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15 Staples of Japanese Cooking

By Ari | May, 2022

So, you love Japanese cuisine and want to learn more about cooking Japanese food on your own? If you are a beginner, you might be unfamiliar with some essential spices and condiments of Japanese cuisine. Since it’s very important to know your basics and staples of Japanese cooking, this article will provide a list of Japanese cuisine staple ingredients and tools so you’ll be able cook up a wide variety of authentic Japanese dishes.

This article is a part of our extensive series on learning about Japan through online Japanese lessons at Japan Switch.

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    japanese cooking staples

    The unique flavors present in Japanese cuisine

    Japanese cuisine is well-known around the world, but there is so much more to eat in Japan than sushi, sashimi, tempura, and ramen. Traditional Japanese cuisine, also known as "washoku," is based on the concept of seasonality. Japan has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter, each with its own unique selection of fruits, vegetables, seafood, and other foods. Check out out Ultimate Guide to Seasons in Japan for more in-depth information about Japan seasonality.

    In the spring, vegetables like (nasu) eggplant, saya endou (snow peas), and kabu (turnips) are in season. During the spring months, sardine, clam, and mussel soups are also a popular choice for meals. During the summer, fresh, juicy fruits like yuzu (citrus), mikan (orange), momo (peaches), grapes, and sakuranbo (cherries) are also popular and in season. While kuri (chestnuts), ichijiku (figs), and nashi (pears) are in season throughout the fall, so are mushrooms, satsumaimo (sweet potatoes), and kabocha (Japanese pumpkin). In the winter, a wide array of Japanese seafood is in season, including tsuna (tuna), amaebi (sweet shrimp), hamachi (yellowtail), and kaki (oysters). Hardy vegetables like kyabetsu (cabbage), daikon (radishes), and lotus renkon (root) are also in season during the winter. For its importance to Japanese cultural identity, washoku was recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.

    Apart from rice, a Japanese cuisine staple includes noodles, such as soba and udon. It is typical for traditional Japanese food to be seasoned with a combination of dashi (fish stocks), soy sauce, sake and mirin, vinegar, sugar, and salt. As food is an integral part of Japanese culture, most Japanese households have their own set of traditions and rituals when it comes to dining, both for everyday meals and for special occasions such as festivals. We also have guides to various festivals in Japan such as, Ultimate Guide to Japanese Festivals, Ultimate Guide to Summer Festival in Japan, and Ultimate Guide to Setsubun (AKA The Bean-Throwing Festival).

    15 Staples of Japanese Cooking Ingredients

    1. Miso (Japanese Soup Stock)

    Miso is a must-have seasoning for the Japanese. It is often referred to as a nutrient-dense soybean fermented food. It is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, as well as occasionally rice, barley, seaweed, or other ingredients. There are several types of miso (white miso, red miso, and yellow miso), and each miso has a unique flavor, aroma, texture, and saltiness. We recommend you to start off with yellow miso (also known as awase miso)if you're a beginner.

    Popular Dishes

    Miso is most commonly used in Japanese-style miso soup, a traditional dish eaten for morning and as part of other meals. This versatile condiment can be used to make marinades, salads, sauces, and even baked goods! Miso also provides a distinct taste to marinades, gravies, other soups such as udon or ramen, and vegetable and tofu dishes.

    While miso can be used interchangeably in recipes, the effects will differ depending on the variety of miso utilized. The more intense the flavor, the darker the hue. It's ideal to use a lighter miso for light sauces and sweet dishes, while a darker miso is best for stews and braises.

    miso japanese cooking

    Notable brands

    There are three notable brands of miso in Japan which are, Hikari, Marukome, and Cold Mountain. Hikari has an organic line of products that is triple certified by the USDA Certified Organic, European Union Organic, and Japanese Agricultural Standard Organic. Similarly, Marukome also provides various lines of products which include non-GMO miso paste that is produced using 100% organic soybeans and organic rice. Lastly, Cold Mountain which has a wide variety of product lines including Saikyo Miso, which has added sugar to bring out its sweet and mild flavor. Cold Mountain also has Kyoto series miso, which has about 60% less sodium than our regular miso, with plenty of koji to bring out a natural, dessert-like sweetness and a milder flavor.

