Easy Traditional Japanese Recipes

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When it comes to recipes, you don’t find them much more diverse than Japanese. Fresh ingredients, rice, and fish mean that it is full of good things too! We’ve come up with a list of Japanese recipes for you to try. Some are old classics, but there are one or two surprises hidden too. Such as? Well, you’ll just have to have a read-through and find them. Prepare to be amazed!

japanese recipes

Easy Japanese Recipes To Make At Home

1. Japanese Cheesecake

Admit it, you thought we were going start with sushi, didn’t you? Au contraire, we said we had surprises in store, and we meant it. This isn’t like western cheesecake with a crispy biscuit base, oh no! This is light, bouncy, and completely delicious. Think of it more like a pudding than a cake, and you are halfway there. The cake itself isn’t overly sweet. It is what you top it with that makes all the difference. We tend to go for a simple layer of powder sugar and perhaps a little fruit syrup!

2. Souffle Pancakes

Forget boring, floppy European-style pancakes. When we get up in the morning, we want something light and airy. Imagine the texture of a souffle with all of the taste of a pancake. That’s what we are talking about! We get a really fluffy batter by folding in beaten egg whites, be careful not to knock out all of the air with overmixing! From there, you can serve these fluffy treats with your usual pancake sides

3. Japanese Cream Soda

We don’t know why but we imagine these being served in some weird arcade style bar in the heart of Tokyo. This drink is bright green and topped with a layer of creamy vanilla Ice cream. We use melon flavored syrup mixed with club soda. This is what makes this drink so refreshing (it’s also sickly sweet… We bet you won’t be able to drink more than one in a single sitting).

4. Japanese Omelette

If you are looking for layers of flavor, then this could be the one for you. Japanese omelets are cooked in thin stacks before being rolled together. This recipe is slightly unusual as it uses a little sugar and dashi. If you want to sneak in a portion of greens, it is traditionally made with nori… Also known as seaweed.

5. Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

No list of Japanese recipes would be complete without mentioning teriyaki at least once! If you haven’t tried it, you are in for a treat. Teriyaki is sticky and a fine mix of both sweet and savory. It has a slight umami taste that works well with a variety of meats. The trick to teriyaki is to cook it until thick, but not too thick. Oh, and make sure you give the pan a good soak as it is really hard to get off! 

6. Baked Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu is served all over Japan. It is the Asian equivalent of a schnitzel. A flattened pork fillet is rolled in fine panko breadcrumbs before being fried to golden brown perfection. We serve this with a leafy green salad and perhaps a little Asian dipping sauce. It’s also super nice to put between a floury burger bun for a handheld treat! 

7. Japanese Curry Buns

Japanese buns are really what you’d consider bread. Think of these like Japanese hand pies. Crispy on the outside and full of oozy Japanese curry on the inside! To get the best results, you’ll have to make the dough yourself. Oh, and make sure to fry them. That way, you can ensure a really crunchy outer layer. 

8. Potato Korokke

What do you get if you cross a potato with a dumpling? The answer is, of course, potato korokke. These deep fried balls are delicious as a main meal, a side dish, or finger food at a buffet. The basis of this recipe is mashed potato, paired with pulled beef and some tasty onions. We like to cook ours in batches. That way, they don’t turn soggy in an overcrowded pan. Make more than you need because these vanish in the blink of an eye.

9. Miso Soup

Miso soup is great as it means you get to enjoy Japanese food without all of the calories. It is really light and mild in flavor. As a result, you can pair it with all sorts of dishes. If you want to keep it vegetarian, add a few extras to increase the flavor. Our favorite is a mixture of spring onions and toasted sesame seeds. If you have any leftover chicken, shred it and add it for a light yet tasty soup.

10. Sushi Rolls

Alright, we give in. Here’s the sushi we have promised. No list of Japanese recipes would be complete without a little raw fish. How you serve it is up to you. Go for nigiri rolls, sashimi and tekami. Making sushi rolls is a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. The secret is to get your rice just right. We prefer to make our rolls by hand. We find that the machines are just too fiddly (and they spoil the fun).

11. Japanese Spiced Chicken Wings

Forget boring boffola wings. Japanese wings are where it is at! These wings are sticky, a little spicy, and we guarantee that you will be licking your fingers by the end. This recipe contains lots of Asian flavors. Salt, spice, sour, and everything in between. These are a great make-ahead dish, and you can even freeze them in portions once they are cooked for a treat any night of the week!

12. Salmon Teriyaki

Fresh fish is a cornerstone of many Japanese recipes. Salmon is easy to get hold of and works so well with teriyaki. You don’t want to overcook the teriyaki sauce, or you are going to have a nightmare getting it off the pan. Salmon works really well as it barely needs cooking for it to be delicious. This is great for a dinner party as it takes a couple of minutes to make and only uses 4 ingredients. It looks super classy when served too!

13. Kani Salad

Kelp noodles, crab meat, and a simple dressing make this salad fresh, light, and supremely tasty. We mix siracha with mayo and lemon juice before adding a good old splash of Asian tasting sesame oil. This light and fresh noodle salad are great as a side dish or for lunch if you are keeping an eye on your figure.

14. Edamame Beans

Edamame beans are great to serve as an appetizer, but if we are honest, they are our go-to snack of choice when we are trying to be good on movie nights. They can be a little bland, so we have decided to spice them up. How? We add sambal oeleck, a spicy chili paste. It’s super spicy and a little bit salty too. Serve with an empty bowl to discard the husks. 

