Comments: This is the fourth in a series of Japanese cookbooks by Kentaro Kobayashi, produced for the Japanese market and translated into English, a book in which he endeavors to present "the true power of vegetables."
These recipes are not strictly vegetarian or vegan – there is a little dried fish here and there, some canned seafood, and a bit of milk. Nor are these strictly Japanese, to our way of thinking, that is unless pizza, Caesar Salad, tacos, gazpacho, potato gratin, and pasta carbonara, etc., are inherently Japanese. There are tons of recipes, though, that have probably not seen much light of day outside Japan.
The chapters cover curries, salads, main dishes, soups, pastas, and a category that nearly defies description – "Simply Chic," which are simple side dishes meant to showcase the natural flavors of vegetables.
As straight English translations, we have found unusual measurements in all the books in this series – 4/5ths of a cup, a half tablespoon – but in general, they seem to be getting better. You will need a kitchen scale, as some measurements are in ounces. You certainly will have a challenge finding some ingredients (a can of quail eggs, myoga ginger bud, thin fried tofu), unless you live on top of a Japanese market or are an extraordinary online hunter, but there are lots of opportunities for substitutions, and perhaps you can be a little casual with the measurements, too. The instructions themselves are a bit loose here and there, but in some cases, the photos will help answer your questions.
To us, some of these portion sizes are very small – a 3-egg omelet that serves 3, for example – but perhaps there's a lesson to be learned here.
There is a background on a couple of pages that makes a few recipes almost illegible. You would rather put your effort into preparing those recipes than struggling to read them. Otherwise, it's a very attractive book.