Comic book meets cookbook in “Japanese Cooking With Manga,” a charming illustrated guide to Japanese cuisine by the self-dubbed “Gourmand Gohan” team. (“Gohan,” literally “cooked rice,” is the Japanese term for any meal).
The authors are three 20-something home cooks and friends in Barcelona—illustrator Alexis Aldeguer, designer Ilaria Mauro, and chef Maiko-San, hailing from Osaka, Japan—who joined forces to share their love of Japanese food. The book began as a hand-drawn, hand-bound edition circulated among their friends.
The recipes are simple and approachable, highlighting the tried-and-true basics of Japanese home cooking. Whimsical illustrations guide you step-by-step through hand-rolling sushi, battering and frying tempura, and whipping up a quick and highly customizable okonomiyaki (“Japanese pizza”). There’s warming miso soup, traditional dishes of fried marinated mackerel and grandmother’s tori karaage (fried chicken nuggets), and for dessert, black sesame flan and green tea cake with apricots.
Plenty of humor, history lessons from “Professor Maiko,” and candid snapshots of the authors’ friendship round out the book. Though humble in scope and technique, it’s a sweet collection that brings a smile to your face—a warm invitation from three friends to join them in the kitchen.