August 16, 2012

Reader's Nook Reviews: Hiroko's American Kitchen


So Hiroko's American Kitchen is written in sections, using a type of sauce as a base. So one sauce will then include recipes using that particular sauce. All the sauces are pretty simple to make and don't require too many ingredients. I like this method as it gives you the chance to make one sauce and create a whole weeks worth of menus around it. Basically it includes 6 basic sauces with 125 recipes centered around them. There were a lot of tasty sounding recipes but I settled on the BBC Sauce section. Being from Texas I love BBC sauce so to get a chance to put a new spin on it, well i couldn't pass that up. So below you will find the recipe for the BBC sauce I'll be using in the Vegetable Fried Rice recipe.

The Sauce:
BBC Sauce
Makes 2 Cups
1 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
1/2 cup sake (rice wine)
1/2 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
1/4 cup sugar
2 scallions
2 skatogarashi or 1 1/s tsp red pepper flakes

Place the mirin and sake in a small pot over medium heat, and bring it to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and scallions cooking it for 8 minutes. Remove the pot and let it cool. Discard the scallions and add the chile peppers. Refrigerate the sauce in a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. It will keep up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

So I wanted to keep it simple because I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to cooking anything other than Tex-Mex. So I decided to try the Vegetable Fried Rice recipe. This makes for a quick lunch using a bag of frozen veggies. If you're going to try your hand at making Japanese foods then you need to make sure to have rice already made at hand. Most recipes call for rice that is a day old as it has had time to "set-up" and won't get mushy when you use it. You can serve this with some miso soup or use it as a side with your main protein.

The Recipe:
Vegetable Fried Rice
Makes 2 to 4 servings
2 scallions
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs with a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon finely julienned ginger
5 cups day old cooked rice
1 1/3 cups frozen veggie mix
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of the BBC Sauce

The rice tasted fantastic and I will be adding photos when I make this again because sadly, no batteries at the time I made this. The kids wouldn't wait for me to run to the store and get some either. Something about their stomachs grumbling and them being hungry. Also it wasn't too easy getting all the ingredients as we don't have a huge Asian population here in San Antonio. I had to drive around to the little few markets we had here, none of which were Japanese markets. I did eventually find the mirin (sweet cooking wine) and the sake (rice wine). It was a bit more expensive, but for the little amount I used it will definitely last me for a while yet. I have always been interested in Japanese cooking as it always seems fresh and alive to me. Made with tons of veggies it just seems so much healthier than almost all American foods.

Purchase It:
If you'd like to try your hand at making some super easy Japanese American food then head on over to or De Gustibus and buy it for yourself.

*I was provided a free copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.