Japan: 10 Traditional Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Recipes

Japanese food has cultural significance and it is prepared with the seasonal ingredients. Most of the traditional cuisines are largely based on rice and have an abundance of seafood. They even consume raw seafood in the form of Sashimi and various other dishes. Let’s have a look at the best Japanese breakfast and lunch recipes.

1. Miso Soup

Miso Soup is a traditional Japanese soup which is made up of Dashi and store-bought Miso paste. Dashi is a Japanese stock that is prepared by boiling dried bonito (a fish) and seaweed. Miso is a thick paste made with fermented soy beans and other Japanese ingredients. It can be consumed as a standalone dish and can also be eaten with rice.

Preparation time:

  • 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes |Servings: 3

Ingredients Needed:

  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup bonito flakes
  • 1 (4-5 inch piece) dried kelp- called Kombu in Japanese
  • 1 pack soft tofu, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons dried wakame seaweed
  • 4 tablespoons Miso paste (store-bought)
  • 1 cup sliced spring onions

Instructions for Miso Soup:

  • On a lower flame, heat water in a large pan.
  • Add dried kelp (Kombu) in water and let it cook until it begins simmering.
  • Now add bonito flakes into this kelp water and mix it well. Dashi stock is ready.
  • Turn off the flame and keep it aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • Heat the dashi stock over the lower flame.
  • Add tofu and wakame seaweed in the stock. Mix it well.
  • Take out warm dashi stock in a separate bowl and mix the miso paste in it.
  • Again, pour this mixture back into the pan with rest of the dashi stock.
  • Stir until the entire mixture is warm. Make sure it is not boiled.
  • Tasty Miso Soup is ready. Serve with sprig onions and enjoy!
  • You can also add other vegetables and meat to the soup. There are numerous recipes for making miso soup at home.

The store bought Dashi stock and Miso paste is widely used in Japan to make a quick soup. If you too have less time, then just warm the store bought dashi stock and add miso paste along with tofu and other vegetables, ingredients. Garnish with spring onions. 5 min soup will be ready to consume on busy mornings.

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Miso soup recipes

2. Oyakodon Recipe

Oyakodon is a healthy dish that is very easy to make and contains various nutrients in just one bowl. Oyakodon is chicken and egg-rice bowl and is super quick to make, so you can enjoy a tasty traditional Japanese breakfast by spending a very little amount of time in the morning (even as a perfect lunch or dinner meal).

Preparation time:

  • 10 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 Minutes | Servings: 2

Ingredients Needed:

  • 250 grams  boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoon sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup dashi stock (if not available, use chicken stock)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • Steamed rice

Instructions for Oyakodon:

  • Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces
  • Take a large pan and add dashi stock, sake, sugar and soy sauce, and heat until the mixture boils.
  • Add finely chopped onion into the stock and let it cook for few seconds over medium flame.
  • Now add the chicken pieces into the stock and let it cook over the lower flame. Cover the pan with lid.
  • After a few minutes flip the chicken pieces to evenly cook from all the sides.
  • Meanwhile, beat the egg in a bowl.
  • When the chicken is completely cooked, pour the beaten egg over the chicken pieces. Mix well. Simmer for few seconds. Turn off the flame.
  • Take steamed rice in a serving bowl and pour a portion of the chicken-egg mixture on it.
  • Garnish with spring onions.

Yummy Oyakodon is ready. Enjoy!

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Oyakodon

3. Sukiyaki Recipe

Sukiyaki is one of the common dishes eaten in Japan. It is a basic dish that is made with basic Japanese ingredients. It is slowly simmered at the table in the shallow iron hot pot. Again, this dish also contains enough nutrients for a healthy diet.

Preparation time:

  • 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 20 Minutes | Servings: 3-4

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2/3 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 500 gms beef, sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • 1 cube firm tofu, cut into 1-inch small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup dashi stock
  • 1/2 cup shiitakes- soaked, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • A bunch of spring onions, sliced
  • 4 leaves Napa cabbage, sliced
  • 200 grams Shirataki noodles (boiled and completely)

Instructions for Sukiyaki:

  • Take a pot and add mirin, sake, dashi, soy sauce and sugar in it. Turn on the heat and stir the mixture until sugar gets dissolved in it. Once done turn off the heat.
  • Take a large platter and arrange meat, vegetables and tofu on it. Heat a cast iron skillet or electric skillet to 250-270 degrees F.
  • Heat oil in the skillet and add beef slices to it. Let it cook until it turns brown. Once done move the beef slices to the corner of your skillet.
  • Now add other vegetables too to skillet and keep them separate from each other. Don’t mix the vegetables at all as every vegetable should occupy its own space.
  • Pour the sauce (dashi, mirin, sake and sugar mixture) in the skillet and cover with lid.
  • Bring it to boil and cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover the skillet and flip beef and vegetables cook again for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Add  shirataki noodles to it. The noodles will soak up remaiing broth .