    2. Shoyu (Soy Sauce)

    One of the most significant components in Japanese cooking is soy sauce. This fermented mixture of soy beans, salt, wheat, and koji rice mold is one of Japan's most popular condiments. In Tokyo, you can find a range of Soy Sauces on the store, albeit the most of them would be Dark Soy Sauce.

    The soy sauces that have long been created in each region of Japan have distinct flavors that stem from regional tastes, brewing history, and other influences. According to JAS (Japan Agricultural Standards), the five categories of shoyu are common, light color, tamari, re-fermented, and extra light color.

    Type Feature How to Use
    Common (Koikuchi Shoyu) The most general type. Other than saltiness, it has deep umami (savory flavor), rounded sweetness, refreshing acidity, and a trace of bitterness that brings the tastes together It is a versatile condiment that can be used in cooking or at the table. 
    Light color (Usukuchi Shoyu) This light-colored soy sauce originates from Kansai. Reducing its color and fragrance helps bring out all of the flavors in its ingredients. It is used in recipes that preserve the color and flavor of the component.
    Tamari (Tamari Shoyu) This soy sauce is mostly produced in the Chubu region. It is distinguished by its thickness, deep umami, and distinct fragrance. It has long been known as "sashimi tamari," as it is frequently served with sushi and sashimi. When heated, it turns a nice red color, and it is also used for grilling and boiling soy sauce.
    Refermented (Saishikomi Shoyu) This even lighter than light-colored soy sauce, pale amber-colored soy sauce originates. It has a distinct fragrance and a bland flavor with a pronounced sweetness. It is used in meals like soups and chawanmushi egg custard to enhance the flavor and appearance of the food. It's also in rice crackers, pickles, and other foods.

     

    chicken teriyaki soy sauce japanese food

    Popular dishes

    Shoyu, a Japanese cuisine staple, is used to season everything from ramen noodle soup to sauce bases like teriyaki and gyoza dipping sauce. Shoyu can be used to season dishes as a stir-fry, marinade, sauce, or soup base; there is virtually no limit to how you can incorporate soy sauce into your daily cooking. As mentioned before, shoyu is an essential condiment for making teriyaki sauce for chicken or beef teriyaki. You can make the the perfect teriyaki sauce simply by combining 2 parts soy sauce, 2 parts mirin, 2 parts sake, and 1 part sugar.

    Notable brands

    Kikkoman is known as one of the biggest and few authentic soy sauce brands on the market. Their soy sauce is naturally brewed, so it has an authentic taste of Japan and brings out the flavors of many different kinds of food from around the world. Yamasa, which is one of the oldest Japanese soy sauce brands besides Kikkoman, is known for making high-quality products.

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    3. Mirin (Japanese Sweet Rice Wine)

    In Japanese cooking, mirin (みりん) is a sweet syrupy liquid commonly used as a flavor and glazing ingredient. It's a rice wine in the same vein as sake, but with a higher sugar content and less alcohol by volume. If you are looking for non-alcohol or halal alternatives, check our Ultimate Guide to Halal Japanese Food. Adding shine, tenderizing meat/seafood, and imparting a particular sweetness are all uses of mirin. Since mirin is a key ingredient in Japanese cuisine because of its high sugar content, it also lends its meal a delightful and attractive shine. Additionally, when mirin is used to cook meat and fish, the alcohol and sugars in it prevent the muscle fibers from collapsing.

    Popular dishes

    Mirin is a key ingredient in sweet teriyaki sauce, which can be brushed on beef, chicken, and salmon, or vegetables. To make a tasty salmon dish using mirin, you can marinate the salmon in 2 parts soy sauce, 2 parts mirin, 1 part rice vinegar, and 1 part brown. After that you can sear the salmon and add 1 part rice vinegar to the marinade then cook it as a sauce. Mirin can also be used as a seasoning in soups and noodle dishes such as ramen, miso soup, soba noodles, sukiyaki, and stir-fried udon noodles.

    salmon mirin Japanese cooking staples

    Notable brands

    There are many brands that sell high quality mirin with varied alcohol contents. However, some of the well known brands are Kikkoman, which is produced with all-natural ingredients and Takara, which is the most trusted hon-mirin brand in Japan.

    5. Dashi

    Dashi (だし, 出汁) is the answer you're looking for if you're curious about what constitutes a truly authentic Japanese flavor. To put it another way, it's the soul of Japanese cooking. The umami flavor of dried bonito flakes and kombu (thick sheets of dried kelp) are the main ingredients in dashi, a basic broth. Bonito can be replaced with dried shiitake mushrooms, which have a similar flavor.

    Popular dishes

    You’ll need dashi to make Miso Soup, Chawanmushi, Sukiyaki, Tempura dipping sauce, Curry Udon, Oyakodon rice bowl, and the list goes on. It is what gives Japanese dishes the distinctive umami flavor.

    Notable brands

    You can always make dashi yourself, but there is also ready-made dashi powder or in some other form that is readily available in online stores and sometimes in local groceries near you. Brands such as Yamaki, Ajinomoto, and Kikkoman provide a varied form of dashi ranging from powder, paste to liquid. If you want to get the most flavor out of dashi stock, a paste offers that intensity while liquid-type such as hon tsuyu (soup base) give it an aggressive flavor that makes a great dashi stock suited for dishes like noodles, stews, stir-fries, nabe hot pots, and as a dressing or seasoning for other non-soup recipes.

    4. Cooking Sake (Japanese Rice Wine)

    The Japanese utilize sake (酒) in a wide variety of foods because the rice wine can do wonders for improving the overall flavor of a dish that it is added to. Adding umami or savory flavor enhances the flavor and depth of the foods, allowing the condiments to penetrate them more easily. Along with soy sauce and mirin, sake is a crucial component in Japanese cooking.

    Popular dishes

    Japanese cooking sake is frequently used in meat and fish marinades, and very often, in sauces, soup, and simmered dishes such as Japanese simmered fish (sakana no nitsuke), glazed salmon and steamed clams.

    Notable brands

    You can always make dashi yourself, but there is also ready-made dashi powder or in some other form that is readily available in online stores and sometimes in local groceries near you. Brands such as Yamaki, Ajinomoto, and Kikkoman provide a varied form of dashi ranging from powder, paste to liquid. If you want to get the most flavor out of dashi stock, a paste offers that intensity while liquid-type such as hon tsuyu (soup base) give it an aggressive flavor that makes a great dashi stock suited for dishes like noodles, stews, stir-fries, nabe hot pots, and as a dressing or seasoning for other non-soup recipes.

    6. Kombu

    Kombu is a type of seaweed often used in Japanese cooking. Hokkaido is home to nearly all of Japan's kombu production, however different regions make it under different names and brands. Makombu (Yamadashi), Rishiri Kombu, Rausu Kombu, and Hidaka Kombu are some of the best-known varieties of kombu (Mitsuishi).

    Popular dishes

    From soup stock, sauces, stews, to vegetable dishes, kombu can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways. Kombu-laced dashi is arguably the most important building block in Japanese cuisine, underpinning a wide swath of preparations: salad dressings, dipping sauces for soba and udon noodles, simmered one-pot dishes, and soups.

