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Welcome Cooking - Japan

The Japanese cuisine has developed over the past 2,000 years, with strong influences, early from China and Korea, and later from the western countries. Our favorite staple, Ramen, is of Chinese origin. Tempura was introduced to Japan by Portuguese. Today, the Japanese cuisine includes a wide variety of products, some 1,500 different items.

A typical Japanese meal is based on combining staple foods, often rice or noodles, with a bowl of soup, and okazu (おかず) — dishes made from fish, meat, vegetable, tofu and the like to add flavor to the staple food. The dishes are typically flavored with dashi (made of kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved and fermented bonito(i.e. skipjack tuna)), miso, and soy sauce. The dishes usually low in fat but high in salt.

Okazu can be divided into the following categories:
(1) agemono (揚げ物) which are deep-fried dishes;
(2) itamemono (炒め物) which are stir-fried dishes;
(3) mushimono (蒸し物) which are steamed dishes;
(4) nimono (煮物) which are stewed/simmered dishes;
(5) sashimi which are raw dishes;
(6) suimono (吸い物) and shirumono (汁物) which are soup-liked dishes;
(7) tsukemono (漬け物), aemono (和え物) and sunomono (酢の物) which are pickled, salted, and dressed foods;
(8) yakimono (焼き物) which are grilled and pan-fried dishes.

Like other Asian cuisine, the Japanese cuisine is heavily influenced by geography. As Japan is an island nation, seaweed is one of our basic ingredient. Vast array of regional specialties, kyodo ryori (郷土料理), in Japanese cuisine, originated from dishes prepared using traditional recipes with local ingredients. Mainly, there are Kansai region food and Kanto region food. Kansai region foods are lightly seasoned. For example, the undo noodles dish in Kansai is made with light soy sauce. On the other hand, Kanto region foods taste very strong. Its famous dashi-based broth for serving udon noodles is heavy on dark soy sauce, similar to soba broth.

What then distinguish our cuisine from others? It is undoubtedly the mami taste and the artistic and elegant sense.

Our unbeatable dessert, Wagashi, is the best example to illustrate the distinguishing features of Japanese cuisine. First wagashi found in the traditional shops often last for few days. Second, it is so beautifully shaped, often fruit-shaped and flower-shaped, that it is considered a decoration. Although wagashi is mainly made of sugar, rice, glutinous rice and wheat, other ingredients are adjusted depending on the seasons. For example, cherry-blossoms-flavored wagashi is made in Spring in which plenty of cherry blossoms are available. In summer, kudzu powder is used to reflect the cool-artistic conception. Chestnut-flavored wagashi is most popular in Autumn and it is often colored in brown to express the leaves-falling.

My intention of the website is to share the enjoyment from the Japanese cuisine. The recipes here are a true representation of the life style and richness of our Japanese culture.