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Shortcuts to Scrumptious Japanese Food

Think cooking Japanese cuisine is difficult? Think again. Popular Japanese food expert Yukimasa Rika has easy-to-make recipes that are sure to change your mind. Use her recipes to prepare Japanese dishes using ingredients available locally. Give them a try!

“Onigiri”: The Soul of Japan in a Ball of RiceYukimasa Rika

Onigiri might be the “soul food” of the Japanese. These days an eclectic variety of fillings are making their way into the rice balls, but in their most basic form, they are made with just three ingredients: rice, salt, and nori seaweed. The first step to making delicious onigiri is learning how to cook delicious rice.
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Chicken Teriyaki: A Versatile Favorite for Snacks or MealsYukimasa Rika

Teriyaki refers to a technique of pan-broiling or frying food with glaze so as to give it a gloss. With its sweet and savory sauce, chicken teriyaki is known worldwide. It’s great both as a snack to go with drinks and as a rice topper.
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Miso Soup: A Healthy, Humble Homemade ClassicYukimasa Rika

Miso soup is not only delicious and a snap to make, it is low in calories and has numerous health benefits. It is easily varied—nearly every family boasts its own recipe—and can be made with nearly any type of vegetable. Come up with your own favorite version and make it a part of your daily diet. Along with miso, add homemade or granulated dashi (soup stock) for extra savory flavor.
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“Buta no Shōgayaki”: Tender and Tasty Japanese Ginger PorkYukimasa Rika

Whether part of a home meal or a packed lunch, this ginger pork recipe is certain to tingle the taste buds and satisfy appetites. The zesty bite of ginger and savory flavor of pork goes well with rice, making buta no shōgayaki a perennial favorite in Japan. Sliced beef or chicken can be substituted for a different take on this classic dish.
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Pressure-Cooker Curry and Rice: A Satisfying Meal in MinutesYukimasa Rika

A perennial mealtime favorite, curry rice is a robust dish that combines spices and readily available ingredients like carrots, potatoes, and onions. Using a pressure cooker makes it easy to rustle up a filling meal when time is short.
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“Tonkatsu”: A Crispy, Savory Mealtime FavoriteYukimasa Rika

Tonkatsu is a popular dish and a cinch to make. Whipping up a batch requires only a few cuts of pork (beef is also a tasty substitute) and flour, egg, and breadcrumbs for the koromo, or coating. Enjoy it with shredded cabbage as part of a family meal or a lunchtime treat.
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“Tamagoyaki”: A Rolled Delight for Both the Eye and PalateYukimasa Rika

Fluffy and savory, tamagoyaki is a standard bentō side dish. This easy-to-make version is seasoned with only salt and sugar and can be made in a rectangular tamagoyaki skillet or regular frying pan. It may take a few attempts, but once you get the hang of it you will enjoy rolling out these treats on any occasion.
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“Nikujaga”: A Hearty Side Dish Costarring Meat and PotatoYukimasa Rika

Nikujaga is, as its name suggests, meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo) stewed together. It’s one of the signature dishes of the modern Japanese kitchen; a chef who cooks nikujaga well knows the way to his or her partner’s heart, it was once said. Either beef or pork can be used. If thinly sliced meat is unavailable at a local store, just cut a slab of steak or other meat into small slices.
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“Temaki-zushi”: Get Creative with Roll-Your-Own SushiYukimasa Rika

If you’re looking for a no-hassle way to have a Japanese-style party, temaki-zushi—literally meaning “hand-rolled sushi”—could be the answer. The only cooking involved is preparing sushi rice, which is just fresh-cooked rice flavored here with sushi vinegar, regular vinegar, and salt. Although raw fish is commonly used, there are no hard-and-fast rules about what can or can’t go in the sushi; practically anything will work, from avocado to ground beef. Give your creativity free rein and mix and match different fillings as you enjoy the company of your favorite people.
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“Oyakodon”: The Simple Pleasure of Chicken, Egg, and RiceYukimasa Rika

Oyakodon is a healthy dish made with only egg, onion, chicken, and rice. The soft and creamy half-cooked egg combined with lightly sweetened sauce will melt in your mouth, and you’ll empty the bowl before you know it. Oyakodon is so beloved in Japan that there are restaurants specializing in it, but it is actually a very simple dish that can easily become a staple in your repertoire.
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“Kinpira”: A Colorful, Flavorful Veggie Side-Dish for Any MealYukimasa Rika

The following recipe is a spin on kinpira, a popular izakaya (Japanese-style pub) dish, using two ingredients that are available just about anywhere in the world: carrot and potato. Although kinpira is commonly associated with gobō, or burdock root, it works surprisingly well with the humble potato. With a delightful texture, this is a great recipe to fall back on when you need that extra dish.
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Sukiyaki: Gather Round the Pot for a Warming, Filling MealYukimasa Rika

The first recipe in the series is sukiyaki, known the world over as the title of a popular Japanese song. It looks sumptuous and tastes delicious, but is a snap to cook: just simmer beef and vegetables in a sauce made with sugar, mirin (sweet cooking sake), soy sauce, and sake. Switch out ingredients to your liking in this flexible dish, a perfect one to share with friends and family in colder months.
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