    7. Sesame Oil

    Using sesame oil in Asian-inspired foods like stir-fries, noodles, and soups is a staple of the cuisine. The oil is extracted from sesame seeds. The seeds can either be toasted, resulting in a brown oil with a nutty flavor and a strong roasty aroma, or raw, which produces a lighter color oil with a more neutral flavor.

    In order to infuse salad dressings, marinades, and sauces with an aroma and flavor that is nutty, toasted, and full of character, you can use dark sesame oil. Adding a drizzle of sesame oil on fish, chicken, or veggies that have been steamed is another delicious option.

    salad sesame oil japanese cuisine

    Popular dishes

    Aemono is a basic Japanese side dish that is also a staple sesame oil dish. Not only is the flavor of sesame oil detectable to the tongue, but the scent of the oil also elevates the level of umami present in foods in their natural state. Mixing sesame oil with soy sauce to serve as a dipping sauce for grilled meat, sashimi, sushi, or Chinese dumplings is yet another unique way to use sesame oil.

    Notable brands

    There are several brands of sesame oil you can find in most grocery stores in Japan. One of the notable sesame oil brands is Kadoya. Its product, Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil, has been a long selling product in Japan. It is made from selected sesame seeds with no additives or other ingredients added. Another brands such as Maruhon and Kikkoman also

    8. Wasabi

    Wasabi ( ワサビ or 山葵)) is a Japanese horseradish-related root vegetable. Sashimi (raw fish) and sushi are two of the most popular dishes in which it is used as a garnish. Many other Japanese cuisines, on the other hand, include wasabi as an ingredient. Wasabi paste and powder are readily accessible at stores. To make a paste, wasabi powder must be combined with water. As soon as you take a bite of wasabi, you'll notice that the spicy flavor quickly evaporates and leaves no lingering residue in your tongue.

    Aside from adding flavor, nori has a practical purpose, such as securing sushi rice in a roll and protecting your hands from getting sticky while eating onigiri. However, plastic onigiri from the grocery store are more popular nowadays.

    Popular dishes

    Wasabi is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, including those that aren't traditionally Japanese. Use in the same way as common Japanese condiments like miso and soy sauce. It can be used in a variety of recipes, including meat, fish, and salads. The sauce has a mild flavor that goes well with a variety of condiments, including soy sauce. Make your own sauces and experiment with new flavors!

    Notable brands

    Most wasabi brands like S&B, Kameya, and House Foods are selling in the form of paste with a jar or tube, which is very convenient and varies greatly in both taste and texture. Each brand offer different taste and level of spiciness depending on the type of the vegertable and the packaging. However, these 3 brands are very much the most used brand in Japan, so we definitely recommend you to try it!

    9. Panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)

    Panko is just a type of breadcrumb. The word "panko" comes from the Japanese words for "bread" and "flour." A particular white bread (as opposed to whole wheat) is used to make real panko, and it is electrically baked to remove the crusts. To make the slivers or flakes, the bread is pounded to a powder and dried. Panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs, are commonly used in Japanese cuisine as a light breading. Wheat flour, yeast, oil, and salt are some of the most common ingredients in panko. Panko isn't gluten-free, but it's almost always made with vegan ingredients.

    panko katsu japanese cooking

    Popular dishes

    In most recipes, panko is used as a coating before frying and baking, as a crispy topping for baked dishes, or mixed into ingredients as a binder. There are several Japanese recipes that feature this ingredient. Tonkatsu (Japanese fried pork cutlet) is a pork filet that is breaded in panko and deep-fried, and kaki fry (oysters), ebi fry (shrimp), and korokke (mashed potato cakes) are all Japanese recipes that are coated in panko and deep-fried.

    Notable brands

    Panko is one of the common ingredients you can find in Japanese supermarkets. It is commonly placed near the flour section. There are various panko brands that you can easily find within the shelves such as K&K and Sakurai Food. However, you can always opt for store brands if you are looking for cheaper alternatives as panko is basically breadcrumbs which do not require any special ingredients.