Tasty sukiyaki is now ready. Serve with love on the small plates or eat directly from the pot.

 

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Tip 1: Most of the Japanese people use raw eggs too as sukiyaki dip. If you also want to try it, just break the eggs in a bowl, beat well and use them as the dip for sukiyaki.

Tip 2: If you want to cook noodles with vegetables, then add raw noodles to the pot when the vegetables are half cooked. If you put them along with vegetables, the noodles will get overcooked.

4. Tamagoyaki Recipe

Tamagoyaki is the Japanese version of the omelet. It is made by the multiple rolled layers of cooked eggs. It has different flavors depending on variations of recipes as you can choose different types of fillings for it. The shape of Tamagoyaki is rectangular so you need a Tamago pan which is a rectangular shaped pan for this omelet. If you don’t have Tamago pan then you can simply use the regular frying pan and shape your Tamagoyaki using a bamboo mat.

Preparation time:

  • 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 20 Minutes | Servings: 3-4

Ingredients Needed:

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Sufficient oil

Instructions for Tamagoyaki:

  • Beat your eggs in a bowl.
  • Add salt, mirin and soy sauce to the eggs and mix it well
  • Heat the pan over medium flame and add a little oil to it.
  • Now pour a little amount of egg mixture in the pan and spread it into a thin layer.
  • Let it cook. When it is half cooked roll it out towards the bottom side of pan into a shape of log.
  • Now add more oil to the empty surface of pan and again add the little amount of egg mixture. Spread thin layer and when half done roll it out in log shape towards the end so that the previous omelet becomes thick.
  • Repeat the process for remaining egg mixture and it will become thicker and larger. Once done with entire mixture, remove from heat. Let it cool down and cut into pieces.
  • Tamagoyaki is now ready to eat.
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  • Tamagoyaki
  • Tip: If you have used the regular pan then your Tamagoyaki might not be in the shape so use the bamboo mat for shaping it out.

5. Nikujaga Recipe

Nikujaga is a tasty traditional Japanese dish and the main elements in this dish are meat and potatoes. It tastes sweet as well as savory. It is one of the winter Japanese dishes that are consumed hot. Let’s have a look at the easy recipe for making Nikujaga at home!

Preparation time:

  • 10 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 3

Ingredients Needed:

  • 150 grams Shirataki noodles
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 medium onions, 1 cm thick slices
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 8 medium potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 250 grams beef or pork, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups Dashi
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sake
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Spring onions for toppings, cut into 1-2 inch slices

Instructions for Nikujaga:

  • Rinse Shirataki noodles under cold running water and drain excess water. Heat sufficient water in a pan and boil Shirataki noodles for 2-3 minutes. Once done, drain excess water and set them aside.
  • Heat up the oil in a small pan over medium flame. Add onions and let them cook for a minute. Stir onions to prevent from sticking to the pan.
  • Add carrots and potato chunks and stir for 1 minute.
  • Add beef slices and mix well with other ingredients. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add Dashi, Sake, Mirin, soy sauce, salt and sugar to the pan. Bring the mixture to boil on medium flame. Once boiled, turn the flame to lower and cover the pan.
  • Let it simmer until meat slices and vegetables get completely cooked and most of the sauce reduces. Once done, add Shirataki noodles and mix well with other ingredients. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat. Delicious Nikujaga is ready to serve.
  • Take out equal parts on serving plates, add spring onion toppings and enjoy!
  • You can choose thinly slice pork or beef as per your preference. Also, Japanese eat Nikujaga as a stand-alone dish and even team it up with steamed rice and Miso soup. So now you too have various options to eat Nikujaga.
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Nikujaga

6. Ramen Recipe

Ramen is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It is a type of noodle soup. So the main elements of this dish are noodles and soup. The noodles are served in seafood or meat broth along with added flavors from Japanese ingredients.

Noodles that are used for ramen recipe are Chinese style noodles which are called Chuka-men. The soup recipes for ramen can differ. Here you will find an easy and basic recipe for tasty Japanese Ramen. Let’s begin!

