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Table of Contents
- If you’re new to Japanese cooking…
- If you want to make a basic Japanese meal…
- What’s dashi?
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
- Find a Japanese or Asian grocery store near you. This list was created by worldwide JOC readers!
- Find online Japanese or Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.
- Get these 26 Japanese Pantry Ingredients.
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 Dropdowns – pick the topic of your interest
- Recipe Filter – narrow down your choice
- Recipe Index – pick 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.
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
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
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
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
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.
- Spinach Salad with Sesame Dressing (Gomaae)
- Broccoli Blanched with Sesame Oil
- 4 Easy Soy Sauce Pickle
- Quick and Easy Tamagoyaki (Rolled Omelette)
Step 5: Serve!
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.
- Basic dashi – made of kombu and dried bonito flakes.
- Vegan dashi – made of kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms.
- Learn all 6 types of dashi.
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.
- Dashi Powder (5 minutes; easy and quick, but does not taste good)
- Dashi Packet (5 minutes; easy, quick, and decent taste)
- Basic Dashi from Scratch (20 minutes; excellent taste)
- Vegan Dashi from Scratch (20 minutes; excellent taste)
Hope you enjoy browsing Just One Cookbook!
Nami & JOC Team