Bring the Japanese bento box home with these delicious and simple Japanese recipes. Perfect for the home cook who wants Japanese food at home without draining the wallet. From the ever popular Tonkatsu to the traditional Spicy Tuna, this collection of Japanese recipes will have you enjoying authentic and oishii (meaning: yummy!) Japanese dishes, quickly and conveniently!
1. Salmon Shioyaki
A traditional method of grilling fish in Japan is shioyaki (“shio” means salt and “yaki” means grilled) where a generous amount of salt is rubbed on the fish before grilling.
2. Baked Tonkatsu
Tonkatsu or Japanese pork cutlet is one of the most popular simple Japanese recipes. It’s usually fried, but this recipe shows you how to make baked tonkatsu that’s healthier for you, while keeping it juicy inside and crispy outside!
Hiyayakko is a simple and refreshing Japanese cold tofu that only takes minutes to make. The dish is made by topping a small block of tofu with a drizzle of soy sauce and a sprinkling of chopped herbs, ginger or other toppings.
4. Spicy Tuna Bowl
Based off the popular Spicy Tuna Sushi, this dish is made from adding the spicy tuna to a bowl of rice and raw vegetables and other toppings of your choice. Rice bowls are not only easy to make, they’re nutritious and delicious as well!
Shabu-shabu is a one-pot dish cooked at the table, where everybody eats from the pot. Thin slices of meat are dipped into the boiling broth, taken out quickly, then dipped into a ponzu soy sauce or sesame sauce. Tofu and other vegetables are simmered in the pot for a longer time and dipped into one of the sauces when done.
Those of you who enjoy your scrambled eggs with ketchup will love omurice! “Omu” is an abbreviation for “omuretsu” (omelette pronounced with a Japanese accent) and “rice” (pronounced raisu) refers to the sweet and savory rice it’s filled with.
7. Hamburg Steak
Hamburg Steak (pronounced hahm-bah-goo in Japan) is probably the most popular bento lunch entrée in Japan. The hamburgs are filled with onions and garlic and seasoned with soy sauce and ketchup. The sauce is made with red wine, ketchup, and tonkatsu sauce, giving each steak a luscious tangy-sweet coating.
Sukiyaki is a type of one-pot dish that is cooked table side in a shallow cast-iron pot. Traditionally, it contains beef, but some parts of Japan use pork. Vegetarians can substitute tofu and big, meaty mushrooms such as matsutakes. Other ingredients like negi (a Japanese leek), konnyaku noodles, and shungiku are added, then everything is quickly cooked in soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.
Yakisoba is Japanese style fried noodles that are very easy to make. You can add almost any ingredient to suite your taste. Popular yakisoba varieties include vegetarian, seafood, or pork.
10. Corn Cream Soup
The Japanese corn soup has a sweet, creamy flavor with a thick texture. Almost every family style restaurant in Japan serves corn soup and Japanese supermarkets carry several varieties of the soup. In Japan, corn soup dispensers are just as common as coffee and soft drink dispensers!
11. Japanese Street Crepes
In Japan, crepes have been transformed to a type of quick street food that’s available in sweet and savory varieties. Unlike the French crepe, the Japanese crepe uses less butter and the fillings are fresh and/or raw.
12. Kaki Fry
Kaki Fry is breaded, deep-fried oysters, often served with Tonkatsu Sauce, lemon juice, and tartar sauce. You’ll enjoy biting through the crisp outer crust into the tender center of the fried oyster.
13. Corn & Crab Croquettes
In Japan, croquettes (pronounced “korokke” in Japan) are a staple bento box food along with tonkatsu and chicken teriyaki. Korokke comes in just about any flavor you can imagine, and prepared with either mashed potatoes or a creamy béchamel sauce as the base. This recipe uses the creamy béchamel sauce.
Tensoba, short for “Tempura Soba” is one of the most popular soba noodle recipes in Japan where shrimp tempura is served with a bowl of warm buckwheat noodles.
15. Shu Cream Puffs
In Japan, cream puffs are called “shu cream” and each, delicious crispy pastry puff is filed with custard cream. It’s a very popular children’s treat in Japan, and now you can enjoy it anytime you want!
Takoyaki is a Japanese snack shaped like little round balls containing pieces of octopus. Tako means “octopus” and yaki means “fried”. It’s one of Japan’s most popular street foods sold by street vendors, convenience stores, supermarkets, and specialty restaurants.
Okonomiyaki means “grilled as you like it” in Japanese, and how it’s prepared depends largely on your preferences. There are two types of okonomiyaki. Kansai style and Hiroshima style. While the more common Kansai okonomiyaki is made by mixing shredded cabbage with a pancake-like batter, the Hiroshima style stacks each ingredient on top of the other before being covered with a layer of yakisoba noodles. This recipe is for the Kansai style.
Anmitsu is a summer dessert made of small cubes of agar agar jelly, sweet azuki bean paste, mochi, a variety of fruits, ice cream, and boiled peas. It’s usually served with black sugar syrup called kuromitu that you pour onto the jelly before eating.
19. Kushi Dango
Dango is a Japanese dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour). Three to four dango are often served on a skewer (kushi) covered with syrup made from shouyu (soy sauce) and sugar.
Yakitomorokoshi is a simple to make, grilled corn brushed with soy sauce. It’s a popular fair and festival food in Japan. The sweetness from summer corn and the saltiness of soy sauce are a perfect match!
Featured photo credit: Tonkatsu Wako/Matt @ PEK via flic.kr