Japanese Cooking and You

If you have ever spent some time at a Japanese restaurant, you might have been quite wistful about the delicate tastes and beautiful preparation and never really thought about how you could integrate them at home. The fact is, Japanese cook is very straightfoward, and even if you don’t put the same amount of time into the preparation, it still doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great Japanese meal at home. Japanese food is very healthy, due to the fact that fish is the staple instead of the more fatty pork or beef, and if you are looking to integrate Japanese cuisine into your home cooking, there has never been a better time to start!

Rice is the first main staple that you need to acquire. Look for short-grained, sticky rice; you’ll be able to find it quite easily at an Asian grocery store, though you may also be able to find it at a large chain supermarket as well. Rice usually replaces bread or pasta and it is a healthy alternative, though if you are looking for the most healthy options, you’ll want to purchase the brown rice as opposed to the white variety; brown rice has only been partially milled at most and is chewier than white rice, though it is a great deal healthier.

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One terrific Japanese snack that will remind you of sushi is the onigiri, or the rice ball. Cook up some rice and add rice vinegar to taste. Rice vinegar is both sour and sweet and it gives sushi rice that distinctive taste. Once the rice has cooled enough to handle, take a small handful of rice in your hand and make an indentation into it, into which you will put the filling of your choice. Some great fillings include bonito flakes, plain tuna mixed with mayonnaise, soy pickles and shredded dried pork. Then, pick up another bit of rice to top it off and compress the whole thing into a ball. Between these steps, you might want to wet your hands to stop the rice from being so sticky. If you wish, you can wrap the rice balls with nori. This is a great and extremely traditional use for leftover rice and makes a great snack.

If you are a devout meat eater, there are still plenty of Japanese recipes that will suit you quite well. Think about looking up a great teriyaki glaze for the next time you barbecue, or using tamari sauce in your stirfry. You can also try one of Japan’s most popular beef recipes, the beef bowl, also know as the gyu-don. Gyu-don is a dish which involves thin slices of beef and onion cooked in a sweet sauce composed of soy sauce and mirin that is then poured over white rice. This delicious and simple recipe is quite popular in Japan and growing in popularity around the world.

There’s no reason to enjoy Japanese cuisine only in the restaurant. Start simple and start learning about basic Japanese coking, and you’ll soon find that you’re able to turn out some truly tasty dishes. Get experimental and see what adding some Japanese cuisine to your menu can do!


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