Shimbo's saucy approach to Japanese food

Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:17am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Japanese-born chef Hiroko Shimbo shows making your own miso sauces and stocks with kelp and dashi is an easy, versatile way to bring her country's flavors to U.S. homes in her third book, "Hiroko's American Kitchen."

She also consults food companies and U.S. restaurants on her country's cuisine, including Iconic Hand Rolls in New York, which opened earlier this year.

Shimbo, who now lives in the Big Apple, spoke to Reuters about her approach to add Japanese flair with American ingredients and how she created her "super" sauce.

Q: Why did you come up with the approach of using sauces and stocks to introduce Japanese flavors for American home cooks?

A: "I came up with two stocks and four sauces in order to save time and simplify the process of my daily Japanese meal preparation in my own home kitchen. By having a batch of stocks and sauces stored in the freezer and refrigerator, I could prepare meals much faster.

"Also, by using these basic stocks and sauces my dishes became consistent flavorwise every time. I love that. And then I started using more readily available American ingredients to cook with my Japanese stocks and sauces. The result was the expansion of Japanese recipes that have the feel and appeal of traditional American cooking."

Q: How did you develop the idea of a super sauce?

A: "There are super sauce-like convenient sauces on the market, which have been produced and sold by Japanese food companies for a long time. These convenience sauce products usually play only one or two roles ... my super sauce plays multiple roles, producing a wide variety of dishes. My super sauce can be the base for hot or cold broth and sauce for Japanese noodles, for ponzu sauce, for tempura dipping sauce, for marinade, for flavoring base for simmering and braising vegetables, meat and fish."   Continued...