Japanese food is not just sushi. It’s not just spinach gomaae or chicken karaage, either. While those things are definitely popular in Japan, they are not what the Japanese eat at home every day. Japanese food – real Japanese food – is about sitting down with family and friends and sharing a meal that features a variety of flavours, textures, and colours. That’s what makes Japanese food healthy, delicious, and beautiful.

Too often I’m reminded that people find Japanese food intimidating to cook. They think that such beautiful and tasty food must be difficult. The fact is, though, that the Japanese approach to food is simple.

This book will introduce you to what real Japanese people eat on a daily basis, and show you how a Japanese home-cook approaches ingredients and prepares a meal. These recipes aren’t meant to be recreated “just so”. Follow them faithfully at first, but once you’re comfortable with the techniques they introduce, feel free to improvise, creating dishes to your own taste using locally and seasonally available ingredients. That’s how the Japanese cook.

And it doesn’t taste too shabby, either.