10 Must-Try Recipes From Japan

If you want to combine depth of flavor and unique, piquant highlights in a satisfying meal, we recommend trying one of these Japanese recipes. Each recipe turns out great and comes loaded with an impressive balance and variety of flavors.

 1. Sushi and Sashimi

Ingredients:

Rice (which is short-grain white rice)

Wasabi paste or powder

Fish such as tuna or salmon (raw!)

Nori sheet

Directions:

Step 1: You’ll need a rice cooker for this. Put the rice into the cooker and add water until it covers the rice by one inch. Then, put the lid on top of the cooker and set the timer for 35 minutes on the “cook” setting. 

Step 2: After 35 minutes have passed, turn off heat and let sit for five minutes without removing the lid from the cooker. Then remove the lid from the cooker and fluff up the rice with a fork.

Step 3:Llay out your nori sheet on top of bamboo matting or plastic wrap. Next, spread rice evenly across the bottom third of the sheet (you’ll want about half a cup of cooked rice). 

Step 4: Top this layer with any fillings you’d like (sliced veggies or meats). Roll up tightly from left to right so the fillings stay inside—then press gently on edges with wet fingers so they stick together! Slice into small pieces using a sharp knife. Serve immediately with soy sauce.

For the Sashimi

Step 1: Rinse the fish under cold water, pat it dry with paper towels, and slice into thin pieces with a sharp knife (you can also ask your butcher or fishmonger to do this for you).

Step 2: Place the slices on a plate and drizzle with soy sauce and wasabi paste (if desired). Serve immediately!

2. Takoyaki

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

3/4 cup water

2 eggs

2 cups diced octopus (or whatever you want!)

2 tablespoons of green onion (optional)

Mayonnaise

Bonito flakes

Directions:

Step 1:  Make the batter by combining flour and water in a bowl. Mix until it is smooth and lump-free.

Step 2:  Add beaten egg to the batter and mix well. Add more flour or water as needed to achieve a consistency that is neither too thick nor too thin.

If you want to make takoyaki balls, then use a spoon to make holes in the batter. If you want to make takoyaki cakes, then just spread the batter evenly over the pan.

Step 2: Heat up your pan and wait for it to get really hot before adding oil or cooking spray. You can use any type of oil or cooking spray that is safe for high temperatures like coconut oil or olive oil, but vegetable oil will work as well. You should also add a teaspoon of sesame oil if you are using it in your recipe because it helps with browning and flavor too!

Step 3:Pour some batter on the pan. Then add each piece of octopus into the holes followed by some green onion tops if desired or any other topping combinations.

Step 4: Cook until golden brown on each side then remove from heat and serve with bonito flakes if desired.

3. Okonomiyaki

Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup of cold water

3 eggs (beaten)

1/2 cup shredded cabbage (shredded)

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ tsp of sugar

1 tbsp of canola oil

Directions:

Step 1: Mix together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup cold water until just combined (don’t overmix).

Step 2: Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Brush pan lightly with vegetable oil spray or add 1 tablespoon canola oil to pan. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. 

Step 3: Pour batter into pan in a thin layer; immediately sprinkle with shredded cabbage and other filling ingredients if desired. 

Step 3: Cook until the edges start to turn golden brown and bubbles form on the top surface of the pancake, about 2 minutes per side. Serve hot with dipping sauce of choice!

4. Onigiri (Rice Balls)

Ingredients:

Cooked white rice (1 cup per onigiri)

Diced vegetables (such as carrots or cucumbers)

Grated cheese (optional)

Chopped meat (such as tuna or ham)

Directions:

Step 1: Begin by cooking the rice according to package directions. While the rice is cooking, dice your vegetables and grate your cheese if desired. 

Step 2: When the rice is ready, form it into balls with wet hands. Add any toppings of choice and serve!

5. Ramen

Ingredients:

Ramen noodles

Water (or chicken stock)

Salt

Vegetables (optional)

Meat (optional)

Directions:

Step 1: You can find packages of ramen noodles at most grocery stores. If you want to cook them by hand, you should boil water and then add the noodles. After about 5 minutes, drain them and rinse with cold water. 

Step 2: You can also buy packets of ramen seasoning mix that contain everything you need for making ramen soup! All you have to do then is add your choice of vegetables or meat to the broth when it’s done cooking. Then serve!

6. Curry Rice

Ingredients:

2 cups of rice, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup of water (or more)

1/2 cup of frozen peas

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup chopped tomato

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional)

Directions:

Step 1: Cook rice according to package instructions. Add in 1/2 cup water when cooking is complete. Set aside.

Step 2: Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, stirring often. Add in peas, tomato and curry powder. 

Step 3: Cook for about 2 minutes until well mixed. Add cooked rice, soy sauce (if using), stir everything together until well mixed, then remove from heat and serve hot!

7. Tofu Steak

Ingredients:

2 blocks (16 oz) firm tofu

1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions:

Step 1: Place the tofu in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Heat the grill pan over high heat, then cook the tofu steak until browned, about 5 minutes per side.

Step 3: Remove from the pan and place on a serving platter, garnish with chopped green onions, and serve hot with rice or French fries!

8. Grilled Eel

Ingredients:

6 eels

2 lemons, juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat the grill to 450 degrees F.

Step 2: Place eels on a baking sheet and brush with lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic powder. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

9. Nikujaga (Meat and Potato Stew)

Nikujaga is a Japanese dish made with potatoes and meat. It’s incredibly easy to make, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers!

Ingredients:

2 lbs. ground beef or pork

1 onion

6 large potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes

Directions:

Step 1: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. 

Step 2: Add the meat and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Then serve with your favorite drinks.

10. Sakuramochi (Cherry Blossom Cake)

Ingredients:

2 cups of glutinous rice flour

1 cup sugar

½ cup white bean paste or mashed red beans (optional)

Directions:

Step 1: In a large bowl, mix together the glutinous rice flour and sugar until well blended. Add in your choice of white bean paste or mashed red beans. Combine until they’re evenly distributed throughout the mixture. 

Step 2: Add in enough water to create a doughy texture — not too wet or dry! Once you’ve created a consistent dough, form small balls about 1 inch in diameter and place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper; set aside to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them into an airtight container for storage in the refrigerator overnight! 

Step 3: The next day when you’re ready to bake them off, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown on top! Let cool completely before eating or serving.

Japanese food is one of the most popular foods around the globe. It is delicious, simple, and yet very motivating. There are so many good, tasty and healthy recipes that you should really test them out soon. And remember, when cooking, your health and appetite are in your hands!

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