If you’ve ever lived in Japan, you’ll know that authentic Japanese home cooking is more delicious than what’s served in any restaurant, but you’ll seldom get a chance to try these homely dishes if you don’t live with a Japanese family. These recipes were taught to me by Japanese friends and relatives, and have become my family favorites too. Enjoy!
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Tasty Ginger Pork
This is shōgayaki, one of the fastest and easiest Japanese meals my Japanese friends taught me how to cook. This dish is fast, easy, and will make your kitchen smell delicious!
Savory Japanese Beef & Vegetables
Niku-jaga Curry Rice
The great secret about niku-jaga, the classic Japanese mom comfort food, is that it’s a two-night delight! The first night, you serve the tender beef, potatoes and vegetables simmered in a savory sauce, then add instant curry to the leftovers the next night. And let me tell you: Niku-jaga Curry Rice is so much better than any curry rice you’ve ever eaten, I sometimes make it the first night, because it’s so delish that I’m happy to eat it two days in a row!
Creamy Sesame Noodles
You’ll never guess how healthy these sesame noodles are, because they’re decadently creamy…without the cream.
Yakitori Chicken Mini-Burgers
Why do we call these “Stealth Burgers” at my house? Because while they’re cooking, every family member wanders into the kitchen, one by one, saying, hey, something smells great, when’s dinner? And then they devour these down to the last bite…not stopping once to ask what’s in them or suspect how insanely healthy they are.
Japanese Chicken Salad with Tangy Soy-Lemon Dressing
This salad is satisfying enough to be a light meal in itself, or as a side with rice and grilled meat. It’s a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken, and the Tangy Soy-Lemon Dressing also turns asparagus, snap peas, or green beans into an instant side dish.
Sweet & Salty Miso Sauce
Dengaku auce is one of those tasty toppings that makes even people who “don’t like Japanese food” beg for seconds. Everything from eggplant to slices of pork tenderloin to skewers of grilled chicken will disappear in record time if slathered in Dengaku. (Also, it’s so easy to make, you can’t fail.)
Black Sugar Sundae with Kinako
Vanilla ice cream topped with Okinawan brown sugar sauce and toasted soybean flour is a favorite summer treat in Japan. It’s a truly Japanese taste that even Westerners love.
Japanese Rice Bowl with Miso Salmon
This trio of Japanese flavor bombs are distinctive, but harmonious, and involve barely any time slaving over a hot stove.
The Ninth Attachment
These cocktails/mocktails are built around a surprise ingredient. It’s a traditional Japanese taste that’s becoming all the rage at modern Tokyo bars: fruit-infused vinegar. These apple-ginger sours are sophisticated and satisfying, with or without the alcohol.
As this tasty broth bubbles away and fills your kitchen with cozy goodness, you’ll forget that this dish is as healthy as it is satisfying.
Chicken & Ginger Yakitori Meatballs
All over Japan, these absolutely delicious chicken meatballs are a must-try at yakitori restaurants. Skewered and slathered in a tangy sauce, they never fail to be a crowd pleaser!
Marinated Pork Medallions
with Melted Leeks
Have a special occasion coming up, and want to try something new that’s guaranteed to have your guests begging for seconds? These marinated pork tenderloin medallions are so deliciously tasty that they always get rave reviews, even from people who “don’t like Japanese food.” (Bonus: they’re easy to make, they turn out perfect every time, and I’ll teach you how to cook them using only hot water and a beer cooler!)
Japanese Chicken Soup for the Soul
People in Japan long for comfort food just as much as we do, and this chicken soup will warm you right down to your toes. It’s comforting, but a little bit different, all at the same time.
Japanese Treasure Rice
This dish elevates plain old white rice to star level, with “treasures” of vegetables and a deep down savory flavor that will have everyone asking for seconds. Add marinated chicken pieces to the pot, and you’ve got the easiest one-dish meal ever!
Japanese Ginger-Soy Steak Sauce
When it’s time to dust off the BBQ and grill up some steaks, the only thing that will make them taste even more sublime is this yum of a dipping sauce! In Japan, bite-sized slices of steak are grilled at the table, then dipped in this savory sauce that zings with just a hint of ginger. But it tastes just as good if you carve off a bite of Western-syle BBQed steak, and dip it into the sauce before popping it in your mouth. Try it tonight, and see why this is Japanese families’ go-to “celebration dinner”!
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