Preparation time:

  • 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes | Servings: 3

Ingredients Needed:

  • 200 grams Ramen noodles
  • Sufficient water for boiling
  • 1 boiled egg (cut into half)
  • 250 grams boneless pork (cleaned and sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For Broth:

  • 250 grams Pork, boneless
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • Sufficient water for the stock
  • Salt to taste
  • Soy sauce

For seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Few crushed garlic cloves

For topping

  • Handful of green scallions (sliced )

Instructions for Ramen:

  • Wash and slice the pork, carrots, celery stalk, onions, and garlic cloves.
  • Now add water in a pot and add vegetables along with pork to it. Boil the stock and let it simmer on low flame for 3-4 hours. Cover the pot and when the broth is ready turn off the flame.
  • Strain this soup in order to remove the veggies and pork.
  • Now add salt and soy sauce to give a good flavor to the broth. Broth is ready. Keep it aside.
  • Take another pot and add water to it. Now boil the noodles in this unsalted water for 2-3 minutes. Note that you don’t need to boil noodles more than 3 minutes.
  • Drain the excess water from the ramen noodles. Noodles are ready. Keep the pot aside.
  • Take a pan and heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in it. Add pork slices and roast it until it is perfectly cooked. Make sure you stir the pork slices consistently to prevent sticking to the pan. Once done turn off the heat and keep aside.
  • Heat sesame oil in the saucepan and add crushed garlic to it. Let the garlic cook for few seconds and turn off the flame. Seasoning is now ready. Keep it aside as you need to put small amount of seasoning when serving the ramen.

How to assemble and eat:

  • Take a serving bowl and add broth in it.
  • Add sufficient portion of cooked ramen noodles.
  • Put a portion of roasted pork.
  • Put egg (half) to the bowl.
  • Put 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and garlic seasoning to it.
  • Add chopped green scallions on the top.

Tasty ramen bowl is ready to eat. Repeat the process for remaining ramen and enjoy with your loved ones.

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Ramen

7. Domburimono Recipe

Domburimono is a renowned classic Japanese dish. Basically, it is a rice dish. Rice is served with various kinds of toppings and most often eaten with miso soup. One can choose the toppings as per his/her liking. You can eat rice with boiled beef or eggs or even with deep fried pork. The options are unlimited so it makes Domburimono a unique and versatile dish that you can eat every day without getting bored. The recipe is also very simple as well as quick. Also, Domburimono is the most budget friendly Jpaanese lunch cuisine.

Preparation time:

  • 10 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients Needed:

For rice:

  • 200 grams rice
  • Sufficient water for steaming rice
  • For topping:
  • 200 grams beef
  • Sufficient water for boiling

For serving:

  • Green scallions for garnishing
  • Miso soup

Instructions for basic Domburimono with boiled beef:

  • Wash the rice.
  • Boil water in a pot and add rice in it. You can also add a pinch of salt to it for more flavors. Let the rice cook for few minutes over low flame. Once all the water gets disappeared, turn off the heat and then cover the pot with a lid. Steamed rice is ready. Keep aside.
  • Now clean and wash the beef and cut it in to bite size pieces.
  • Heat sufficient water in another pan. Over medium flame boil the beef until it gets perfectly cooked. Once done turn off the flame.
  • Drain excess water from beef pieces. Boiled beef is now ready.

How to assemble and eat:

  • Take a portion of cooked rice in a bowl and add boiled beef topping on it. You can also garnish with chopped green scallions but it is optional.
  • Serve with miso soup.
  • Repeat the process with remaining rice, beef, and miso soup and enjoy an easy & quick meal with your family or friends.

8. Sushi Recipe

Sushi is the classic Japanese dish that needs no introduction. Over time it has gained a lot of popularity in the entire world. Basically, it is the Japanese dish of vinegared rice along with various ingredients like seafood (usually raw) and vegetables. There are a lot of variations of recipes for Sushi but in all the variations, rice remains the main ingredient. We will discuss the Makizushi recipe which is basically a rolled sushi which is formed using the bamboo mat. Makizushi is wrapped in Nori which is basically a seaweed sheet.

Preparation time:

  • 2 hours | Cooking time: 1 hour | Total Time: 3 hours | Servings: 6

Ingredients Needed:

  • 250 grams Japanese short grain rice
  • 500 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon super-fine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 sheets nori (about 20 cm square)

For filling:

  • 300 grams sashimi grade tuna
  • 1 small (Lebanese) cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 teaspoons wasabi paste

Instructions for rolled sushi (Makizushi):

  • Wash the sushi rice and drain excess water. Keep the rice in the strainer until they get thoroughly drained. It will take about 60-80 minutes.
  • Put the rice in a pot and add 500 ml of water to it. Let the water boil on medium flame. Reduce the flame to low and let the water get absorbed in rice. Once done, cover the pot with lid and cook for another 5 minutes on lower flame and then turn off the flame and cover the pot with lid for 10 minutes.
  • Now mix cooked sushi rice, rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Fan this mixture to cool down to the room temperature.
  • Cut tuna, cucumber, carrot and avocado into the thinly cut slices. Cook the carrots in a separate sauce pan along with a little water. Cook until they become soft. You can also add salt and sugar to taste to the carrots when they are about to cook. Keep aside.
  • Take a nori sheet and place it on the bamboo mat. Now spread the rice mixture over the nori sheet. Make sure you leave a border of the nori sheet empty (around 1 cm border).
  • Spread a little amount of the wasabi paste on the rice.
  • Now put a portion of stuffing ingredients (carrots, tuna, avocado and cucumber stripes) on the top of the wasabi.
  • Lift the bamboo mat’s edge that is nearest to you in order to roll the sushi towards empty nori sheet corner. Once you are finished rolling it out, press it with your thumb to give it a cylindrical shape.
  • Cut the rolled sushi in small pieces.
  • Repeat the process with remaining ingredients and enjoy delicious rolled sushi with your loved ones.
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Sushi

