Calling All Vegans!

As the Store’s resident Vegan I was asked to test and review a new vegan cookbook called “Vegan Japaneasy,” By Tim Anderson.  I was really excited to try this cookbook because there are not a lot of vegan Japanese cookbooks on the market. So here is my honest opinion on what I liked and what I thought could have been improved.

First off this is a beautiful book! From the embossed cover, to the enticing pictures, to the thoughtful layout and organization of chapters, you can tell that a lot of work was put in to this book.  I like that a lot of attention was paid to the basics like how to make vegan dashi, sweet soy sauce, and pickled vegetables.

I decided to make the Portobello Mushroom and Onion ‘Sukiyaki’ Bowl.  This was a super easy recipe with good flavors that was extremely light and tasty. I think next time I will add fried tofu for an extra punch of protein.

One of my few issues with this book is that the author admits to not being a vegan, which is not a bad thing but if you are writing a book for vegans you may want to better educate yourself about food that is “secretly” not vegan. For example, in some of the recipes he calls for the use of caster sugar. Some varieties of sugar are not vegan because they are processed with bone char which is an animal by-product. Also, not all sake and mirin is vegan because of the way the alcohol is filtered and processed. There are vegan sugar, sake, and mirin on the market but they may be harder to find.

Although I found the recipe easy and delicious, there was a lot of prep work involved.  If you don’t have a lot of the ingredients readily available it may take a couple of hours to prep all the ingredients. So check the ingredient list ahead of time, because you don’t want to have to make pickled ginger from scratch at the same time you are making the recipe!

If you are vegan and looking for more traditional Japanese recipes and enjoy learning how to make things from scratch this may be the book for you. It’s also great for non-vegans who are looking to reduce their consumption of meat, eggs and dairy. A lot of vegan food on the market is purchased by non-vegans, who are just looking for healthy alternatives, or are interested in cutting their carbon foot print. And as I mentioned, it’s really beautiful to look at!Vegan Japaneasy

Jennifer Chavez-Fucik
Jennifer Chavez-Fucik