Japanese Food in America – How to Make

You do not have to be in Japan to enjoy Japanese food. Heck! You can be anywhere and enjoy the sushi or sashimi that you love so much. How? By making them yourself of course!

So right now, you are probably asking yourself how you can manage to do that right? Well, that is what this article is for. Here are some things that you need to know to help you make Japanese food in America.

1. Recipes are conveniently available almost everywhere. You can get Japanese cookbooks at your local bookstore. If you are a novice, get a book that does not only list down the recipes for you. You may want something that can give you a clear background on what Japanese cuisine is all about. However, if you want a cheaper, you can always click on your handy dandy browser and search for them in the Internet.

2. Do not worry about the ingredients. Here’s the thing, sometimes Japanese recipes include some weird – sounding items that seem to be close to impossible to find. But, do not be fooled. Some of them has an American counterpart which you can easily get at your local grocery store. Plus, Japanese specialty stores are sprouting out like mushrooms everywhere. So if you want to save time on looking for some items, go look for a shop near your area.
3. In a rare case scenario, where you cannot find a specific ingredient, substitute. For example, if sushi rice is not available, you can always replace that with any short grain rice. You would just need to adjust the way you cook the substitute to achieve the same texture or consistency of the sushi rice.

4. Lastly, stay away from processed ingredients. Traditional Japanese cooking rarely calls for dried herbs, seafood or processed meat. So as much as possible, stick to freshest vegetables and meat that you can get your hands on.

Best Places to Find Japanese Recipe Ingredients

Do you love Japanese food and wish that you could create some of those great Japanese dishes like shrimp tempura, katsudon curry, or yakitori, but don’t know where to get some of the necessary ingredients to complete these recipes?

The first thing you might want to try is to visit your local supermarket. Almost every large supermarket contains an aisle of ethnic foods, right? Well, if you live in Hawaii, you might be in luck due to the high concentration of Japanese immigrants to that state over the years; however, for the rest of the country, all you will find in the supermarket are a few packs of Ramen noodles, some bottles of soy sauce, and maybe a bottle of teriyaki sauce if you are lucky.

A step up from the supermarket would be a visit to the local Asian market. While at first this might seem like a good idea, again it depends on what area of the country you live in. Asian markets in Hawaii and California have quite a bit of great Japanese food, condiments, spices, or whatever else you might require. You will find that Asian markets in the rest of the country will be hit or miss.

Most of the Asian markets where I live are run by families from Vietnam or Thailand. Still, these Asian markets will have a better selection of Japanese food than the average supermarket. I have had some success finding Japanese Kewpie brand mayonnaise as well as Vermont Curry roux (despite the name, this curry roux is 100% Japanese), as well as some Japanese snacks like Pocky at these markets.

If you live in a small town with no Asian population to speak of, even an Asian market may be out of your reach. So where do you go when you are trying to find the necessary ingredients to make the perfect Japanese dish?

The internet of course! These days there are many websites where you can buy Japanese food online. They offer everything from Japanese spices, authentic Japanese teas, even Japanese snacks and candy. In fact, you can find even the most obscure ingredients to complete your recipes, like Japanese bread crumbs, and sheets of nori seaweed for those interested in making their own sushi.

Japanese food is not the only thing these online merchants offer! Some offer Japanese cookware, tea sets, bento boxes, even electronic goods such as rice cookers.

When looking for a website to buy Japanese food online, your best bet is to seek out the websites that specialize in Japanese cuisine. These online retailers know what ingredients are necessary for a wide variety of Japanese recipes and will always have these items available for purchase.

Don’t have a recipe for your favorite dish? The best Japanese online grocers will have free recipes available online for almost any Japanese dish you can imagine.

While you are on the internet, why not check out an online Japanese grocer today?

Japanese Recipes Which Appeal To Western Palates

Having lived in Japan for many years, I was able to experience a large variety of the dishes available in the land of the rising sun. At first, I was very adventurous and wanted to eat the dishes most different to my own culture’s familiar tastes. After some years living abroad though, I started to feel like many of my expatriate friends and craved the tastes of home in my own house. With comfort food, one can often relax and create a little atmosphere of Western comfort, even while living in a tiny Japanese apartment.

Here are a couple of Japanese dishes which are easy to stomach for the foreigner who has been in Japan too long, or for the uninitiated who wants to sample Japanese food without diving straight into sushi:

Katsu Curry

I first had katsu curry while on student exchange in the Saitama region, close to Tokyo. As a 15 year old active boy, I required a lot of calories to make it through the day. The school cafeteria served up katsu curry as an option everyday and it soon became my favorite Japanese comfort food.

The meat of the dish is tonkatsu (the ton means pork, katsu is the style of batter), which is thin to medium thickness pork fillets, breaded and deep fried. There are a range of dishes made with tonkatsu, and even a tonkatsu sauce, which is not used in katsu curry, but is often found on tonkatsu along with shredded cabbage as a garnish.

The aforementioned fried pork is laid upon a bed of rice and then covered in a mild Japanese curry (more closely related in flavor to an English beef stew then any Western concept of curry). The typical garnish is a bright red pickled ginger, julienned. This may be placed on the curry when served or offered as a condiment at your table.

Karaage

For those trying to avoid too much cholesterol in their diets, be warned, these recipes may not suit you. Again, as a 15 year old boy and even now, I still think karaage is one of the easiest Japanese foods to eat as a Westerner.

One could easily assume karaage is just fried chicken, as done in many other countries. While similar, there are some subtle differences. One point to note is that while karaage is most often made with Chicken, it is not always the case. You may be served gobo karaage which is the same batter, but used to fry burdock root. A difference from common fried chicken you may find in the United States of America, is that the meat is first marinated in sauces such as soy combined with garlic or ginger. After marinating either for an hour or overnight, the main ingredient is then lightly covered in a flour or starch and fried in oil. Many cooks will double or triple-fry the karaage, with a resting period of 15 minutes between fries.

The resulting food is always delicious and while Japanese enjoy covering karaage in mayonnaise before eating, to me, that feels wrong, so plain karaage or with a little Frank’s Hot Sauce is the perfect pseudo-Western food to be found all over Japan.