banner ad
banner ad
banner ad


| 22 October 2015 | 1 Reply

Allen & Unwin, AUD$55.00 rrp
21 October, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9 /10

MASU by Nic Watt - book cover

A Kiwi teaching us about traditional Japanese food? What will they think of next!

New Zealander Nic Watt’s credentials though, are impeccable. A veteran of an early 18-month stint at the Park Hyatt Tokyo taught him the basics of Japanese food, which he then indulged in more depth at London’s then-groundbreaking and new Nobu. Fast forward to now and Watts owns and runs the extremely popular MASU restaurant in Auckland.

With MASU the book, Watts tries to be more than a cookbook. There’s his CV in essay form. Visual glossarys of Japanese pantry staples and tools, and a staid but interesting section on Japanese eating etiquette. This part could have been made more enjoyable had it been in a similar tone to his personal bio, rather than in rigid point form.

Then comes the good stuff: the food. And it is glorious. Lovingly photographed with simple, expedient plate design, the emphasis on being able to replicate these dishes in a home kitchen, with simple splashes of colour taking the place of TV-chef try-hard pretention.

Watt takes the canny approach of featuring some showcase menus before the recipes, with pointers to where to find each individual piece. The recipes themselves are divided into cooking styles, which is a novel approach.

Seared, Cured & Raw features tuna tataki (seared with a grapefruit escabeche) and beef tataki (small salads of crunchy daikon wrapped in barely seared, thinly sliced beef and topped with wasabi and garlic chips) and a fascinating essay on preparing sashimi, and tuna in particular.

Let’s Get Rolling focuses on some funky sushi rolls. Cucumber and pickled plum, for instance, soft-shell crab and kimchi, and even a tartare Wagyu beef with miso-cured quail egg yolk.

If you’re not hungry already, you soon will be.

Salads & Sharing starts with a full description of how to make your own spicy kimchi, soft-shell crab in squid-ink brioche rolls, salmon belly cooked on a hot stone, and best of all, spicy miso crayfish tacos with toasted sesame slaw. To die for, I can attest.

There’s heaps more – this only brings us halfway through the lavish book. Eel donburi, roasted rice skewers (kiritanpo), whitebait fritters, black cod in citrus miso (a reflection of Nobu’s signature dish), through more well-known dishes such as chicken yakitori, teriyaki beef and barbecued pork belly.

Watts keeps the recipes simple – as befitting Japanese cuisine – and there are plenty that are suitable for even the most amateur of cooks. You’ll be impressing your significant other in no time. There’s also some more involved recipes for those of us who fancy a bit more of a challenge.

Finally, we come to the All Things Sweet section, and are delighted by green tea, banana & hazelnut crème brulee, drunken pineapple (the char-grilled pineapple has taken a leisurely rum, lime & honey bath prior to cooking), and – for the more experienced home cooks – white miso souffles.

I’ll be trying a lot more of these recipes out very soon.

Category: Book Reviews

About the Author ()

Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Home-TakeAway | 12 October 2016

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad