Quick, healthy, and filling! Yosenabe is a Japanese-style hot pot that is commonly made with vegetables, seafood, and meat. This vegan-friendly recipe uses a vegan dashi soup base and kuzukiri noodles to make great flavour and texture!

The best part of hot pot is that it’s super easy and versatile! For this recipe, make your soup base by adding dashi to a pot of water over heat. Add soy sauce, sake, and mirin. Then, chop the vegetables. Once the water is boiling, add the vegetables and kuzukiri noodles to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve! This recipe is vegan-based, but you can easily rearrange the ingredients to add your favourite seafood, meats, noodles, and other vegetables!

What is vegan dashi?

This vegan dashi powder is made with 100% natural ingredients. Its base is made with a traditional blend of umami-rich Japanese kombu (kelp) and shiitake mushrooms. These ingredients are responsible for creating savoury, sweet, and earthy flavours in Japanese broths! You can also use regular dashi powder for this recipe, which generally uses smoked fish as its base ingredient.

What is kuzukiri?

Kuzukiri is a clear noodle made from the starch of kudzu root. It has a translucent, silky appearance and a smooth, jelly-like texture. Although it does not have much flavour, kuzukiri is enjoyed in hot pots for its mochi-like chewiness!

The kuzukiri starch (kuzuko) is considered the highest grade of starch in Japan and it is commonly used to make wagashi (Japanese sweets). The kudzu root is obtained from 30-50 year old vine roots in the mountainous areas of Japan. The root is prepared through a long and delicate process where a small amount is extracted into starch. This clear noodle is enjoyed in hot pots during the winter, but it is also appreciated as a cold dessert in the summer!

This vegan stir fry includes koya dofu which has been coated in an umami richginger and garlic soy sauce and combined with fresh vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce.

Chicken nanban is a deliciously tender deep-fried chicken marinated in a sweet and sour sauce. The dish is often topped with a heaping of creamy tartar sauce before serving. Rather than oily and crispy, this deep-fried chicken is light and fluffy. The chicken is so juicy and tender that it almost has a buttery mouthfeel. Combine this texture with the sweet and sour marinade and the creamy tartar sauce, and you’ll have an incredible juicy flavour bomb!

Although it sounds like a mouthful, the dish in itself is quite simple! First cut chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces (smaller pieces help cook the chicken evenly). Dip in batter and deep fry until cooked. Then, soak the chicken in the sweet and sour sauce, consisting of soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Top off the chicken with tartar sauce. This dish is often served with thinly sliced cabbage and plain rice!

The Origins of Chicken Nanban

This dish originates from the Miyazaki prefecture and it is thought to be inspired by Portuguese cuisine. Historically, nanban used to be a term to describe the exciting and exotic imported goods coming into Japan. This word was then adapted to describe dishes with European influence. The nanban sauce comes from nanbanzuke, which is a type of Japanese sweet and sour marinade used for deep fried fish. The Japanese sauce consists of vinegar, rice wine, carrots, and chilli peppers. Its flavour is considered to be similar to the Portuguese fish dish, Escabeche. Two chefs from Miyazaki were inspired to adapt this nanban sauce to make a tangy fried chicken dish and it eventually became the prefecture’s specialty! As such, this recipe is Miyazaki’s soul food in the comfort of your home!

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake made with a cabbage-based batter and all sorts of unique toppings! It is served with a Worcester-based sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and bonito flakes on top. Similar to pizza, it is a fun, quick, and tasty dish that’s great for solo dining, group gatherings, and home parties!

In Japan, you can find this dish in okonomiyaki specialty restaurants and in Japanese households! This okonomiyaki recipe is both gluten-free and vegan.

Simply combine the rice-flour mix, water, shredded cabbage, and cooked toppings. Mix until combined and then pour the batter onto a heated skillet. Flip and let the other side cook through. Top with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), and ao nori (green seaweed) to serve! 

What is Okonomiyaki?

“Okonomi” translates to “as you like” and “yaki” means to grill. Similarly to the name, okonomiyaki comes in a variety of toppings and batter ingredients that can be used to make “as you like”! The pancake batter typically has a base of flour, water, and shredded cabbage. Some may add dashi, cornstarch, eggs, yamaimo (mountain potato), or yakisoba (fried noodles) to add texture and taste. If you increase the cabbage to flour ratio, it also becomes a fun and healthy way to eat more vegetables! Once your batter is ready, you can add your favourite topping combinations into the batter!

