Hiroko's American Kitchen Is Classic East-Meets-West

Hiroko Shimbo marries Japanese and American cuisines in her new cookbook

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Forget the boy-meets-girl fairy tale. We're suckers for a good East-meets-West love story.

Hiroko Shimbo, who has long been a champion of Japanese cooking stateside, marries her native cuisine with American ingredients in her recently released cookbook, Hiroko's American Kitchen ($25).

The book's chapters highlight two essential stocks and four basic sauces, which underpin more-involved recipes. Dashi stock, for example, is the building block for spicy miso soup with kale–a vegetable Shimbo discovered in America–and braised pork shoulder. White sumiso sauce, meanwhile, enhances curried tofu squares, and panko-dusted baked cod with chopped collard greens and russet potatoes.

Our Test Kitchen tackled Shimbo's kelp stock and spicy miso sauce–made with aged brown miso, mirin, sake and red pepper flakes–then used both to make her traditional braised daikon (see the recipe).

After boiling in a water-and-rice bath, the substantial Japanese radishes simmer in the stock. A finishing spoonful of the miso sauce adds richness, intensity and a downright meaty flavor, while a sprinkling of scallions and sesame seeds impart texture to the silken vegetable.

The dish truly is the best of both worlds.