Japanese Cuisine, Chen Shiu-Lee
103 pages; Color Photography
Wei-Chuan's Cookbook
1988 Wei-Chuan Publishing Monterey, CA; Taipei, Taiwan, 8th printing July 1996
Reviewed by Claudia Fernandez for Good Cooking

I invited some friends over at my place and thought about impressing them with an exotic appetizer. I particularly wanted Japanese, a favorite among my friends. In the book "Japanese Cuisine", Chen Shiu-Lee describes and illustrates typical and simple Japanese recipes. I particularly experimented with the Ham, Vegetable and Egg Rolls on page 75. My friends were absolutely amazed at how elegant it looked: like a thin version of an omelet with julienne veggies tucked in. Indeed, a very elegant presentation and so easy to do!

The book has so many color photographs you just want to flip through the pages and forget about making the recipes. The layout of the photos also were valuable for the instruction on how to make the dishes and it's presentation.

Most ingredients for the recipes can be purchased in most supermarkets and specialty food stores although a real Japanese food shop would make one stop shopping simple. I encourage everyone who is cautious about cooking to check out this book for other delicious ideas. You must stop and browse the pictures too!

Ham, Vegetable and Egg Rolls
4 Rolls

8 stalks fresh green asparagus
1/2 stalk celery
1/2 apple
2 slices ham (square)
2 stalks Chinese celery
4 eggs
4 leaves lettuce
mayonnaise (or salt), as desired

Cut the tender ends of the green asparagus into 2-3/4" (7 cm) lengths. Blanch in boiling water and cool in tap water. Pare off the strings from the celery and cut into
2-3/4" (7 cm) lengths. Cut into thin strips along the grain and soak in ice water. Cut the apple into thin strips and soak in salt water. Drain each separately before use and set aside. Cut the ham into fine strips. Blanch the Chinese celery in boiling water, cool in tap water, then tear into fine strips.

Beat the egg lightly. Fry into 4 egg "pancakes" (about 6-1/2" to 8" or 17 to 20 cm in diameter)

Spread out one of the egg "pancakes". Lay a leaf of lettuce on it, then top with 1/4 of the asparagus, celery, apple, ham, and some mayonnaise.

Fold the egg "pancake" in half, allowing the filling to protrude somewhat. Roll the two ends towards the center, then secure with the Chinese celery shreds. Repeat for the remaining three egg "pancakes". Serve.

The filling ingredients can also be rolled in Chinese moo shu shells (Peking duck flour wrappers), bread, etc.

Broiled Chicken Kebabs (Yakitori)

Serves 4

14 oz. (400 g) chicken leg meat
1 small onion or three green onions
2 green peppers, seeded
1/3 c. each: soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine)
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 lemon

Cut the chicken leg meat, onion, and green peppers into 3/4" (2 cm) cubes. On bamboo skewers, skewer the onion, green pepper, and chicken cubes alternately until the skewer is full. Top with a piece of onion to secure the kebab. Quarter the lemon.

Bring 1 to a boil, then allow to cool. Marinate the kebabs in the sauce for 10 minutes. Remove.

eat the oven to 450 F (232 C) and broil the kebabs on the top shelf for 4 minutes. Turn over and brush on some of the leftover marinade. Broil another 4 minutes, until the meat is golden brown. Serve.

The kebabs can also be charcoal-grilled. Brush on the marinade as the kebabs are grilling. Grill until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown. Before eating, ground Szechuan pepper, ground black pepper, or seven-flavor seasoning (shichimi-togarashi) may be sprinkled over the kebabs, according to individual preference.