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If you’re new to Japanese cooking…

If you have never cooked Japanese food before or are still new to the cuisine, you’re at the right place! 

Step 1: Find Japanese Ingredients

6 Must-Have Condiments to Make Your Favorite Japanese Food

Step 2: Find Recipes to Cook

You can browse our 1000+ recipes in 4 different ways.

  • Search Box on the menu bar – enter the recipe name or ingredient 
  • Recipe Menu Dropdownspick the topic of your interest
  • Recipe Filternarrow down your choice
  • Recipe Indexpick the category of your interest

If you have no idea where to start, here are popular recipes by our readers!

My recipes include detailed instructions with step-by-step photos and a video tutorial. I focus on sharing with you the real flavors of Japanese cuisine.

If you prefer video tutorials, do visit our YouTube channel!

If you want to make a basic Japanese meal…

Typically, the Japanese serve a main dish with steamed rice, miso soup, and a few side dishes. This style of meal is called Ichiju Sansai

Salted salmon served along with Japanese style breakfast.
Ichiju Sansai (一汁三菜) - One Soup Three Dishes: A typical Japanese meal composed of four elements: rice, soup, side dishes and pickled vegetables.

You can learn more about this topic here. Today, let’s start with the very basic style. We’ll prepare:

  • Steamed rice
  • Miso soup
  • A main dish
  • 2 side dishes

Step 1: Make Perfect Steamed Rice

How To Cook Japanese Rice

Rice is essential to Japanese cuisine (you can read more about it here) and it’s important to make perfectly cooked rice.

Choose your method below to make delicious steamed rice:

Step 2: Make Miso Soup

Japanese wooden bowls containing vegan miso soup with tofu and seaweed.

Whenever we serve steamed rice, we always serve it with miso soup. The ingredients in the miso soup vary based on seasons and what’s available in the kitchen.

Miso soup is made of dashi (Japanese soup stock), which is an essential component in Japanese cuisine and what makes Japanese food authentic. We’ll talk more about it in the following section.

First, try one of our basic miso soup recipes.

Step 3: Make the Main Dish

A white plate containing teriyaki salmon with glaze and asparagus.

Today, for a basic Japanese meal, let’s prepare an easy teriyaki dish using basic pantry condiments. Want to make different dishes? Browse our Main Dish category for inspiration.

Step 4: Make 1-2 Side Dishes

Japanese spinach salad dressed in sesame sauce served in a bowl

Side dishes should be vegetable-focused. For a beginner, I recommend preparing one cold dish (like a salad) and one hot dish (like simmered dish).

If you’re not sure where to begin, here are my recommendations.

Step 5: Serve!

This is just a quick guide on how to make a simple Japanese meal. Hope you enjoy browsing and cooking from our recipes. Here are two examples of Ichiju Sansai meals.

Example: (in clockwise) Shio Koji Salmon, Tofu and Wakame Miso Soup, Steamed Rice, Simmered Kombu, Pickled Plum, Spinach Gomaae, and Simmered Daikon.
Kabocha Miso Soup served in a black bowl.
Example: (in clockwise) Salted Salmon, Tamagoyaki, Broccoli Blanched with Sesame Oil, Kabocha Miso Soup, Brown Rice, Pickled Daikon, and Pickled Napa Cabbage.

What’s dashi?

5 different types of dashi in a jar and their ingredients.

If you browse several recipes on the site, you will soon notice that Japanese recipes use a lot of dashi. Dashi or Japanese soup stock is truly fundamental to Japanese cooking and it is what differentiates authentic or not.

What’s Dashi Made Of?

Simply speaking, it’s made of naturally umami-rich ingredients such as kombu (kelp), dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi), dried shiitake mushrooms, and dried anchovies.

Types of Dashi

Dashi can be made with one of the above ingredients or a combination.

How to Make Dashi

Depending on your preference, you can make dashi in 5 minutes or in 20 minutes. Yes, that’s it. Homemade dashi is much faster to make than making vegetable or chicken stock.

Hope you enjoy browsing Just One Cookbook!

Nami & JOC Team

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