Monday, November 30, 2009

Japanese Hot Pots to Warm Your Soul

Hot pots are the quintessential Japanese comfort food: simple, fast, and easy to prepare. Many Americans, though, have almost no point of reference for Japanese food beyond the local sushi bar, so cooking this cuisine can sometimes seem exotic and intimidating. On December 8th, Japan Society is hosting chef Tadashi Ono of Matsuri restaurant and food journalist Harris Salat, the authors of Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals, to introduce and demystify this communal eating tradition for American home cooks with belly-warming dishes from all corners of Japan.

Hot pots are a well-balanced and naturally nutritious bounty of roots, greens, mushrooms, onion, tofu, noodles, and chicken, seafood, or meat, all infused with lip-smacking Japanese flavors (tastes we already love in sushi). Heartier than soup but not as dense as stew, these dishes are perfect for a crisp autumn day or an icy winter night.

Tadashi Ono has a blog where you can check out videos on preparing a range of exquisite dishes. Harris Salat also has a blog entitled The Japanese Food Report that is not only extremely mouth-watering, it's full of helpful tips for the kitchen.

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