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!

“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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