Nikkei Cuisine – Japanese Food the South American Way is the first cookery book outside of Latin America to explore the exciting marriage of Japanese and South American cuisines. It is a ground-breaking cookery book that brings international Nikkei recipes to the home for the first time. Discover a wonderful range of dishes: sushi and sashimi with a South American twist, Nikkei hotpots, refreshing rice and noodle dishes, delicious appetisers, salads and desserts. This luxuriously illustrated volume is essential for anyone looking to tap into the latest, cutting-edge food trend and for those with an interest in South-American or Japanese cooking.
Nikkei Cuisine – Japanese Food the South American Way contains over 100 mouth-watering recipes, featuring 10 contributions from celebrated Nikkei chefs from around the world. These include Michelin-starred chefs Tsuyoshi Murakami from Brazil, as well as Kioko Ii and Jorge Muñoz Castro from Spain. From San Pellegrino’s 50 Best Latin American Restaurant list, Mitusharu Tsumura of Maido in Peru ranks in the top 10 among other stellar contributors – Toshiro Konishi and Hajime Kasuga from Peru, Adriano Kanashiro and Shin Koike of Brazil, Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul from the UK and Diego Oka and Pedro Duarte from the USA. Each dish is accompanied by stunning photography and easy-to-follow instructions, with details of where to buy even the most specialist of ingredients.
In Nikkei Cuisine – Japanese Food the South American Way, Luiz shares the food of his childhood as well as the everyday dishes of the Nikkei community in South America. Within the pages of his book, you’ll find a selection of home-style dishes sitting side by side with those from top Nikkei restaurants around the world.
You can order your copy on Amazon here.
The Japanese Larder – Bringing Japanese Ingredients Into Your Everyday Cooking
Luiz is currently writing his second cookbook – The Japanese Larder – Bringing Japanese Ingredients Into Your Everyday Cooking to be published by Jacqui Small in Autumn 2018. In this book Luiz is on a mission to demystify core Japanese ingredients and get cooks the world-over experimenting with them in their everyday cooking, just as they did with so many other delicious and unfamiliar foods over recent decades.
Each chapter will concentrate on a set of core Japanese ingredients and their uses in classical Japanese cooking, followed by new recipes created for the non-Japanese kitchen. Recipes will include local produce that is readily available in major supermarkets, encouraging home cooks to try something new and expand their cooking repertoire.
What is Nikkei cuisine?
At its simplest, Nikkei cuisine is the cooking of the Japanese diaspora. Japanese immigrants have found themselves in a variety of cultures and contexts, but have often maintained a loyalty to their native cuisine. This has required local adaptation: the so-called Nikkei community has embraced a new country’s ingredients and assimilated these into their own cooking using Japanese techniques.
So, Nikkei cooking is found wherever in the world Japanese immigrants and their descendants are. But, for historical reasons, two countries have had substantially more Japanese immigrants than the rest of the world – Brazil and Peru.
And it is these South American countries that are most noted for their Nikkei cooking. Brazil, in fact, has the largest Japanese population of any country outside Japan, and the Japanese community has had a major influence on cooking in that country. Peru has a smaller Nikkei population than Brazil, but since it and Japan both have a Pacific coastline (although on opposite sides of the ocean) it shares many of its fish species with Japan, as well as a strong native agriculture and food heritage. Peru has been the crucible for creating a strong and vibrant Nikkei cooking culture.
Peruvian Nikkei dishes will often use the extraordinary maritime abundance brought to the coastline by the Humboldt Current, as well as the unique aji peppers, lime, corn and yucca, not to mention the more than 3,000 varieties of potatoes native to Peru.
Japanese immigration to Brazil – a potted history
On June 18 1908, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil after a seven-week journey from Kobe, on board the Kasato Maru. This influx of people followed the establishment of a new Japan–Brazil immigration agreement to solve the farming manpower crisis caused by the abolition of slavery in 1888. Most of the Japanese immigrants imagined their trip as a temporary endeavour – a way to achieve prosperity before returning to their native country. However, the advent of the Second World War and the demise of Japan resulted in most of them considering Brazil as their permanent home, and this included my grandparents.
Japan underwent a great transformation under Emperor Meiji, ruler between 1867 and 1912, who took it upon himself to modernise Japan, with some adverse economic consequences. Coupled with the onset of the First Sino-Japanese (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese Wars (1904–1905) among other difficulties, the country was struggling to reabsorb returning soldiers.
Meanwhile, the coffee industry in Brazil was growing, and an increased need for farm workers had prompted the Brazilian government to encourage immigration first from Europe, then from Japan. The long trip from Japan to Brazil was subsidised by the Brazilian government. Campaigns advertising work opportunities in Brazil to the Japanese population promised great gains to all willing to work on coffee farms.
However, the newly arrived workers would soon discover harsher conditions than they anticipated. Even though Japanese immigrants had lived in frugal conditions in Japan, they could not compare to what awaited them in Brazil.
Modern Nikkei Life
Today, the Japanese community in Brazil is the largest outside Japan, with most Nikkei living in the two southern states of São Paulo where I was born, and Parana – another southern state. The second largest Nikkei community is in Peru. Of all the communities that make up the cultural melting pot of modern Brazil, the Nikkei are among the best educated and most prosperous. They are prominent in the professions, commerce and finance.