With all this time at home during COVID-19, I’ve branched out of my regular take-out and what I’m now calling, “just barely making it” meal. But the time has come. No more “just barely making it.” We’re looking for “surviving AND thriving.” If I can’t travel to other countries right now, I’m going to take a culinary adventure of my own to somewhere I’d love to go: Japan. Here are some recipes for Japanese food you can make at home.
What I like about Japanese cuisine is its emphasis on seasonal ingredients and all the broth-based recipes. I love a good soup. There’s nothing like that warms the soul like a soup or broth that’s been simmering for a few hours–the rich aroma filling the entire house.. everyone gathered around the table. Japanese food may be just what your family needs to branch out of your normal routine, try something new, and gather around the table for an unforgettable meal!
Japanese Recipes for Soups
Miso is a staple of Japanese cuisine, known for its delicious flavor and many health benefits. It’s made up of two basic elements: dashi (broth), and miso (soybean paste). After that, you can add any extra ingredients to suit the mood or your own taste! Some ingredients to add before your dashi is boiling include carrots, clams, daikon radishes, kabocha squash/pumpkin, onions, or potatoes. After your dashi is boiling, you can add aburaage (made from fried soybeans), bean sprouts, cabbage, egg, eggplant, mushrooms, negi (or spring onions), okra, somen noodles, spinach, kelp, kombu (plant similar to seaweed), or potatoes.
This is the most traditional way to prepare Udon Noodles with simple soup stock called kakejiru, but it’s anything but basic! Start by preparing two packs 2 packs single-serve fresh udon according to package instructions. In a pot combine dashi, soy sauce, mirin (rice cooking wine), sake, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let it continue to cook for 3 minutes. Place the udon in bowls then ladle the soup into the bowls. Top with spring onions and shichimi togarashi (a Japanese 7-spice blend).
Mizutaki is a Japanese nabe (hot pot) dish where you cook the ingredients, primarily chicken, assorted vegetables, mushrooms, and tofu in water or a light kombu dashi broth without any seasoning.
Mizutaki is typically cooked communally at the dining table with a portable butane burner. It’s typically a treat on a wintery day when you enjoy good food and conversations with family and friends over a warm hot pot meal.
Japanese Recipes with Chicken
This Chicken Katsu recipe is a must-try dish that’s well-loved throughout the world. Essentially, they’re fried chicken cutlets with a panko breadcrumb crust, perfect with tonkatsu sauce.
- 8 skinless, boneless, chicken thighs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- Lightly pound the chicken thighs 1/2 inch thick and season with salt.
- Put the flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs into 3 separate dishes and season each one with salt.
- Dredge 1 piece of chicken in the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip in the egg, allowing the extra to drip off. Then coat the chicken with the panko, pressing to help it stick. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
- Divide the oil between 2 large skillets and heat. Add the chicken and fry over medium-high heat, turning once, until golden brown and crispy, (about 3 minutes per side). Allow them to drain on paper towels. Serve with tonkatsu sauce, mustard, and steamed rice.
This recipe is easy enough for weeknights but yummy enough to serve to guests on the weekend! Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Whisk together 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, and 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Boil noodles and drain. Cook 1 lb chicken breast (chopped into bite-size pieces) in oil in the skillet. Transfer to a plate. Saute 1/2 cup green onions (white part only), 1 tbsp ginger paste, and 1-1/2 tbsp garlic in vegetable oil. Add in 1 chopped red bell pepper and 5 oz button mushrooms and saute. Then, add in 3 cups shredded cabbage and 1 cup matchstick carrots and green onion greens and saute. Add drained noodles along with cooked chicken, toss with sauce. Add some peanuts or siracha to your own taste!
Tonkatsu sauce is a sweet, thick Japanese barbecue sauce available in the Asian section of most supermarkets. You can also make it yourself! Mix together 1/2 cup of ketchup, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp Japanese sweet wine, 1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, and 1 clove of minced garlic.
More Japanese Recipes
This is one of my favorites because of how simple and delicious it is. And it’s really about the sauce. For this, put 1-1/2 cups Mirin, 3/4 cup soy sauce, 4 tbsp sugar, and 1 minced garlic clove in a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. Let it cook down to about half of its original amount, then remove from the heat.
Cut 1 lb boneless chicken thigh into bite-sized pieces, but keep the skin on. Thread chicken onto skewers, alternating with green onion. Grill the chicken skewers on both sides. When the meat starts turning, brush the sauce on both sides, and continue grilling, brushing on sauce about 3 times total, and turning until done.
One of the most popular Japanese street food items is Okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake made with flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, and a source of protein. For the batter, start by combining 1 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp sugar, and ¼ tsp baking powder and mix. Then, peel and grate a 2-3 inch nagaimo in a small bowl. It can get itchy, so work quickly and rinse your hands right after. Add the grated nagaimo and ¾ cup dashi in the bowl. Mix all together, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
While you’re waiting, make an Okonomi Sauce. Remove the core of a head of cabbage and mince it. Set aside to let the moisture evaporate. Take the batter and add 4 large eggs, ½ cup (8 Tbsp) tempura scraps, and ¼ cup (4 Tbsp) pickled red ginger in the bowl. Mix well until well-combined. Gradually add chopped cabbage to the batter and mix well. In a large pan, heat vegetable oil on medium heat. When the frying pan is hot, spread the batter in a circle on the pan. Place 2-3 pieces on thinly-sliced pork belly on top and cook covered for 5 minutes. When the bottom side is golden brown, flip it. Gently press the okonomiyaki to fix the shape and keep it together. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Flip over one last time and cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Toppings include Okonomi sauce, dried seaweed, dried bonito flakes, aonori, green onions, and pickled red ginger.
Combine 1 ½ Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, 4 Tbsp ketchup, and 3 ½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Mix all together until completely dissolved.
What are Your Favorite Japanese Recipes?
Are there other Japanese recipes that you love that you didn’t see here? Or maybe Japanese-inspired recipes? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to share your favorite recipes for Japanese dishes with the ones you love on FamilyApp!