9. Chicken Katsu Recipe

Chicken katsu is the Japanese style dish. These are chicken cutlets that are usually served with rice or tonkatsu sauce or both which is a thick Worcestershire sauce and its main elements are vegetables and fruits. It is quite popular in Hawaii as well.

Preparation time:

  • 10 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients Needed:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 150 grams each
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 150 grams all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 150 grams panko Japanese bread crumbs
  • Sufficient cooking oil for frying
  • store bought Tonkatsu sauce for serving (basic recipe is also listed below)
  • For basic tonkatsu sauce
  • 150 ml. tomato ketchup
  • 60 ml. water
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon super-fine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (freshly grated)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

Instructions for Chicken katsu:

For basic tonkatsu sauce:

  • This sauce is easily available in supermarkets but if it is not available near you then here is the simple version of a basic tonkatsu sauce. Follow the recipe below.
  • Combine tomato ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sake, sugar, ginger and crushed garlic cloves in a pan. Mix the ingredients well.
  • Now heat the pan over medium flame and keep stirring the mixture until the sauce thickens. It will take around 15-2o minutes. Once done, turn off the flame and let the sauce cool down.
  • Transfer it to a jar. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy with chicken Katsu or any other deep fried dish.

For Katsu:

  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  • Take 3 different shallow bowls and put all purpose flour, egg and panko bread crumbs separately in these bowls.
  • Take one chicken thigh and coat it with the flour from all sides. Shake off excess flour.
  • Dip the flour coated thigh in egg bowl.
  • Now press the flour and egg coated thigh into the panko bread crumb. Cover it entirely with the bread crumbs.
  • Repeat the process with remaining chicken thighs. Once done keep aside.
  • Heat ¼ inch of cooking oil in the large non stick skillet. The temperature should be 300°- 350°F as too low temperature will cause bread crumbs’ separation from thighs whereas too high temperature will cause burning the chicken.
  • Deep fry the chicken thighs in batches (one at a time). Flip it over and fry until the color turns to golden brown from both sides. Drain excess oil and place on the paper towels and season with salt.
  • Once fried all the pieces, cut the chicken katsu into thin bite-size strips. Serve hot with tonkatsu sauce and enjoy!
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Chicken Katsu

10. Nimono Recipe

Nimono is basically Japanese simmered dish. The ingredients are simmered in the shiru stock which is generally Dashi. It can be flavored with mirin, sake, salt, Japanese vinegar, and miso etc. Nimono is simmered until the stock gets soaked by the ingredients. The main ingredients that are used in Nimono are- vegetables, seafood, and tofu. Here you will learn an easy and quick chicken and daikon Nimono recipe.

Preparation time:

  • 5 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients Needed:

  • 400 grams boneless chicken thigh meat
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 500 grams daikon, cut into 1-2 inch circles
  • 2 teaspoons ginger juliennes
  • 1 cup green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced

For seasoning:

  • 4 cups dashi
  • 1 cup sake
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mirin

Instructions for chicken and daikon Nimono:

  • Mix all the seasoning ingredients (dashi, sake, soy sauce, sugar and mirin) in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Clean and wash the chicken thigh with water.
  • Cut it into bite size pieces and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a large pan and add ginger juliennes and chopped green onions. Stir fry these for a few seconds and then add chopped daikon, diced carrots and chicken pieces. Fry until chicken starts changing its color. Continuously stir the ingredients to avoid sticking to the pan.
  • Pour the seasoning liquid (prepared in step 1) in the pan and bring the mixture to boil over high flame.
  • Mix the ingredients well and reduce the flame to low. Cover the pan with a lid.
  • Let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables and chicken soak up all the liquid. Once done, turn off the heat.
  • Tasty chicken and daikon nimono is ready to serve. Enjoy with your loved ones!
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Nimono

Most of the times Japanese include a lot of store-bought ingredients in their recipes so their recipes are somewhat tricky to follow but in this recipe book we’ve tried to simply describe their recipes so everyone can make these Japanese cuisines at home. So try out these recipes and enjoy their delicacies at your home.

Featured Image Courtesy: Dennis Jarvis

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