    10. Nori (Dried Seaweed)

    For those outside of Japan, dried laver, also known as nori, is probably the most well-known seaweed. It is the kind used to produce sushi rolls. Dried nori is nearly always used for sushi, onigiri (rice balls), ramen toppings, and as a snack, and is offered in sheets or strips to make these dishes.

    Aside from adding flavor, nori has a practical purpose, such as securing sushi rice in a roll and protecting your hands from getting sticky while eating onigiri. However, plastic onigiri from the grocery store are more popular nowadays.

    Popular dishes

    Other kinds of nori, like as kizami nori (shredded nori) and aonori (powdered nori), are used for garnishing dishes like donburi (rice bowls) and okonomiyaki and yakisoba. In addition to bringing a new layer of flavor and texture to the dishes, it also makes the food visually apeealing.

    It's possible to get flavored nori (ajitsuke) using ingredients like soy sauce, salt, and toasted sesame oil. If the term "seaweed" as a food product scares you, start with nori, which has a flavor that almost everyone enjoys!

    Notable brands

    For nori, any brand you can find in the store is fine. However, if you're looking for more specific brand, you can try Nagai Nori brand as it product lines include nori from various area of Japan. They also sells variety of sizes of nori from whole size, which you can cut into any size and use it for various dishes, to a 1/10 size that you can use to wrap your rice with.

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    11. Japanese Mayonnaise (Kewpie Mayo)

    When people talk about "Japanese mayo," they often referr to Kewpie Mayo, a particular brand of mayonnaise. The mayonnaise is packaged in a clear plastic bottle with a red squeeze cap and bears the image of a kewpie doll.  Egg yolks, oil, vinegar, salt, MSG, and a blend of natural spices and flavorings are the only ingredients that are used to make this mayonnaise. It has a sweet and fruity with a strong eggy flavor and a tinge of umami.

    Popular dishes

    Japanese mayonnaise is used in a wide variety of Japanese food such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki, karaage, potato salad, or creamy sesame dressing. It is such a staple of Japanese cooking and definitely can not be substituted with American mayonnaise as it will taste very differently. If you prefer your food to be spicy, Japanese mayo can be blended with hot sauce or sriracha to make a spicy mayo. This mayo also is often served with age-gyoza

    Notable brands

    Kewpie Mayonnaise is the mayonnaise of Japan. It is sold in a unique tube bottle with a red cap. You can find it anywhere in any grocery stores and even convenience stores in Japan.

    12. Curry Roux

    Japanese curry sauce mix or curry roux (カレールー), allows you to cook up the stew-like curry consists of meat & vegetables in the shortest time. The boxed curry roux often comes in a distinctive block that resembles a thick chocolate bar. To make individual servings, you break off cubes from the thick chocolate bar-like block of curry roux.

    Popular dishes

    Curry roux is the main ingredient of Japanese curry, which is also known as curry rice. It is the ultimate comfort dish and the staple meal for many Japanese households because it’s so easy to make at home. Japanese curry usually include carrots, potatoes, onions and meat. It is also often topped with a cutlet or cheese or some other unique and interesting combinations. Other than curry rice, curry roux can also be used for instant pot curry with vegetables, soup curry, beef curry, katsu curry, curry udon, and many more!

    Notable brands

    Some of the common brands of curry roux include S&B’s Golden Curry, House’s Vermont Curry, Java Curry, and Torokeru Curry. There are multiple heat levels of curry roux you can choose depending on your preference from mild, medium hot, and hot.

    curry rice japanese food

    13. Shichimi Togarashi

    Shichimi togarashi is a spice blend that features hot red chilies like sansho pepper, citrus peel, sesame seeds, toasted nori, and ginger, and is used as a general seasoning for everything from soups like ramen and udon to vegetables, or sprinkled over roasted meats such as gyudon (beef bowl)

    Popular dishes

    There are various ways to use shichimi togarashi in your cooking such as sprinkle it over soups, gyudon (beef bowl) and noodles. Additionally, you can use it as a marinade or as part of a crust on seafood and vegetables. Also, add shichimi togarashi to your tempura batter to add a little bit of heat into your food.

