Pasta is always a popular choice, whether you’re dining out or dining in. The same goes for Japan, but their pasta dishes have often been adapted to suit native tastes by including Japanese ingredients. And the secret to making things taste Japanese is a little splash of soy sauce, Japan’s ultimate condiment. It’s full of umami, just like the tomato, so you’ll still get that mouthwatering taste. Soy sauce can also be used in Bolognese sauces for a subtle flavour and umami boost. This recipe is a simple linguine dish that makes the most of soy sauce.
You might think that Japanese people often make nigiri (finger) or maki (rolled) sushi at home, but these types of sushi are more often eaten at restaurants or as takeout. The sushi commonly made in the home is chirashi sushi, or scattered sushi. It’s very simple and needs no complicated knife or shaping skills. You simply choose your toppings and lay them over a bed of rice mixed with sushisu vinegar. This vinegar is the key ingredient, as it’s what transforms normal steamed rice into distinctive sushi rice. It’s simple, sensational, and makes all the difference.
Pork cutlets, or tonkatsu, have been a popular choice in Japan since they arrived in the late 19th century. Today they’re loved in UK, too, especially when served as katsu curry, with a big plate of Japanese curry and rice. This cheesy version is fried in rice bran oil, a super-healthy alternative to other oils that leaves food crisp, delicious and with no lingering oily taste. The lightness of rice bran oil, which contains a balance of essential fats, helps turn a fried meal into a healthy choice; it can also help to bump up levels of good cholesterol.
Donburi is a quintessential Japanese dish that’s a big household favourite. To make a donburi, take a big bowl of rice – the don – and top with whatever you’re hungry for: juicy pork cutlet for katsu-don, sliced cooked beef for gyu-don, or heaps of just-fried tempura for ten-don. Here, we’ve combined the distinct flavour of sushi rice with avocado and fresh tuna for a simple but special don. The combination of raw tuna with creamy avocado is sensational, while the piquant wasabi sauce simultaneously complements the creaminess of the sauce while cutting through the avocado. This is really worth a try.
Tofu is a staple of Japanese cuisine, eaten by millions every day. It’s a powerhouse of protein and essential nutrients, all in one simple ingredient. This stir-fry is an easy way to cook tofu at home, and a great way to get started if you’ve never tried making tofu dishes before. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll discover that tofu is one of the most versatile ingredients around. Whatever you’re making, there will be a tofu type to fit. But whatever the firmness, one thing won’t change: the great nutritional benefits of tofu.