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20 Simple and Oishii Japanese 30-Minute Recipes

20 Simple and Oishii Japanese 30-Minute Recipes

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

salmon shioyaki simple japanese recipes

    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

    Baked Tonkatsu simple japanese recipes

      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!

      3. Hiyayakko

      hiyayakko simple japanese recipes

        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

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        spicy tuna bowl simple japanese recipes

          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!

          5. Shabu-Shabu

          Shabu Shabu

            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.

            6. Omurice

            omurice

              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

              Hambagu 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.

                8. Sukiyaki

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                sukiyaki

                  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.

                  9. Yakisoba

                  yakisoba

                    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

                    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

                      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

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                        crispy fried oysters

                          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

                          crab cream croquette

                            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.

                            14. Tensoba

                            tempura soba

                              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

                              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!

                                16. Takoyaki

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                                Takoyaki

                                  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.

                                  17. Okonomiyaki

                                  okonomiyaki

                                    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.

                                    18. Anmitsu

                                    Anmitsu

                                      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

                                      Mitarashi 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.

                                        20. Yakitomorokoshi

                                        yakitomorokoshi

                                          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

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                                          Carmen Sakurai

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                                          Last Updated on June 15, 2018

                                          What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                          What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                          Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

                                          Video Summary

                                          Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

                                          Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

                                          Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

                                          Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

                                          This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

                                          Sitting Is the New Smoking

                                          Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

                                          The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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                                          Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

                                            Sit Properly

                                            If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

                                            Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

                                              Credit: StayWow

                                              Stand Up More

                                              Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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                                              Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

                                              Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

                                              Or get a standing desk.

                                              One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

                                              Exercise for Lower Back Pain

                                              Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

                                              But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

                                              The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

                                              Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

                                              Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

                                              This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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                                              Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

                                              Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

                                              There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

                                              Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

                                              I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

                                              Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

                                              If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

                                              Where to Start

                                              The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

                                              Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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                                              If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

                                              Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

                                              Keep a straight back.

                                              Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

                                              Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

                                              I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

                                              If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

                                              Stay Away From the Back Pain League

                                              Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

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