Japanese cuisine is vastly different in Japan from what you may see in America. In the U.S. it has been westernized and that can be fattening for you. Getting back to the basics of proper cuisine for the culture, here are five recipes that will introduce you to Japanese cooking in a healthy way.
The main staples of a Japanese diet are rice, fish, vegetables, soy, fruit, noodles and the famous green tea. That gives you a lot to choose from when it comes to preparing your meals. Most recipes can be adapted to different tastes. For example, if you don’t like radishes, substitute shiitake mushrooms or bamboo shoots.
Recipe 1 – Miso soup
This soup is a basic staple of the diet. It is made with soy paste that has been fermented. The soy paste is mixed in a broth called dashi. It can be made from various fish or seaweed. You could probably buy dashi stock along with the miso at any Asian market. Create it at home and add other vegetables that you like to adjust the taste. Soups are eaten at all three meals. The soy provides protein with very little fat.
Recipe 2 – Beef and broccoli
This is not the type that you are used to seeing in America. The beef is lean and cut into thin strips. Using a sharp knife and a frozen piece of meat allows you to cut as thin as you need and remove all excess fat. The meat is cooked with very little oil. The broccoli is steamed. The beef is laid over the rice so that it can soak up the juices.
Recipe 3 – Vegetable saut� (kinpira)
Any vegetables can be added to this dish. The main two are burdock and carrots. Burdock is a root vegetable much like carrots. They can be purchased as an Asian market. Both are cut into matchstick slices for ease and thorough cooking. The addition of soy sauce, sesame seeds and sake help to give the vegetables a rich flavor. Serve with rice.
Recipe 4 – Stir fry
This recipe requires very little oil in the wok. You can use a variety of vegetables: mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, carrots and more traditional Japanese vegetables. One of the sauces they love to add is soy sauce. It infuses the food so no additional condiments are needed. Eat with rice only or add seafood like shrimp.
Recipe 5 – Poached fruit
Dessert is usually a simple dish of sliced fruit. You can take an Asian pear and poach it in green tea infused with ginger and almond. The pears are poached in boiling tea with the added spices and sugar. You can serve this alone or with some green tea ice cream or sorbet.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to add the Japanese staples to your lifestyle. Adopting some simpler ways of eating can help keep you healthy and excite your taste buds.