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Japanese Food for the Home Cook

Japanese food is well loved all around the world, and if you need more proof of this, just take a look at the latest from Michelin: Tokyo continues to retain the honor of being the world’s gourmet capital. Although this means that restaurants in Tokyo that feature other cuisines play a role, it does support the idea that the Japanese love their food.

Japanese Food

Japanese Food

Wherever in the world you may be based, you are bound to find a good Japanese restaurant. In some cases, it can be rather expensive to go out every time you find yourself craving Japanese cuisine. The next best thing is to know how to make your favorite Japanese dishes in the comforts of your own kitchen! This way, whenever someone in the family feels like having Japanese, you simply have to make it yourself. Take a look at the best of Japanese cuisine, and get ready to have a feast.

Sashimi and Sushi

Japanese Food

Spicy Tuna Sashimi

I cannot count how many times I have heard people mistake these two for being the same. The difference is actually simple to remember. Sashimi is raw fish (or other seafood) sliced thinly and served on its own, with wasabi and soy sauce on the side. You can get wasabi powder at any Japanese grocery store. Sushi, on the other hand, is vinegared rice which is rolled and filled with seafood, egg, and/or vegetable.

Obviously, there are a lot of sashimi and sushi variations, but I am a sucker for tuna and salmon, so here are the three best recipes for sashimi in my opinion:

As for sushi, the choices are even more endless. The trick is in getting the sushi rice perfectly first. As for the filling, it really is up to your specific tastes. Here are some of the best kinds of sushi.

Tempura

Japanese Cuisine

Tempura

Tempura is just the exotic way of calling vegetables or seafood dipped in batter and deep fried. How can anyone NOT drool over that?

My favorite kind of tempura is Prawn Tempura. If you want more variety, though, you can always go for Mixed Tempura and Seafood Tempura.

The thing about tempura is making sure that the batter is of the right consistency AND making sure that the the dipping sauce tastes great! Also, serve the tempura right after cooking so that you can enjoy the warm crunchiness of this awesome Japanese food.

Sukiyaki

Japanese Food

Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is technically a winter dish, but it can really be made and eaten anytime. It is cooked like the popular hotpot, with thin slices of beef, vegetables, and other ingredients. It is also common to dip the ingredients in raw egg before you actually eat the food. Other common ingredients of this popular Japanese food are tofu, mushrooms, and noodles.

As with many other Japanese dishes, soy sauce plays an integral part in Sukiyaki. Sugar and mirin are also used to flavor the broth. Depending on the exact region in Japan, Sukiyaki is prepared in different ways. Obviously, if you are cooking Sukiyaki at home, you pick whichever style that suits your tastes.

Here are some Sukiyaki recipes to try at home.

Ramen

Shoyu Ramen

Soy Ramen

Now we can’t talk Japanese food without having ramen somewhere in the conversation, can we? This Japanese noodle dish can be found anywhere – and I mean anywhere, in and out of Japan. It does wonders for an aching body and a soul in need of comforting as well. If you thought that there are too many kinds of sushi to choose from, you would be blown away if you were to take a long and hard look at all the kinds of ramen there are. Practically every area in Japan has its own version!

In general, however, there are four umbrella categories for ramen: shio (salt), tonkotsu (pork bone), shoyu (soy sauce), and miso. These categories are tied to the soup base. Of these categories, miso is the “youngest”. It only became really popular around 1965 and was developed in Hokkaido.

Here is a great ramen recipe to try out, and remember how especially good these can be on a cold winter night.

Miso Ramen Recipe 1

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 10 oz (285 g) dried ramen noodles
  • 1/2 cup (200 g) fresh or canned bamboo shoots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup (170 g) fresh or canned corn kernels, drained
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) defrosted frozen or fresh spinach
  • 8 cups (2 liters) store-bought or homemade pork or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons instant dashi granules
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
  • 4 tablespoons fresh miso paste
  • 1 cup (100 g) fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 stalk green onion (scallions), finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons chili oil (optional)

Instructions
Place the whole, un-cracked eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover eggs by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Turn the heat to high and when boiling, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Promptly use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and peel the egg under cold running water. Slice each egg in half.

Return the same pot of water to a boil. Add the ramen noodles and cook according to package instructions (most ramen noodles only take 3 minutes to cook.) Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

Divide the noodles, hardboiled eggs, bamboo shoots, corn and spinach among 4 large serving bowls.

In a large pot, add the stock, instant dashi and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the miso. Taste the soup and add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of miso if you’d like. Ladle soup into each bowl. Top each bowl with fresh bean sprouts, green onions and a drizzle of chili oil, if desired.

Why not have a Japanese food party this weekend or the next? It make for a good change from your regular fare!

Photos via timtak, Chewy Chua, Wikipedia

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