15. Oshitashi

Let’s face it. It can be hard to get the kids to eat their greens. You won’t have a problem with this recipe. This recipe is pretty simple. Parboiled spinach, some golden toasted sesame seeds, and a little pickled plum are about all it takes. Be sure to have a bowl of iced water close to hand, then you can stop the spinach in its tracks before it overcooks.

16. Japanese Cucumber Salad

Now, don’t get confused. You don’t have to use Japanese cucumber. Any normal cucumber will do. It is how it’s prepared that gives it its name. The liquid used in this recipe is part sauce and part pickling liquid and consists of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. The result is something that is fresh, tangy, and really tasty!

17. Fried Rice

panda express fried rice recipe

Yakemeshi? That’s the Japanese name for this dish, but saying ‘fried rice’ won’t have your dinner guests scratching their heads in wonder. This is commonly eaten in Japan… For breakfast! The trick to getting this recipe spot on is to use rice that has been allowed to cool and dry out slightly. This stops the rice from sticking and forming a stodgy mess in the wok. We pad the rice out with tasty ingredients like cubes of ham and crunchy green onions.

18. Onigiri

If you don’t speak Japanese, no problem. Let’s make it simple for you… You can call them Japanese rice balls. They are made using sticky sushi rice. This allows them to keep their shape. They aren’t boring either. In Japan, it is common to mix this rice with other ‘fillings’ before rolling them into whatever shape you desire. Our favorites are fish eggs, small slivers of smoked fish, or occasionally a little sticky mango.

19. Sushi Pizza

This is a variation on an old classic. The pizza ‘base’ isn’t dough. In fact, it is sushi rice, pressed flat and covered in a thin layer of tempura batter before being deep-fried. These golden rectangles are then topped with a mix of smoked fish and a herby oil. 

20. Miso Carrots

While carrots are fine on their own, we like to spice ours up by adding a glaze of miso paste, garlic, and cayenne. The miso adds a savory and slightly sweet note to these carrots. To get a golden brown glaze, we bake them in the oven for about 40 minutes.

21. Udon Noodles

Udon noodles are fat, thick, and really filling. They are just perfect for soaking up savory Japanese sauces. You can whip up a tasty noodle stir fry in under 10 minutes. A top tip is to cook your noodles then plunge them into cold water. This keeps them nice and fresh and stops them from becoming overcooked.

22. Saki

It isn’t all about the food, you know. Sake is fermented rice wine, served warm with Japanese food. It is traditionally served in a small stoneware jug, and each person serves themselves. It is an acquired taste, to be honest. Still, for something that will really get a Japanese dinner party going, there is nothing better.

23. Miso Chicken

Chicken breast is alright, but it can get a little bland… Until you try this! Miso makes this chicken more savory and slightly salty. Throw in a little helping of ginger and garlic, along with the smallest pinch of red chili flakes, and you’ve got yourself a midweek dinner to die for! If you make too much, reserve some shredded chicken breast for use in miso soup the next day.

24. Wafu Spaghetti

This recipe is great because it needs only store cupboard ingredients to make. We like to combine thick noodles with a mixture of canned tuna, ketchup, milk, and some mustard. We loosen and freshen the sauce with a small splash of lemon juice. From there, it is about heaping piles of noodles onto your plate before falling into a carb coma.

25. Japanese Rice

benihana fried rice

Japanese rice is a little different from the other kinds found in Asian cooking. You are best using sushi rice (but you can also use risotto rice if you are struggling). This is great for eating with chopsticks as the rice naturally tends to form tiny clumps… Or you could just grab a spoon and dig into the bowl like we do.

26. Teriyaki Sauce

You’ll have seen teriyaki features elsewhere on our list, but instead of being specific, why not whip up a batch to use with any dish you choose. It is so versatile. The best thing is that it doesn’t take much time or effort to prepare. Add a cup of soy sauce along with two tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of dried chili, and crushed garlic clove, and you are pretty much there.

Conclusion

Most Japanese recipes are really easy to cook, and they hinge on a few commonly found ingredients. There is plenty of soy, sesame oil, and miso, so next time you are at the store, be sure to pick some up. From there, you’ll probably find most of the ingredients lurking in the kitchen. What is your favorite Japanese dish? Let us know in the comments.

26 Easy Japanese Recipes

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Laura Ritterman

Ingredients

  • Japanese Cheesecake

  • Souffle Pancakes

  • Japanese Cream Soda

  • Japanese Omelette

  • Teriyaki Chicken

  • Baked Tonkatsu

  • Japanese Curry Buns

  • Potato Korokke

  • Miso Soup

  • Sushi Rolls

  • Japanese Spiced Chicken Wings

  • Salmon Teriyaki

  • Kani Salad

  • Edamame Beans

  • Oshitashi

  • Japanese Cucumber Salad

  • Fried Rice

  • Onigiri

  • Sushi Pizza

  • Miso Carrots

  • Udon Noodles

  • Saki

  • Miso Chicken

  • Wafu Spaghetti

  • Japanese Rice

  • Teriyaki Sauce

Directions

  • Choose your favorite Japanese food dish from the list
  • Collect the ingredients to make your dish
  • Serve and enjoy

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