Topping Combinations:

There are so many ways to enjoy okonomiyaki and you can easily arrange this recipe with your favourite toppings! Here are a few common topping ideas:

  1. Seafood style: squid, shrimp, octopus
  2. Meat style: thinly sliced pork, beef, chicken
  3. Mentaiko, cheese, and mochi

You can also try mixing the combinations (ie. shrimp and pork) or make it vegan by adding your favourite vegetables!

This umami-filled beef dish is brightened by a secret ingredient: sansho! 

Sansho (kona-zansho in Japanese) is a variety of green peppercorn with a strong citrus flavor. Taste-wise, it has an aroma comparable to yuzu or grapefruit and is sometimes likened to “lemon pepper” spice blends. Spice-wise, it is far milder than Szechuan peppercorns but produces a similar tingly sensation. Just like black pepper, sansho is usually sold either as ground pepper or as whole peppercorns. If you’re having trouble finding sansho tsukudani or whole sansho peppercorns at your local Japanese market, substitute a dash of ground sansho pepper instead! 

For this sansho simmered beef recipe, you will need thinly-sliced beef. Try looking for “shabu shabu cut” or “hot pot cut” at an Asian grocery store. However, if you can’t find it, you can instead slice a block of beef by hand. The best cuts for this recipe are rib eye, sirloin, or topside steak. 

For the simmering sauce, combine together sake, mirin, sugar, soy sauce, and sansho in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to form bubbles, add in your beef and stir until cooked through. The sugars in the sauce will caramelize and become a dark brown color, coating the beef in a lightly-sweet sauce. Lastly, add in your thinly-sliced mushrooms and onions. These two ingredients are a classic pairing for beef in Japanese cuisine. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender and the onions are translucent. 

Serve sansho simmered beef donburi-style over a steaming bowl of rice and let the sweet and salty sauce soak through each grain of rice. The rich flavor of the succulent beef and the acidic freshness of sansho pepper make for a unique and delicious combination.

Zosui is a simple soy sauce-flavored rice soup often prepared for those feeling under the weather. Made with just a few ingredients, it is a nourishing, hydrating, and easily digestible soup that’s perfect for cold days. 

Compared to other Japanese rice porridges such as okayu or ojiya, zosui is characterized by its shorter cooking time that leaves the individual rice grains in tact. Zosui looks like rice floating in clear broth, while other porridges become one homogenous mixture. 

To keep our zosui vegan, we use vegan dashi. We recommend this vegan dashi, which is made from a combination of umami-rich ingredients including konbu (dried kelp), shiitake mushrooms, beet sugar, and salt. When dissolved in water, these ingredients create a full-flavored stock in just seconds! 

We top our zosui with fried sendai-fu, otherwise known as wheat gluten. Wheat gluten is made from what remains after the starch has been removed from wheat, which is then shaped into a baguette-like shape, sliced into pieces, and lightly fried. With little taste of its own, sendai-fu absorbs the flavors of the sauces and seasonings it is paired with.

To make sendai-fu zosui, simply combine dashi stock and soy sauce together in a pot or nabe and heat for a few minutes. Then, add in your cold cooked rice and sendai-fu and boil until the rice becomes soft and the sendai-fu rehydrates. If you’d like to add in extra ingredients such as small pieces of mushroom, vegetable, or protein, toss them in the soup during this step. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste and serve steaming hot.

The next time you feel a cold coming on, try warding it off with a warm bowl of sendai-fu zosui!

Takikomi gohan, which literally translates to “cooked with rice”, refers to a style of Japanese rice dish in which short-grain rice is seasoned with soy sauce and dashi and cooked with other ingredients such as vegetables, mushrooms, meats, and seafood. 

Takikomi gohan is commonly eaten in autumn, as autumn is the season when the rice harvest occurs. As a result, takikomi gohan often features seasonal ingredients like mushrooms, chestnuts, and sweet potatoes. In this recipe, we make use of a dried mountain vegetable mix, but you can also add fresh ingredients such as carrots, burdock root, bamboo shoots, peas, and hijiki seaweed. Feel free to mix and match to create your own mixed rice creation! 

Making takikomi gohan is simple. Start by washing your rice, then soaking it in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your mixed mountain vegetables according to package instructions and julienne the aburaage (deep-fried tofu) or fu (wheat gluten) and kikurage (wood ear mushrooms) into thin strips. Drain the rice and place it in your preferred cooking vessel - you can make takikomi gohan in a rice cooker or on the stovetop! Add shiitake dashi, soy sauce, and miri, then add water until there is enough liquid to cook the rice. Next, layer your prepared mountain vegetable mix, aburaage or fu, and kikurage over the top, but don’t mix them in. Mixing the ingredients in can interrupt how evenly the rice cooks. Lastly, cook the rice as usual, either by following the rice cooker instructions or steaming on the stovetop until all the liquid has evaporated. 

Once the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a rice paddle and serve hot!

Shabu shabu, an onomatopoeia for “swish swish”, is a Japanese communal hotpot dish consisting of thinly-sliced meat and vegetables boiled in dashi-based soup. A unique and interactive way to dine with family and friends, everyone cooks together when eating shabu shabu! 

Since shabu shabu is cooked directly at the dinner table, preparing it simply includes two main steps: making broth and arranging raw ingredients on platters. 

To make shabu shabu broth, soak konbu (dried kelp) in a pot of water for at least two hours. The konbu will flavor the water as it reconstitutes, turning it into umami-rich konbu dashi. Remove the rehydrated kelp from the pot and set it aside for future use, such as being repurposed into konbu tsukudani. Next, add a pack of awase dashi into the stock and simmer for 6-7 minutes before removing. Lastly, add in soy sauce and mirin to provide more depth of flavor. Your shabu shabu broth is ready! 

Meanwhile, arrange your raw meat and vegetables on separate platters. In this recipe, we use thinly-sliced pork belly and pork loin as our protein options, but thinly-sliced beef is also a popular choice. You can also use seafood like shrimp, crab sticks, or squid. For vegetables, we use onions, cabbage, and chrysanthemum leaves, but the options are endless. Popular shabu shabu ingredients also include mushrooms, long green onion, carrots, tofu, any leafy green, and udon noodles. Feel free to mix and match depending on your guests’ preferences! 

To enjoy shabu shabu at the dinner table, set up a portable gas stove and place your pot of broth over the flames. Take turns placing ingredients into the boiling soup and fishing them out to enjoy right away. Shabu shabu is a great way to bring people together to share a home-cooked meal. 

A staple of Hawaiian cuisine, poke bowls are a fresh and tasty dish consisting of raw fish served atop rice. Poke means “slice” or “cut into chunks” in Hawaiian, referring to the cubed fish. 

When shopping for fish to turn into poke, make sure to purchase “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade” fish. This refers to fish that the producer has deemed safe to consume raw. While we use tuna in this recipe, you can substitute it for any fish or seafood of your choice. Salmon, shrimp, and tako (octopus) are all commonly used for poke. 

Start by cutting your fish and avocado into 1.5cm cubes and set them aside in a bowl. Then, prepare a light but flavorful sauce by mixing together mentsuyu, olive oil, and lemon juice. The mentsuyu provides umami, the olive oil provides richness, and the lemon juice provides brightness, creating a well-balanced sauce that enhances the natural flavors of the fish. Pour the sauce over the cubed fish and avocado and stir to combine. Then, spoon the poke mixture on top of cooked rice and garnish with nori strips (dried seaweed). At this stage, feel free to add any extra toppings of your choice. Classic poke bowl toppings include sesame seeds, furikake, wakame, fish roe, and white or green onion, but less traditional ingredients like cucumber, edamame, mango, jalapeno, corn, and carrots are also gaining popularity. 

Refreshing, healthy, and delicious, poke bowls are an excellent way to enjoy fresh fish and seasonal produce.

Oyakodon (literally “parent-and-child rice bowl”) is a popular variety of donburi (rice bowl) that makes for the perfect easy lunch or dinner. Found in diners, cafeterias, and home kitchens throughout Japan, this iconic dish can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore, it is prepared using just one pan, making it a great, minimal clean-up option for busy days. 

Oyakodon gets its interesting name from its two central ingredients: chicken (parent) and egg (child). Both the chicken and egg are simmered in umami-rich dashi and soy sauce, then served on top of a hot bowl of rice. 

To make oyakodon, start by heating water in a pot over medium heat until boiling. Then, add in bite-sized pieces of chicken thigh and thinly sliced onions and continue boiling until cooked through. Next, flavor the cooking liquid by adding sugar, soy sauce, mirin, a pinch of salt, and mentsuyu. This combination of classic Japanese condiments forms a slightly sweet and deeply savory sauce. 

In a separate bowl, crack two eggs and whisk them until well-combined, then drizzle the whisked eggs over the chicken and onions. The eggs will bubble and absorb the sauce, becoming light and flavor-packed. Cover with a lid and steam until the egg is done to your liking - some prefer the egg on the runnier side, while others like to wait until it is firm. To serve, slide the cooked chicken and egg onto a bowl of steamed rice and garnish with green onions and shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili flakes). 

Complete with tender chicken, soft creamy egg, and fluffy rice, oyakodon is a truly comforting dish.

Takikomi gohan, which literally translates to “cooked with rice”, refers to a style of Japanese rice dish in which short-grain rice is seasoned with soy sauce and dashi and cooked with other ingredients such as vegetables, mushrooms, meats, and seafood. 

Takikomi gohan is commonly eaten in autumn, as autumn is the season when the rice harvest occurs. As a result, takikomi gohan often features seasonal ingredients like mushrooms, chestnuts, and sweet potatoes. In this recipe, we keep things simple by sticking to mushrooms, but you can also add ingredients such as carrots, burdock root, bamboo shoots, peas, hijiki seaweed, and abuurage (fried tofu). Feel free to mix and match to create your own mixed rice creation! 

Our version of takikomi gohan uses dried shiitake mushrooms, which are known for their earthy and umami flavor. Soak them in water for at least 15 minutes to rehydrate, then slice them into thin pieces. The soaking liquid is now shiitake dashi! Combine the shiitake dashi into a saucepan with sake, mirin, and soy sauce, then simmer the thinly-sliced shiitake mushrooms in the liquid for five minutes. If you are using additional vegetables, add them to the pan during this step. The ingredients will soak up the liquid and become imbued with a slightly sweet and savory flavor. Then, add in either a pinch of katsuobushi (bonito flakes) or dashi powder and stir to combine.

Next, we are ready to prepare the rice. Make sure your rice is well-washed, then strain in the simmering liquid over the top. Slowly pour in water until there is enough liquid to cook the rice, then layer the strained mushrooms over the top along with a splash of sesame oil. You can cook takikomi gohan directly in a rice cooker or on the stovetop; we provide instructions for both below. Once the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a rice paddle and sprinkle chopped negi (green onion) over the top. 

This hearty, traditional rice dish is the perfect way to celebrate autumn!


Curry rice is Japan’s national dish, but have you tried curry udon? The next time you have leftover Japanese curry sauce on hand, repurpose it into this comforting curry udon that’s quick, versatile, and filling. 

To make curry udon, start by cooking your chicken in a frying pan over medium heat. You can also substitute chicken for your favorite protein such as pork or thinly-sliced beef, or vegan-ize this recipe by using tofu and vegan curry roux. 

Next, spoon your leftover curry sauce into the pan and heat until warm. From there, transform the curry sauce into a curry broth by adding konbu dashi, soy sauce, and salt. We recommend this konbu dashi, which is produced in Osaka prefecture and made from native, not farm-raised, kelp. Adding dashi stock thins out the curry sauce and provides additional layers of umami and savory flavor. 

Once the broth is simmering, add in your cooked udon noodles and stir to combine, then remove from the heat. Feel free to use fresh, dry, or frozen udon - simply prepare the noodles according to the package instructions. Finally, re-thicken the broth using a slurry of potato starch and water until the broth is silky smooth and slightly viscous. You want the broth to be thick enough to luxuriously coat each strand of udon. To finish, garnish your bowl of noodles with negi (green onions) and serve steaming hot. 

Highly aromatic, more sweet than spicy, and perfect for a weeknight, it’s no wonder that curry udon remains a classic family favorite in Japanese households.

Transport yourself to the tropical Okinawan islands with this delicious and simple fu chanpuru recipe!

The prefecture of Okinawa is a chain of islands off the coast of southwestern Japan and is known for its unique culture and cuisine! There are many dishes that are different from mainland Japan and that are unique to Okinawa.

One uniquely special Okinawan ingredient to try is fu! Fu is a type of wheat gluten that is light brown and formed into a cylindrical shape. It has a delightfully chewy texture that will enhance any dish! Before being used for cooking, you will need to soak fu in water for about 15 minutes and then squeeze the excess water from it.

This recipe will show you how to make one of the most famous Okinawan recipes that uses fu as a main ingredient! Chanpuru means “something mixed” and is a hearty Okinawan meal that can be adjusted to your liking. Stir fry meals like chanpuru are beloved in Japan for their quick prep and customizable ingredients. Feel free to add or subtract any of the ingredients listed in this recipe to your preference. Add less protein for a lighter meal or pack on more meat and tofu for a hearty meal to last you all week!

Fu chanpuru is the perfect recipe for meal-prepping because the flavors actually enhance over time. Made from konbu (kelp), the delicious dashi powder in this recipe will strengthen over time and give your fu chanpuru a umami, sweet flavor. The dashi flavor will complement your vegetables, meats, and Okinawan fu!

Try making fu champuru for your next quick and simple meal prep! You will still be able to enjoy the delicious flavors over the course of many days and experience a flavor that slowly deepens!

For a practical yet artfully designed snack, try these delicious sakura onigiri!

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls and may be one of the most famous Japanese foods. They are beloved in Japanese culture and can be spotted everywhere from a dinner table to children’s bento boxes to convenience stores!

Onigiri are loved for their depth of flavors and the multiple ways to customize the simple starting ingredients! The white rice in an onigiri is used as a canvas to showcase many flavors, textures, and designs. Onigiri are also a wonderful way to eat healthy, fresh ingredients, which are all rolled up in one easy-to-eat ball. This recipe will combine the delicious textures of soft green peas, smokey toasted sesame seeds, and warm rice to make the perfect onigiri!

Onigiri are also convenient and quick to make with as many or as few ingredients as you would like. Onigiri last all day and are a great food to bring along to a picnic or outdoor barbecue with friends. This onigiri recipe is perfect to showcase to friends and will be the hit of any gathering! It uses ingredients that are easy to mix together with a simple, delicate design.

The elegant topping of these onigiri is the salt pickled sakura! Carefully press the rice mixture into a rice ball shape and place the salt pickled sakura on top for a burst of flavor. Our tip is to use wet hands to roll the onigiri mixture to prevent stickiness!

The salt and vinegar flavors of the sakura will beautifully balance the flavors of the toasted sesame seeds and konbu cha. With its kelp, beet sugar, and matcha powder, the konbu cha will add a savory dimension to the mix. The umami-rich flavors of the konbu cha will tie the ingredients together in a warm, aromatic onigiri!

We highly recommend trying this classic, elegant onigiri recipe for your next gathering or to simply treat yourself to a beautiful meal!

This incredibly simple and customizable ochazuke recipe will become your favorite Japanese home cooked meal!

Ochazuke is a traditional Japanese home cooked meal literally translating to tea (ocha) and soak or submerge (zuke). The simplest form of the dish is exactly what it sounds like- tea poured over to soak cooked rice. Different types of green tea are typically poured over the rice but many people also prefer the dashi (broth) form of ochazuke.

The reason some Japanese people prefer dashi broth over tea in ochazuke is because of the salty and umami flavors dashi adds. Lucky for you, this recipe will use konbu cha, which is a combination of both tea and kelp broth!

Konbu cha is the perfect balance of both the tea and broth flavors. Its main ingredients are kelp, sugar beet, and matcha powder. The combination of these carefully curated ingredients will create the perfect fragrant broth. The taste of your ochazuke will be melody of savory, umami, and sweet flavors. Add this to your ochazuke so you don’t have to choose between the two types of ochazuke. You will get to experience the best of the tea and broth flavor profiles!

Ochazuke is a favorite homemade Japanese dish because it is incredibly simple and uses as many or few ingredients as you wish! This ochazuke recipe is designed to be a hearty, filling meal and includes a balance of chicken breast, wakame (kelp), and rice.

Feel free to customize this recipes by adding more filling toppings or keeping it simple! The konbu cha provides a burst of flavor that will easily combine well with any toppings you decide to include.

One reason this dish is beloved by Japanese people is because it is often used to nurse people back to health. The health benefits of the broth and easy-to-digest rice is the perfect cure for anyone who is feeling under the weather. It is also the perfect meal to liven up leftovers, making it the go-to meal when you lack energy to cook.

Pour the umami broth over your steaming rice and cozy up with the comforting flavors of  this ochazuke recipe!

Japanese stir fry noodles are often served by street vendors at outdoor festivals and parks, but they also make for a quick and easy meal at home!

Stir fried noodles are a favorite meal in Japanese homes because of their simplicity and versatility. Try this quick recipe for an authentic and mouth-watering Japanese meal!

This recipe’s seasonings and flavors will complement many types of ingredients so feel free to adjust the ingredients list with what you have in your kitchen. This recipe can be customized with the noodles, proteins, and vegetables you have on hand, making it the perfect meal to whip up quickly!

Though many noodles can work for this recipe, we recommend udon noodles, especially the 5 grain beauty udon or mozuku udon noodles. These udon noodles will give your stir fry meal a hearty, chewy texture that cannot be easily replicated with other noodles. The savory and whole grain flavors of these noodles will elevate your stir fry meal beyond your typical udon noodles!

The seasonings in this recipe are the true stars that will pull together any ingredients you choose to include. Make sure to not to skip the sake, sesame oil, or the konbu cha, as these are the flavors that will bring an authentic Japanese taste to your meal!

Sesame oil is an essential ingredient in Japanese cooking and this will bring a wonderful aroma to your stir fry dish! Its light roasted sesame flavor will add a robust flavor without overwhelming the other seasonings. Make sure to sprinkle on the konbu cha to add complex, umami flavors to deepen the taste of your stir fry!

Once you have these key Japanese ingredients in your kitchen cabinet, you will be able to toss up this stir fry recipe for a simple yet flavorful meal! This recipe is also meal-prep friendly and is easy to whip up when you have limited time!

Did you know that spaghetti is a popular dish in Japan? Rice dishes may be traditional but Japanese people love Italian cuisines and cooking pasta dishes at home. You will find many Italian and pasta restaurants when you visit Japan!

The pasta dishes loved by Japanese people range from more traditional Italian styles to Japanese-inspired flavors. This recipe will teach you how to adjust a traditional spaghetti aglio e olio recipe into a Japanese-inspired pasta dish!

The Japanese flavor profile of this pasta comes from two main ingredients: the Kesennuma Bay Oyster Sauce and the octopus legs!

The Kesennuma Bay Oyster Sauce is the foundational flavor of the spaghetti and brings a distinct Japanese flavor to this dish! Japanese cooks love to use oyster sauce to instantly add a burst of flavor to any recipe. The real oysters in this sauce bring a complex umami flavor that is not easily replicated. Keeping oyster sauce in your kitchen cabinet is a great way to quickly add deep, savory flavors to your dishes!

The other key ingredient in this spaghetti is the octopus! You will notice that many Japanese pasta dishes are based in seafood like octopus, shrimp, and fish. Octopus will make this dish uniquely Japanese and bring an interesting flavor and texture to enjoy!You may be able to find octopus at your local grocery store in the seafood section or at a nearby Asian grocery store. We highly recommend you use octopus but other seafood can be used to still make an authentic Japanese-inspired pasta dish!

Round out these Japanese ingredients and add a healthy vegetable dose by topping this dish with asparagus spears, red onion, and cabbage. This spaghetti is a well-rounded and fresh dish to enjoy any day of the week!

Try this vegetable and chicken dish for a crunchy, umami, and juicy meal!

This dish is a flavorful meal to have on hand whenever you need a simple meal that is still healthy. This recipe suggests many types of vegetables to include for maximum nutrition and flavor. But feel free to mix and match to find the vegetable combination of your desire! The best part of this dish is its flexibility to customize to your tastes and what you have stashed in your kitchen. This is a great meal to utilize when you have lots of leftover vegetables to use up!

The Kesennuma Bay Oyster Sauce that coats the vegetables and chicken thighs elevates the dish to the next level! You may be familiar with oyster sauce, which is a type of cooking sauce made of oyster. This sauce is popular in several Asian countries and is a staple in many Asian dishes because of its rich flavor that adds an umami taste to any dish!

Not all oyster sauces are created with the same level of quality, which will inevitably reduce the potential of flavor in your dishes. The Kesennuma Bay Oyster Sauce is of the highest quality because it is made from whole oysters! From a quick Google search, you can find that most oyster sauces are actually made from boiled oyster broth rather than whole oysters. You can imagine the huge difference in the level of flavor!

This recipe recommends to marinate the chicken meat with the oyster sauce for around two hours for maximum flavor. If you are in a hurry and need a quick meal, marinating for even 30 minutes will delicious but please be aware that longer marination results in maximum flavor!

Try this delicious dish for a healthy meal that balances vegetables and proteins with a savory oyster sauce!

Itameshi, which literally translates into “Italian food,” has become synonymous with the Japanese take on Italian cuisine. When traveling throughout Japan, you may come across a few of these unique itameshi dishes including mentaiko (cod roe) pasta, tuna and corn pizza, and Napolitan spaghetti topped with a fried egg. 

Matcha pasta belongs to the itameshi category and is a type of wafu pasta, or Japanese-style pasta. Wafu (written 和風 in kanji) means “Japanese-style” and is often applied to items that originated in Western culture but were altered to suit the Japanese market, culture, or palate. As Italian and Japanese cuisine both heavily feature noodles, wafu pasta is a logical and delicious union of the two cooking styles. Other examples of wafu foods include wafu salad dressing and wafu hamburger steak. 

This recipe includes all of the ingredients found in an authentic carbonara but employs matcha as a secret ingredient to add a robust, earthy flavor and beautiful pale green color to this Italian classic. To form the matcha carbonara sauce, simply mix matcha powder into reserved pasta water, then stir in parmesan cheese to form a sauce. Next, fry together bacon, garlic, and mushrooms. The addition of mushrooms complements the vegetal flavor of the matcha. Once all the components are cooked, add the remaining pasta water, noodles, and matcha parmesan mixture to the pan, then stir to combine. Serve piping hot with a garnish of parmesan and parsley. 

If you’re looking for a fun, Japanese-inspired twist on a tried-and-true dish, look noo further than this unique Matcha Pasta.

The Goto Islands are located about 100 km west of Nagasaki City and are home to one of Japan’s rarest udon noodles: goto udon. Traditionally, udon is made from just three ingredients: wheat flour, water, and salt. However, goto udon uses camellia oil as a special fourth ingredient.

The Camellia Japonica plant grows along streams in the mountains of Japan and has tall, dark leaves from which bloom deep pink flowers with bright yellow centers. Camellia Japonica also produces the oil that is the secret behind the silky yet chewy texture of goto udon. 

Goto udon is repeatedly hand-twisted and pulled in a traditional method called “te-yori” which results in its characteristic soft and springy texture. Compared to regular udon which is slightly rectangular, goto udon is almost perfectly cylindrical, resulting in a slippery mouthfeel. Camellia oil is added to smooth the surface of the dry noodles in a process called “migaki” (literally “polishing”) - a technique that has been passed down over centuries. Even after boiling, the faint taste and aroma of camellia oil lingers on the delicate noodles. 

Goto udon is traditionally served Jigoku-daki style, also known as “hell cooking”, wherein the noodles remain submerged in boiling hot water. For this recipe, we pair our goto udon with a simple dipping sauce consisting of mirin, soy sauce, and dashi. While delicious on its own, goto udon can be further elevated by topping with chopped green onions, grated ginger, dried bonito, and scrambled raw egg.

Yuzu adds the perfect dash of refreshing citrus flavor to this delicious yellowtail soba noodle bowl. Complete with silky smooth noodles, flaky fish, and umami broth, this dish is bright and filling.

This soba recipe consists of three main components:

Yellowtail and vegetable toppings - We marinate our yellowtail in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, and fresh yuzu slices. Yuzu is a highly fragrant citrus fruit that is described as a cross between lemon, grapefruit, and mandarin orange. A common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, it is often used to highlight the natural sweetness of seafood. We fry the marinated yellowtail alongside sliced mushrooms and spring onions to form the toppings for the noodle bowls. 

Soba noodles - Soba is a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. We recommend using 100% buckwheat soba noodles, but any variety of frozen or fresh soba will also work! Simply cook for 30 seconds less than the package instructions state. 

Bonito and konbu-based stock - Our umami-rich soup derives it flavor from a combination of katsuoboshi (bonito flakes) and konbu (kelp), as well as shirodashi (white dashi) and yuzu. We recommend using this katsuobushi, which is made from skipjack tuna that is caught and dried in Kagoshima prefecture, and this konbu, which is harvested in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. 

Feel free to add extra toppings to this soba noodle soup as you wish. Other traditional soba toppings include soft-boiled egg, narutomaki (fish cake), sliced green onion, wakame seaweed, blanched greens, and shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili flakes).

