When we hear "Japanese food" directly Suchi, Ramen, Miso soup & tofu jump to our mind as a japanese food, however, the Japanese cuisine has an amazing, unique, and varied dishes that goes beyond just fish and rice.
Soup, Appetizers & Main dishes
Miso Soup (missoshiru)* is a side dish that is always served with traditional Japanese-style breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
It is a soup made from a miso paste (fermented soybeans) and dashi (fish stock).
It is usually prepared with soy, hondashi, tofu, chives; sometimes other items, such as daikon, shrimp, fish, mushrooms, potatoes, onions, or meat, can be added, several complementary toppings are normally added to it, such as green onion, wakame seaweed, and firm tofu.
The misoshiru is served before the main course in almost every meal and with almost every dish
A traditional Japanese diet generally includes drinking miso soup daily. There are hundreds of regional varieties of miso soup, from simple soups with just seaweed and tofu to ones with crab and a variety of vegetables.
Miso paste itself comes in different types, from white, which has a sweet flavor, to a darker, saltier red.
*The word missoshiru means fermented soy broth, consisting of two words where miso means "fermented soy" and shiru, "broth".
Dashi is an authentic soup in Japan. It is a type of soup and cooking stock often used as the base for different miso and noodle soups, donburi or rice bowl dishes, stews, and many other kinds of simmered dishes. Dashi is typically made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuobushi (dried and smoked skipjack tuna), iriko or niboshi (anchovies or sardines), or a combination of these ingredients, all of which are naturally rich in glutamates and thus deliver an intense umami flavor to many Japanese dishes.
Oden is one of the pot dishes consisting of several ingredients (usually eggs, konjac, fish cakes, and daikon) served in a dashi and soy soup. Oden is a dish of various ingredients simmered in broth, it has a savory, salty taste. Oden can be prepared in many different ways.
Ramen is a noodle soup dish consisting of wheat noodles that is a very popular dish which is served as the last meal of the day.
It is considered to be fast food, it's usually served hot but some kinds can be served cold.
The broth can be based on chicken, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, and flavored with soy sauce, miso, dashi, and many other seasonings.
It is topped with meat, protein, and vegetables such as sliced pork, nori seaweed, spring onions, bamboo shoots, and others. it’s impossible to list all the different combinations in which this dish can be served.
Not only each region, but even each restaurant can have a different recipe of Ramen, Ramen varieties: Tsukemen-Hiyashi Chuka- Hakata Ramen- Miso Ramen- Shoyu Ramen- Tonkotsu Ramen-Shio Ramen-Champon.
Udon is Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. It is thicker than soba and is also served either hot or cold and with various toppings such as fried tofu (kitsune udon), tempura (tempura udon), and mountain vegetables (sansai udon).
It is commonly served in dashi stock with soy sauce and mirin. Most of the time it comes with Negi (Welsh onion).
The toppings for udon are also seasonal, and they include tempura-battered vegetables, shrimps, sliced spring onions, fried tofu, or rice cakes.
Some of the most common udon noodle soup dishes include kitsune udon (‘fox udon’, topped with aburaage fried tofu), tempura udon (topped with tempura battered seafood and vegetables), and chikara udon (‘power udon’, topped with grilled mochi rice cakes).
Soba is one of the three main varieties of noodles most frequently eaten in Japan. Unlike udon and ramen; soba noodles are made partially, if not entirely, from buckwheat flour.
Soba may or may not mix other ingredients in the dough. Soba noodles are thin (Udon noodles are thick) and they can be eaten also cold or hot making it an ideal dish year-round.
After boiling the noodles in hot water, it is eaten dipped in cold soup, or by pouring hot soup over it. The soba broth (tsuyu) is typically made from kombu or dried bonito broth, seasoned with soy sauce and mirin.
As we mentioned soba can be served hot in soups with toppings of spring onions, agetama tempura flakes, kamaboko fish cakes, and/or grilled mochi), or cold with a side of tsuyu and garnishes of green onions, shredded nori seaweed, and wasabi.
When served, the noodles are picked up with chopsticks, then slurped loudly, which is a part of common culture in Japan.
The most popular soba dishes include kitsune soba, tanuki soba, tempura soba, and kake soba. There are also regional soba dishes such as ita soba (Yamagata Prefecture), matcha soba (Uji), nishin soba (Kyoto Prefecture), and Wanko soba (Iwate Prefecture).
Edamame soybeans are often served as a side dish in some Japanese restaurants, but they can also be consumed as a light snack, eaten fresh from the pod.
Sushi is one of the best-known Japanese foods around the world.
It consists of a piece of rice seasoned with a rice vinegar mix (made with sugar and salt) mixed with different ingredients - a variety of fishes, vegetables, and nori (seaweed).
Sushi is generally eaten with soy sauce and wasabi, but those who aren't fond of wasabi can ask for "Sabi-nuki" (meaning "without wasabi"), you use the chopsticks to grab the pieces of sushi and dip them into soy sauce or wasabi upside down, or both, according to your choice.
Originally, sushi was only a method of preserving fish - first developed in Southeast Asia, but it reached Japan in the 8th century.
Depending on the shape and ingredients that are used, sushi can be Nigiri sushi, Maki sushi, Oshi sushi, Temaki sushi, etc.
Sashimi is similar to sushi but without rice. It is served as an appetizer
It is raw fish or seafood thinly sliced into easy-to-eat pieces & served with soy sauce and other ingredients such as wasabi or ginger paste and decorated with shiso leaves, cucumbers, and seaweed (wakame and tosaka-nori).
The most common ingredients used in the preparation of sashimi are tuna, squid, scallop, whale, and octopus.
The common and popular varieties are maguro and other tuna varieties, salmon, mackerel, and sea bream.
Onigiri is rice that used to be rolled into small balls to be easily picked up and eaten.
It is also called omusubi, may just look like plain rice, but they often have a savory filling inside and are wrapped with a salty sheet of nori seaweed.
The wrapping in nori seaweed did not come about until the late 16th century.
This is a classic choice for a snack or light meal.
Nigiri or nigirizushi is a special kind of hand-pressed sushi where the meat is sliced and pressed on top of sushi rice. Sometimes, nori seaweed is used to wrap the whole concoction and keep it together.
The topping is usually seafood such as shrimp, tuna, haddock, or eel, and it should always be fresh and of the highest quality. Traditionally, nigirizushi is paired with shiso leaves, wasabi, soy sauce, or pickled ginger. It is sometimes garnished with daikon and salted seaweed.
Tempura is more of a snack than a dish.
Tempura consists of seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, or meat coated with batter (flour and egg.) and deep-fried until they reach a perfect crunchiness level, it may be seasoned with salt or dipped in a light sauce before eating.
The tempura was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century and has become one of Japan's most famous dishes internationally.
Korokke is a Japanese deep-fried dish that is similar to the French dish croquette.
It consists of a mix of mashed potatoes and chopped meat, seafood, or vegetables. The combination of those ingredients is shaped in a patty and rolled in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried.