Japanese food
Is it difficult to make Japanese food at home?
To enjoy Sake deliciously at home, to “drink at home” happily, obviously our favorite bottle of Sake is necessary. However, imagine if we were able to prepare a snack, a Sake pairing appetizer, to complement the sake? Wouldn’t that be a perfect evening? It is easy to prepare Japanese food easily in Japan; however, overseas, the food situation is very different.

With a limitation on available Japanese ingredients overseas, is it possible to make easy, healthy, Sake pairing appetizers? Actually, it is.

By altering a few items, it is possible to make Japanese appetizers outside of Japan. And in this post, we will introduce these easy Japanese food recipes. We hope you will keep an open mind and give them a try!

 

Great with Sake!! Easy Appetizers


Ok, let’s begin! We will start by introducing Sake pairing appetizers we believe are easy to make with ingredients that are easy to obtain overseas.

Though the Sake pairing appetizers are meant to be a tasty pairing dish, your family members may like it as well. We do hope these Sake pairing appetizers grow to be more than a simple Sake snack!

 

Easy “Japanese Egg Roll”


Japanese food

In Japan, young-old, male-female, anyone and everyone loves this classic lunchbox item: egg roll! And this easy to make egg roll is a great Sake pairing appetizer!

An egg roll has either a sweet or bitter flavor. The flavor can be decided by your preference or by the Sake you wish to indulge with.

If the Sake you have at home is sweet, we recommend a sweet egg roll. However, if your Sake is more the dry type, the bitter-flavored egg roll is better.

Sweet Egg Roll Recipe

Ingredients:

3 eggs

Sugar (as much or little as you wish)

1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise

1 teaspoon of Oil (any type)

Instructions:
  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and mayonnaise until well blended.
  2. Warm up a frying pan. Add the oil and be sure the oil is well spread throughout the pan. If there is excessive oil, soak it up with a paper towel as the egg roll will become oily. Likewise, if there is not enough oil, the egg roll batter will stick to the pan, making it difficult to roll.
  3. In the frying pan, put in about one-third of the batter. Tilt the frying pan so the batter will cover the frying pan.
  4. Once the bottom is slightly cooked, begin to roll the batter from the handle. You can use chopsticks or a flipper, whichever is easier.
  5. Once you have rolled three-quarters of the batter into the frying pan, push the rolled batter back near the handle. Add in more of the batter from the bowl and repeat the rolling process. Continue until all the batter is used.
  6. Once you removed the egg roll from the frying pan, wait about 1 minute to let the roll cool down before cutting.

Note: The mayonnaise is added to raise the egg rolls and make them fluffy. Once cooked, the taste of the mayonnaise disappears. Therefore, it is not a necessary ingredient and can be omitted.

Bitter Egg Roll Recipe

Ingredients:

3 eggs

Salt (as much or little as you wish)

Daikon (or Radish)

1 teaspoon of Oil (any type)

Instructions:
  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs, and salt until well blended.
  2. (Same as the Sweet Egg Roll) Warm up a frying pan. Add the oil and be sure the oil is well spread throughout the pan. If there is excessive oil, soak it up with a paper towel as the egg roll will become oily. Likewise, if there is not enough oil, the egg roll batter will stick to the pan, making it difficult to roll.
  3. In the frying pan, put in about one-third of the batter. Tilt the frying pan so the batter will cover the frying pan.
  4. Once the bottom is slightly cooked, begin to roll the batter from the handle. You can use chopsticks or a flipper, whichever is easier.
  5. Once you have rolled three-quarters of the batter into the frying pan, push the rolled batter back near the handle. Add in more of the batter from the bowl and repeat the rolling process. Continue until all the batter is used.
  6. Once you removed the egg roll from the frying pan, wait about 1 minute to let the roll cool down before cutting.
  7. Using a grater, grate the daikon or radish. Place the grated daikon or radish next to the egg roll while serving. (According to preference, but Japanese people will eat the daikon garnish together with the egg roll)

Note: If soy sauce is available, sprinkle some on top of the grated daikon or radish. If soy sauce is not available, sprinkle salt instead. The daikon garnish adds a refreshing taste as well as a healthy element to the egg roll.

 

For a Rich Taste: “Smoked Salmon and Avocado mixed with Mayo”


We understand it is still not common to eat raw fish outside Japan. Many supermarkets overseas do not have sashimi-ready seafood slices readily available. It is difficult when you have a sudden urge to eat sashimi. But do not despair.

Most major supermarkets have smoked salmon available. And we have found a great recipe for a Sake pairing appetizer using the readily available smoked salmon.

By just adding a little bit of this and that, you will not believe the ease of transforming smoked salmon into a delicious Sake pairing appetizer!

Smoked Salmon and Avocado mixed with mayo

Ingredients:

Smoked Salmon

Avocado

Mayonnaise

Wasabi (if possible)

Instructions:
  1. Put the smoked salmon in a bowl of water to remove the saltiness.
  2. After 30 minutes to an hour, remove the smoked salmon from the water bowl. Cut the salmon to a size that is easy for you to eat (bite size is recommended but it could be bigger or smaller). Cut the avocado into bite-sized pieces as well.
  3. Put the cut salmon and avocado in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and wasabi. Mix so the mayonnaise and wasabi coats and blends with the salmon and avocado.