Nanakusa Gayu (seven herb rice porridge) is traditionally enjoyed on January 7 as a way to soothe the body and calm the stomach after indulgent New Year’s celebrations. Light and easy to digest, nanakusa gayu is a great way to reset after the festive season. It is believed that eating it will bring good health and ward away evil. 

Nanakusa Gayu is a type of okayu, or rice porridge, characterized by its use of seven spring herbs. While pre-made packages of fresh herbs specifically for nanakusa gayu can be found within Japan, it is much easier to locate “Seven Dried Herbs” mixes in other places around the world. Try looking for these packages of freeze-dried herbs at your local Japanese grocery store. 

Traditionally, the seven herbs used are Java water dropwort, shepherd's purse, Jersey cudweed, common chickweed, Japanese nipplewort, turnip, and daikon, all of which are considered auspicious due to their ability to grow even during the winter season. The bright green color of the herbs represents new life as the new year begins. If you are unable to find “Seven Dried Herbs” mix, you can create your own mix of fresh herbs using ingredients that are more common in your area. Some suggestions include cilantro, basil, chives, fennel, green onion, mint, and watercress. Just be sure that no one herb overpowers the rest.

To make nanakusa gayu, simply simmer together cooked rice, water, the herb mix, soy sauce, dashi, and salt until the soup thickens. Set yourself up for a healthy and lucky new year by enjoying this comforting rice porridge!

Chirashizushi (literally “scattered sushi”) is served on special occasions in Japan including New Year’s Day. It’s made from a bed of sushi rice that is adorned with a variety of toppings such as egg, fresh vegetables, cooked seafood, and sashimi. This recipe includes instructions for two popular chirashizushi toppings -- kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepe) and kinpira gobo (braised carrot and burdock root) -- though you can also add steamed renkon (lotus root), steamed green beans, cooked shrimp, nori (seaweed) and pickled ginger as pictured, or any of your favorite vegetables and protein.

To make the sushi rice, we use red vinegar. While white vinegar is made by aging fermented rice, Japanese red vinegar (akazu) is made by aging sake lees, the residue left behind during the sake-making process. Fermented for three to five years, Japanese red vinegar is prized by sushi chefs due to its smooth and bright flavor that pairs wonderfully with seafood. 

Kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepe) is very easy to make. Simply scramble together eggs, salt, and oil, then cook in a very thin layer in a frying pan. Roll up the cooked egg crepes, then julienne them into thin strips. When sprinkled over rice, kinshi tamago resembles pale yellow confetti! 

Kinpira gobo (braised carrot and burdock root) is also easy to prepare. Stir-fry matchstick-shaped carrot and burdock in oil for 3-4 minutes, then simmer in mirin, soy sauce, dashi, sugar, and sake until all the liquid is evaporated. Crunchy and savory, kinpira gobo is delicious over rice. 

Chirashizushi is a show-stopping way to present seasonal ingredients. If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing dish to wow guests, try experimenting with your own chirashizushi combinations!

While teriyaki is famous abroad, shogayaki is an equally popular preparation method within Japan. An example of “ofukuro no aji” (literally “Mom’s taste”), shogayaki is a common dish to prepare at home. Made in just 20 minutes, try making shogayaki for a quick and comforting weeknight dinner!

“Shoga” means ginger while “yaki” means fried, referring to the cooking method of stir-frying in ginger. While other types of meat can be used, shogayaki typically uses pork specifically. If you are shopping for ingredients at a Japanese grocery store, try looking for “ginger pork cut” which refers to pork loin sliced about ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick. Alternatively, you can use paper-thin “hot-pot cut” pork, though be aware that it is more prone to shrinking and curling. 

To begin, prepare your pork by seasoning it with salt, pepper, and potato starch. The potato starch helps to lock in moisture and will also absorb the ginger sauce, resulting in juicy, tender meat. 

In a separate bowl, make the ginger sauce by combining ginger, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and chili oil. We add the untraditional ingredient of chili oil for a little kick, though feel free to adjust the amount or omit it altogether depending on your spice tolerance. The aromatic ginger, salty soy sauce, and sweet sake and mirin come together to form a deep, umami-rich sauce that soaks into the slices of pork. 

Fry the pork in sesame oil until fully cooked, then coat it in the savory ginger sauce and stir to combine. Lastly, melt in a teaspoon of butter for an extra dose of richness and velvety texture. Serve hot with steamed rice and enjoy! 

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