When it comes to Japanese cooking, there are some easy recipes that will still wow dinner guests! Whether you’re new to Japanese cooking or a beginner chef in general, these Japanese recipes are some of the easiest to get started with.
Easy Japanese Recipes for Beginners
Over the years, I’ve heard from many home cooks that Japanese cooking is intimidating. Many seem to think Japanese cooking is hard, or that is only filled with raw fish. That’s why I’ve put together this list of simple recipes that are absolutely delicious, but quite straight forward. Even if you’ve never tried your hand at Japanese recipes before, these are sure to be ones the newest cook can handle.
Easy Japanese Appetizers
Here are two of the easiest Japanese appetizers to make. Let’s start with one that’s a favorite in beer gardens and beer halls in Nagoya, where I happily lived for a number of years:
Tebasaki: Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings
This fried chicken wing recipe only requires five simple ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to throw together!
Fried Wonton Salad
- Square Wonton wraps (aka skins), cut into triangles
- Seedless cucumbers (such as Japanese, Persian, hothouse, or European), thinly sliced
- Salt as needed
- Neutral oil for frying
- Peeled fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon light-colored soy sauce, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Fry wontons until golden-brown. Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle cucumbers lightly with salt. Let sit until you are ready to use. Rinse lightly to remove excess salt prior to adding to dish, and drain.
Combine ginger and cucumber slices. Then add in the wonton wraps and dressing as needed to make a salad. Gently mix. Sprinkle with toasted white sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Tip: Keep any left-over dressing refrigerated and use again with your favorite salad mixture.
Easiest Japanese Dishes
Moving into the main course, there are many recipes I’ve shared that are great for the general home cook. I’ll talk more about those, but first I want to introduce you to a new recipe. This recipe will be featured in my soon-to-be released cookbook so make sure you’re on my e-mail list! No doubt you’ll want to dive into all the recipes I’ll be sharing. But first let’s start with one of my favorites –
- 4 cups very hot firmly cooked Japanese white rice
- 8 large fresh shrimp
- 2 tablespoons white flour for coating
- Oil for deep frying – a mixture of sesame oil (at least ¼ of the total is best) and vegetable oil
- ¼ cup mirin (sweet sake)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/6 oz. katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings)
- ½ cup sifted white flour
- ½ cup ice water
- 1 egg
Shell and de-vein the shrimp, leaving the tail and last section of shell attached. Trim the tail if desired. Rinse in cold water and pat dry. Slash the belly lightly a few times to prevent curling, then straighten out the shrimp and coat with flour.
To make the sauce, bring the mirin to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the soy sauce, water, and katsuobushi, bring to a boil again, and turn off the heat. Strain into a clean saucepan. Warm the donburi bowls with lids (or any deep individual bowls) to ready for serving.
Make the tempura batter by gently mixing the flour with the ice water and egg. For ideal crunchiness, do not over-mix.
In a frying pan or wok, heat up the oils. Dip two shrimp in the batter and fry until they float and are golden-brown. Drain briefly.
To serve, reheat the sauce. Place ¾ – 1 cup of rice in each bowl and pour a tablespoon of sauce over it. Put two shrimp on the rice and pour two more tablespoons of sauce over the top. Cover and serve immediately.
Japanese Dry Curry
Japanese dry curry is a very forgiving dish. It’s also fun to create your own and new combination of ingredients! Use this Japanese Dry Curry recipe as your guide, then go wild. It is also the perfect dish for a bento lunch and or served at room temperature.
Somen Noodle Recipe
This is a perfect Japanese noodle recipe for hot summer days. Somen is an easy recipe to make and will be a sure hit for any dinner guest visiting on a warm summer night!
Now let’s move into everyone’s favorite part of dinner – dessert!!
Easy Japanese Desserts
This is where you can really wow your dinner guests. Appetizers and the main course alone are sure to impress, but finish things off with dessert and you’ll really take things to the next level.
Again you’ll be able to find quite a few easy dessert recipes in my new cookbook. You can start, though, by clicking on any of the recipe names or photos below. It’ll be tough to know which dessert to start with, no doubt you’ll want to try them all!
Which one are you most excited to try? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to pin this for later –
Flawless recipes that I’m able to prepare for my 94 year old Japanese mother and receive rave reviews!
Barbara Tapley says
Wonderful recipes Lucy. I can easily follow them and turn out a terrific meal.
Gregg Galyean says
Thank you! This is my skill level.
Valerie Yoshimura says
These look amazing. I’m always surprised that the tempura batter is so simple ! Looking forward to trying these!