    Notable brands

    The majority of supermarkets in Japan sold both the Shichimi Togarashi from S&B and House Foods, which are actually 2 major Japanese food companies well-known for their spice products.

    14. Rice Vinegar

    Rice vinegar (米酢) is milder, sweeter, and less stringent than western vinegar. It can help to lift up a dish by lending a mildly tangy, sourish yet fruity sweetness to the dish. Just like western vinegar, we use rice vinegar in Japanese-style salads, pickles, and various sauces

    sushi japanese food culture rice vinegar

    Popular dishes

    Rice vinegar is an essential ingredient in Sushi Rice and Sunomono (cucumber salad). Also, rice vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties and this is why it is often used in Japanese dishes that include raw fish, seafood, and meat such as yakitori.

    Notable brands

    There are many options of rice vinegar to choose from, such as Marukan, Kikkoman, Nakano, and Mizkan. Depending on what you’re looking for, Kikkoman rice vinegar is certified kosher and has a milder flavor than other vinegars, with a hint of sweetness from the rice. Marukan offers a gluten-free and non-GMO rice vinegar option. Mizkan is a national brand whose product is brewed using only domestic brown rice that contains abundant umami ingredients derived from brown rice.

     

    15. Rayu (Japanese Chili Oil)

    Rāyu (ラー油) is Japanese chili oil. This delicious Japanese condiment is used to introduce smoky heat to things like ramen, gyoza dipping sauce, soups or even pasta.

    Popular dishes

    Rayu can be used to add flavor to your favorite Japanese dishes such as gyoza dumplings, ramen or soups, and can also be used as a cooking ingredient to enhance the flavor of dishes. Furthermore, It can also be used for Chinese dishes, such as dim-sum sauce, or Chinese dressing, in addition to a topping for sushi rolls or seasoning for fried meat and vegetables.

    Notable brands

    The most common brand for Rayu in Japan is S&B, and you'll usually find a bottle or dish of the oil in ramen restaurants across the country.

    5 Essential Japanese Cooking Tools in your Kitchen

    1. Electric Rice Cooker

    Electric rice cookers make cooking Japanese rice effortless and consistently yield nicely cooked rice. Once you've turned on the rice cooker, all you have to do is wait for it to finish cooking your rice. You can cook the rest of your meal without having to keep an eye on the rice cooker. In a Japanese home, it is a common electrical appliance. When it comes to making rice at home, it's best to invest in a nice rice cooker rather than constantly buying pre-cooked rice.

    2. Drop Lid (Otoshibuta)

    The otoshibuta (drop lid) is commonly used for simmering meals and is placed directly on top of the food. It keeps the materials in place while also distributing the heat uniformly. To save both space and money, look for an otoshibuta that can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of pot sizes.

    3. Yukihira Nabe

    Soups, stews, simmered dishes, and Japanese sweets like red beans can all be prepared in the versatile stainless steel Yukihira nabe pot. Aluminum, steel, or copper are the most common metals used. The Yukihira nabe heats up quickly since it is thin and features spouts on both sides for convenient pouring. The interior of the pot also features measurement marks so you can always know if you have the correct amount of liquid or food in there.

    4. Fine Mesh Skimmer

    A fine mesh skimmer can be used to get rid of the scum and fat on the surface of dashi broth, soups, and stews. It contributes to the meal achieving a clean appearance as well as a refined taste. Also, it's an excellent tool for removing panko breadcrumbs from deep-fried food.

    5. Ceramic Grater

    The ceramic grater is great for grating ginger, daikon, and onion. The rim of the bowl has a ring around it to catch juices, which are frequently used to flavor food. No maintenance is required for ceramic tips, which are extremely durable.