Note:  If wasabi is not readily available, horseradish or mustard are good substitutes. This rich-tasting Japanese dish pairs well with a strong umami-rich Sake.

 

Just like in Japan “Tempura”


Japanese food

When you hear “Japanese food,” most people imagine this Japanese classic:  tempura. Easily available in Japan, the idea of making it overseas does appear difficult. But, in reality, it isn’t. Tempura is a common food in many Japanese households as it is not a difficult food to make.

Now, if you want to do this really Japanese, a hot-hot tempura pair well with a super chilled Sake.

Tempura

Ingredients:

Tempura Batter:

2 cups Cake Flour

360 ml cold water

1 egg

Tempura Fillings

Shrimp, squid, vegetable (preferably those will low water content)

Instructions:

Tempura Batter

  1. In the bowl, mix the egg and water and stir.
  2. Add in the cake flour and mix together

Note: The batter does not have to smooth. In fact, a lumpy batter is said to be the best.

After the tempura batter is completed, dip the filling in the batter, coat it well, and place in the oil. For fillings such as shrimp or seafood, the oil may splatter so use caution. For healthy cooking, use vegetable for the tempura fillings.

It is easy to taste the filling, so neither sauce nor seasoning is necessary. However, if you would like to have an authentic Japanese taste, sprinkle some salt before eating.

 

Unbelievably Easy: “Clams in Sake”


Japanese food

A true Sake lover may feel it is wasteful to not drink every single drop of Sake, but maybe we could allow a small portion of Sake to be used to make a Sake pairing appetizer? In Japan, Sake is often used in cooking, so the rich aroma of Sake can help make our foods delightful as well.

The taste of this Sake pairing appetizer, clams in sake, is simple. However, the dish is high in protein and low in calorie. This highly nutritious Sake pairing appetizer is recommended for dieters and healthy eaters as well as those who would like to take advantage of the beauty benefits of Japanese food.

This Sake pairing appetizer produces delicious clam soup as a byproduct as well. The clam soup is not only tasty but good for your liver. Another reason, clams in sake is a great Sake pairing appetizer.

Clams in Sake

Ingredients:

Clams purged from sand (any variation of clams)

Red Peppers

Japanese Sake

Salt

Spring onions (optional)

Instructions:
  1. In a frying pan, place the clams and red pepper. Add 2 Tablespoons of Japanese sake.
  2. After the frying pan is hot, place a lid on the frying pan. Rotate the frying pan around using the handle. This will help the clams open up.
  3. After all of the clams have opened, season with salt (amount is up to you) and garnish with chopped spring onions.

As stated, the soup from the clams is delicious. Scoop out the soup from the frying pan and put into a soup bowl. Garnish it with spring onions, or the superfood, broccoli sprouts, etc., for an easy and super healthy way to gain nutrients.

As it is a sake steam, the clams become fuller, making each bite more satisfying. This is a simple but taste worthy dish. A truly easy and healthy Sake pairing appetizer.

 

If you can find it, do try “Okonomiyaki


Japanese food

A part of Japan’s “junk food,” those who have tried okonomiyaki once find themselves returning for more. If you have a chance to visit a Japanese supermarket overseas, please pick up some “okonomiyaki flour” and “okonomiyaki sauce.” You will be able to make okonomiyaki easily.

A terrific Sake experience would be to stuff your mouth with okonomiyaki while enjoying Sake. Trust us, it is an over-indulgent but happy feeling!

Okonomiyaki

Ingredients:

Okonomiyaki Flour

Cabbage

Thinly sliced pork (if not possible, bacon or even shrimps are possible substitutes)

Egg

Okonomiyaki Sauce

Mayonnaise

Instructions:
  1. Add the appropriate amount of water and egg to the okonomiyaki flour and mix well.
  2. Add in shredded cabbage
  3. In a heated frying pan, lay down the thin pork slices, pour the okonomiyaki over the pork slices, as if to cover the slices.
  4. When air bubbles appear, flip the okonomiyaki to the other side (imagine pancake).
  5. Cover with a lid, not touching the batter in the frying pan unless necessary. This will allow the heat to pass through the okonomiyaki, so it is cooked properly. When it is done, flip the okonomiyaki onto a plate.
  6. Spread okonomiyaki sauce on the According to your preference, you can garnish with mayonnaise on top of the okonomiyaki sauce.

**In reality, fried tempura bits, bonito flakes, finely chopped green seaweed, etc., are used but as these items are difficult to obtain outside of Japan, do not worry. The above recipe is sufficient to make delicious, Sake pairing appetizer. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but we strongly hope you do try to make okonomiyaki.

 

Let’s make easy Japanese dishes one of the cooking masterpieces!


Japanese food

In this post, we introduced Japanese food that can be made outside of Japan. Japanese food is healthy and good for you. But, it is also thought of as being difficult to make. So, we have made simple recipes and left many portions to be decided by you, to add your own flavor in Japanese food.

And remember just because the food is Japanese, it does not automatically mean it is difficult to make. Probably any food from a foreign land will appear at first to be difficult. But by allowing ourselves to let go of these misguided perceptions, we are able to expand our knowledge, cooking (and tasting) ability and, of course, new ways to enjoy delicious Sake.