Japanese cuisine has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the tastiest and most elegant forms of dining, but this often comes with a shroud of complexity that can make newcomers more than a little hesitant to get started themselves. The good news is that while Japanese cuisine certainly has a lot of ceremony to it, there are a number of dishes which are simple to prepare, easy for first-time cooks and, most importantly, delicious.
So, let’s get to it, with this handy list of easy Japanese recipes for you to cook at home.
One pot dishes have long been the hallmark of simple, no fuss, flavourful cooking in cultures across the world. I’m sure that you’ve already heard the non-stop evangelical espousing of how the glorious slow cooker produces delicious western stews and casseroles – well, the donabe is Japan’s take on the single pot meal.
To be entirely precise, the donabe is actually the name of the ceramic pot that is used for cooking and the type of meal is known as a Nabemono. Essentially these meals can be prepared in a few minutes by packing ingredients tightly into a donabe and then applying heat. With limited preparation and cooking time, donabe nabemono is the perfect option if you’re looking for minimal effort, but maximum flavour.
Aside from sushi, this is probably one of Japan’s most famous and popular exports in the culinary world. Teriyaki is a style of glaze that is applied to meats and other ingredients which has a sweet but still savoury flavour. Typically cooked by grilling, ingredients are soaked in the teriyaki for about 30 minutes and then repeated additional glazes are applied during the cooking process. The result is a uniquely flavoured dish which is perfect as an accompaniment or additional element in a larger meal.
Making your own teriyaki sauce at home is relatively simple. Soy sauce is mixed with mirin or sake, along with sugar. The exact mix can vary depending on the type of flavours you prefer, but I’d recommend following some recipes and experimenting to find the mix that best suits your palate.
Rice is an important staple in Japanese food, and it often plays a large role in most meals. The exact preparation of rice will depend on the type of meal that you’re having, but it is typically sweetened with sugar or salted to give it a more savoury flavour. Short-grained white rice is the preferred choice and traditionally it is to be served separately from other ingredients, rather than being topped like in western and Chinese dishes.
I think that is a good place to leave it for this time, but I’ll be back soon with some recommendations for easy Japanese recipes that you can cook at home.