Getting ready to prepare and enjoy your first Japanese meal can be exciting and a bit intimidating, especially if you aren’t completely familiar with the ingredients that go into making it. While a lot of people associate raw fish and sushi with Japanese cuisine, and both are definitely staples of Japan, there is also many many other incredible dishes to enjoy. To get things started and all of our readers a bit more familiar with Japanese cuisine we thought we would go over the different Japanese ingredients to become acquainted with.
Japanese Cuisine Ingredients
- Medium Grain Rice (a.k.a. Sushi rice)
- White Miso (Shiro Miso)
- Konbu/Nori Seaweed
- Sake (drinking & cooking!)
- Mirin (sweet liquor made from rice)
- Rice Vinegar
- Sesame Seeds & Oil
- Fresh Ginger
- Bonito Flakes (Katsu Bushi)
- Japanese Soy Sauce
While there are definitely more ingredients that are used in Japanese cooking these are the basic and most often used. The great thing about Japanese cuisine is that it can be altered a bit to compliment pretty much all eating preferences. For example, Japanese use tofu in many of their dishes. This is perfect for those that are vegan or vegetarian. If a recipe should call for chicken, beef or fish tofu can be substituted and the dish will still be delicious.
Another factor I like about Japanese cuisine is that is relatively healthy fair. There are not a lot of oils or additives when it comes to Japanese recipes, which is great for our health.
A few other important components of Japanese recipes include:
- Dashi- japanese soup stock used in MANY japanese recipes
- Miso Soup- Great beginning to a meal & also Japan’s traditional soup
- Teriyaki Sauce- you can even make your own! Great for a fish/meat/tofu marinade
Simply exploring Japanese cooking and different recipes is always great for those first trying Japanese cuisine, so that you may ease your way into the different flavors that are brought forth in japanese dishes. You never know you just might find your new favorite meal and become one heck of a Japanese Chef!