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    Where to Buy the Best Japanese Cooking Ingredients in Japan?

    Supermarket: Affordable and Well-Stocked Option

    Japan offers a variety of grocery store chains and supermarkets where you can easily do most of your grocery shopping. Most grocery store chains such as AEON, Life Supermarket, Ito-Yokado, and Gyomu Super carry all the staples of Japanese cooking ingredients and condiments. You can easily compare the price and brands before buying the ingredients as there are a lot of options you can choose. It is the best option if you’re looking to finish stocking up your kitchen in one trip. Also check our most comprehensive Ultimate Guide to Shopping in a Japanese Supermarket if you want to know more about Japanese supermarket!

    gorcery store japan

    Convenience Store: Available 24/7 in Every Corner

    If there are no supermarkets near where you live, or you are looking for a specific ingredient to fulfill your midnight craving for Japanese cooking, don’t worry! Head to your nearest convenience store as you can also find various Japanese cooking ingredients there. Though there might not be a wide variety of brands you can choose, it is still a good option if you’re in a pinch.

    Online: Delivered to your Front Door

    Nowadays, you can easily do your groceries from the comfort of your own home. Grocery store chains and supermarkets such as Ito-Yokado and AEON also offer online delivery so you can have your groceries delivered right to your front door. Online marketplace such as Rakuten is also available, which is a great alternative for those who prefer to shop their groceries online.

    Other Best Resources to Learn Japanese Cooking

    Check out thousands of Japanese cooking recipes on Cookpad

    CookPad is a Japanese recipe website with real, Japanese home-style recipes submitted by real Japanese home-cooks. Its recipes prioritize practicality, and are mostly created by amateur home cooks. The site features a simple layout design and the step-by-step photos that accompany most recipes. You can simply make your account and browse thousands of Japanese recipes available. While cookbooks typically provide only one take on a recipe, Cookpad offers scores of options.

    Follow step by step Japanese cooking tutorial on YouTube

    Whether you're an aspiring chef or a novice looking to pick up some new kitchen techniques, YouTube is a great source for instructional videos related to cooking. The best part is that these videos are completely free! Check out Cooking with Dog, which is a Japanese cooking show web series that features a Japanese woman known only as "Chef" who prepares the featured dish while her toy poodle Francis narrates the process. The channel provides many recipes with very clear instructions that are easy to understand for beginners. 

    If you are familiar with the website Japanese Cooking 101, they also have a YouTube channel for easy-to-follow video recipes that really shows the basics of Japanese cooking. The account Runnyrunny999 on YouTube which is run by a Japanese name Taro or Runny, is also a great account to check out if you are looking for easy Japanese recipes.

    Learn the basics of Japanese Cooking from books

    Do you think the best way to learn is to learn from the basics and foundations? Say no more! Here are the best 3 books you can read to learn about Japanese cooking and more. First, Simply Japanese: Modern Cooking for the Healthy Home, by Yoko Arimoto. The author has published about 100 recipe books in Japan and this one is the first to be translated in english. 

    Second, My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family by Debra Samuel. All of the recipes in this book come with stories and cooking tips to help bring the sights, aromas and tastes of authentic Japanese cooking into your kitchen. Lastly, this book titled Japanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji. This is a great book not only for recipes but also for those who want to know more about the ingredients, traditions, and techniques involved in cooking Japanese food.

    cooking in japan

    Start your cooking journey now!

    So, it seems that you bow already know the staples of Japanese cooking and ready for your learning journey. If you are currently trying to cook more at home and save money, the transition from takeout to homemade meals seems impossible but it's not! Learning to cook your own food requires dedication and practice and the best way to learn to cook is to tackle one dish at a time. You can definitely start stocking up your pantry or simply start with what you have right now! Also check our Ultimate Guide to Okinawan Food and Cuisine for those of you who are interested in the diversity of Japanese cooking.

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