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Sunday, Jan. 27, 2002


Book Bites

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SUSHI ROLLS, by Ken Kawasumi, translated by Laura Driussi. Graph-sha, 2001, 192 pp., 3,500 yen (cloth)

In "The Encyclopedia of Sushi Rolls," top sushi chef Ken Kawasumi teaches you all you need to know to start turning out delicious handrolled sushi at home.

Fine sushi begins with properly cooked sushi rice. Kawasumi goes back to basics, explaining each step in the cooking process and how to avoid making the rice too sticky or too dry.

He describes the different varieties of sushi rolls -- futomaki (large rolls), hosomaki (thin rolls), temaki (hand rolls), uramaki (inside-out rolls) and kazarimaki (decorative rolls) -- and gives detailed information on how to roll each kind, along with an explanation of the different kinds of nori and which is appropriate for each type of roll.

Readers already familiar with standard Japanese sushi rolls will find plenty of new ideas to try among the many recipes in this book. Some cater to Western tastes -- the California roll, steak roll, and ham-and-egg roll, for example -- while the kazarimaki are spectacular elaborations of sushi's decorative potential, depicting flowers, signs of the Chinese zodiac, letters of the alphabet and even Christmas-themed designs. While more time-consuming to make than the other rolls, Kawasumi's step-by-step instructions bring them well within the scope of even novice cooks.

TOKYO FINDER: How to live, work and play in the 21st century. Y's Publishing, 2001, 296 pp., 2,500 yen (paper)

This compact guidebook brings together a wealth of useful information for both short- and long-term visitors to Tokyo.

Listings cover transportation, housing, work, medical care, education and leisure activities, and a number of rail and area maps are also included.

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