collaborative contributed post // Japanese culture savors food in a way that most western cultures often skip. Instead of simply making something tasty and nutritious, a Japanese meal starts with preparation.
Photo by Derek Duran on Unsplash
The care, beauty, and simplicity of a meal are part of the cooking process and should be experienced as a calming or soul fulling activity. In Japanese meals, you aren’t expected to stuff your face. Instead, they use small bites to help consider the carefully selected flavors, and delicate tastes.
Despite this idea of careful planning, creating Japanese food isn’t as difficult as it might seem. We have 6 recipes to help you enjoy the cuisine from preparation to digestion.
Equipment You Will Need
Once you own these tools, you will be prepared for most Japanese recipes. You will need:
- Paper Towels
- Grill or Oven
Flavors To Keep In Mind
The most prominent flavors you can expect in a Japanese meal are salty, sweet, and tangy. Each of these flavors will likely be subtle with a gentle change from one concept to the next. These tastes are often created using the following ingredients:
- Soy sauce: a salty sweetness
- Sugar: sweet
- Sake: mildly fruity
- Sesame seeds: sweet and nutty
- Miso: rich salty sweetness
- Mirin: sweet
- Teriyaki: a salty sweetness
6 Japanese Recipes Everyone Can Try at Home:
Ozoni: Japanese New Year Mochi Soup
Ozoni is a soup and it often comes in one of four varieties.
It can be simple, with just the main ingredients used in the broth along with salt and soy sauce for additional flavor. Some people add white miso to the broth for a sweeter taste or light miso for a salter layer. While others include red beans for an earthy depth and thicker texture.
This ozoni recipe has a lot of ingredients, but the method is simple. It’s the perfect entrance into Japanese cooking as the flavors are delicate, the creation process is calming, and you’ll feel soothed as you sit for your meal.
Renkon Chips: A Common Snack Or Appetiser
You can often find renkon chips in Japanese restaurants being served as an appetizer. The word “renkon” means lotus root, and it reflects the end design of your chip.
Made by cutting up frozen slices of renkon, covering them in sake, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin, and then deep frying them in a large pan. The process is simple but long, giving you time to reach a sense of stillness while you cook.
Yaki Onigiri: Grilled And Flavored Rice Balls
Yaki Onigiri has a woody or smokey flavor created by grilling the miso flavor which is mixed into rice balls. To add to the earthy taste, sesame seeds are sprinkled into the final product as a delicate garnish. Again, this is a long but simple recipe that is a joy to make.
Japanese Curry Rice
Calling something Japanese doesn’t mean it contains traditional Japanese ingredients or methods. However, when making Japanese curry you need to step away from typically Indian flavors and instead aim for thick, sweet, and delicate ingredients.
For example, you will likely see ingredients such as honey, apple, and Worcestershire sauce to help create the classic Japanese flavors in an otherwise Indian dish.
Yakitori Chicken: Grilled Chicken
Yakitori chicken is a rather redundant phrase as it means grilled chicken chicken. “Yaki” means to cook or grill something, while “Yakitori” literally means grilled chicken.
However, you will likely see recipes describing the meal as Yakitori chicken to make it seem more understandable to English speakers.
Regardless, this easy recipe only requires chicken thighs, shallots, skewers, and teriyaki sauce. That’s right, you will be making chicken skewers using classic Japanese flavors.
Shiozake: Salted Salmon
Because Japan is an island, you can expect fish in most of their traditional meals. A well-sourced salmon will not need a lot of ingredients to allow the flavors to shine. Going back to the main ideas around Japanese cooking, keeping the flavors simple and delicate is a classic way to complete a Japanese recipe.
Pat down the salmon with a paper towel, sprinkle salt over the fish, wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for around 8 hours. In that time the salt will sink into the filet, allowing the deeper flavors of the salmon to come through. Cook the fish for around 8 minutes and serve it with rice for a classic, simple and easy recipe.
Japanese recipes are either simple and delicate in flavor, or complex allowing you to connect to your food and enjoy the creation process. Use our 6 suggested recipes above to start your cooking journey.