple yet delicious dishes. This is aided by amazing photos which make the instructions easy to follow and also make you hungry. For example, for Hosomaki rolls her simple paragraphs alongside clear photos make it seem very easy to make this kind of sushi, and the following pages which show the different kinds of ingredients that you can put in hosomaki look very delicious.
It is really impressive how even something as complicated looking as California rolls can look easy to make just with a few photos and Makiko’s excellent sentences. As I particularly enjoy California rolls I followed this book’s instructions and although the result wasn’t quite right looking, it was very tasty and I am sure with a little bit more practise I will get it right.
Every typical kind of sushi is explained in this lovely book; however it is just as enjoyable to just look at the photos. They serve as a reminder about not only how Japanese food looks great but also how delicious it is.