Monday, February 1, 2016

Praise for Simply Ramen, a Ramen Cookbook from Amy Kimoto-Kahn

Simply Ramen
A Complete Course in Preparing Ramen Meals at Home

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The landscape of ramen cookbooks (in English) is a rather barren field. Apart from Ivan Ramen, most tend to educate on how to take a cheap, store-bought package of instant noodles and reform them into something tasty. This is all well and good, but once the home cook learns what real ramen is, an intricate dish of layered flavors and ingredients, they are left with few options.

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Simply Ramen does a lot to remedy this situation. The book starts out with a dozen pages devoted to the basic soups - shio, shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu - and toppings. So far, so good. As all ramen educations should be, simple and to the point.

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The rest of the book gives inspired variations on a classic bowl, as well as some side dishes. From sukiyaki ramen to a green tea duck bowl, these are all interesting ideas that show ramen's potential. Really fun. There is a lot of creativity, just what you would expect from same cook who created the popular website Easy Peasy Japanesey.

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Amy, the book's author, has been blogging recipes for quite some time. As I can attest to, it is every food blogger's dream to make a print book, something tangible that our fans can pick up. With ramen being all the rage these days, Amy's Japan-centric style was perfect for this kind of ramen education.

Amy visited Tokyo with her photographer Andi Hatch, to join me on a ramen tour, as well as head to the Osaka Ramen School. A lot of what she experienced in Japan made it into the book. Almost every recipe has a short explanation of its origin, whether it was from a ramen shop in Tokyo, food Amy ate as a child, or from a friend of a friend of a friend. I like the meaning behind each dish.

By the way, Ramen Adventures makes a few cameos in the book, and I wrote a small section about ramen life in Japan. You get a mini guide to some shops I love as well. Solid!

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You can find the book on Amazon. It comes out later in February, and pre-orders get a 25% discount. Let me know if you try some of the recipes, and how they come out.