10 Ways To Enjoy Japanese Flavors At Home

Love Japanese food, too?

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Japanese cuisine is enjoyed all around the Philippines for its fresh, refined, and diverse flavors. For many Filipinos, there are few comforts close to getting Japanese food for takeout, celebrating a birthday or a promotion at work with ramen, or watching a chef demonstrate their skills live at a teppanyaki restaurant. 

If you're still cautious about heading out and visiting your fave Japanese resto, you can still recreate some of the Japanese flavors you love in the comfort of your home. Here's a roundup of recipes and cooking tips for a food trip or two reminiscent of an izakaya, a ramen house, or a Japanese café. Get ready to dig in and say oishi! 

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1 Stock Up on Quintessential Japanese Ingredients for Everyday Use

If you'd like to do a lot of cooking in the coming days, we recommend stocking your pantry with some of the ingredients found most often in Japanese cuisine. After all, it's these sauces, seasonings, and other trimmings that impart the most authentic of Japanese tastes. Here's our list of Japanese pantry staples that you should have on hand in your kitchen. With base ingredients like yamaki dressing, togarashi chili powder, and pon shabu sauce, you'll always be ready to cook up a Japanese feast. 

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2 Try This Easy Twist on Sushi

Next, you can try this spin on your favorite sushi or maki rolls and make your own sushi bake at home. This recipe is a deconstructed version of fusion Japanese rolls, like the crowd-pleasing Philadelphia maki. Ingredients include salmon fillet, crab sticks, Japanese mayonnaise, seaweed, cream cheese, and a touch of sriracha for those who like it spicy. Whip up some sushi rice, top it with your favorite sushi-like toppings, and pop it in the oven for a fast and filling treat!

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3 Cook Up Some Delicious Japanese Curry Dish

If you're a fan of Japanese curry, you'll notice that its flavor is quite distinct from the curries prepared in South Asian or Southeast Asian cuisine. Japanese curry sauce is thick and gravy-like, and its hearty spice is often tempered with a sweet ingredient like honey or grated apple. Want to try making some at home? It actually isn't difficult to whip up your own chicken katsu curry from scratch or to make the dish using store-bought roux. Regardless, it's a meal that will satisfy your cravings for Japanese food. 

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4 Serve Up Hotpot Delights no Matter the Weather Outside

Though shabu-shabu is most popularly eaten in Japan during the autumn or winter months, it's popular with Pinoys all year round. If you miss your favorite hotpot restaurant, it may be of comfort to you that you can easily serve shabu-shabu at home. The key is to make a tasty broth and to use vegetables and fresh meat that are of good quality. Bring out your portable stove, chopsticks, and Japanese condiments, and get ready to enjoy your homemade hotpot with the whole family!

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5 Wow Your Family with a Restaurant-Style Japanese Salad 

For a healthy and refreshing appetizer, try this restaurant-style Japanese salad with a few simple ingredients-crab sticks, cucumber, ripe mango, Japanese mayonnaise, fish roe, and mixed greens. This goes great with heavier Japanese café favorites like Japanese-style spaghetti carbonara or omurice. Once you eat this salad, you'll be whisked off to one of those café restaurants that are such a huge part of Japanese city life.  

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6 Make Your Own Street-Style Takoyaki Balls

Do you miss stopping for takoyaki at a Japanese street food stall-either in Japan itself or in one of the many takoyaki food carts found all over the Philippines? If you invest in a takoyaki grill plate, you can make your own takoyaki balls any time you like. Our recipe entails nothing more than a cake flour-based batter, vegetables, pickled ginger, dried bonito flakes, and octopus, although you can easily substitute the last ingredient with squid. Before you know it, you'll be enjoying Osaka's most popular contribution to the global street food experience in no time at all.

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7 Make Some Satisfying Fish Tempura with Asuhos

Filipinos are most familiar with ebi or shrimp tempura, but in Japan, the versatile batter can be used with various vegetables as well as fish. If you want to try something other than shrimp tempura, cook up this tempura recipe using asuhos or whiting. This ray-finned fish is not only sweet and delicate in terms of flavor, it's also a very nutritious addition to any diet. Spritz with lemon juice and enjoy either it on its own or with a simple tempura sauce made with soy sauce, dashi, and mirin. 

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8 Top Your Rice with Fresh Tuna and Make Tuna Donburi

Love sashimi, but want something more substantial to fill you up? You can enjoy something quite like it with this stress-free weekday bowl of tuna donburi. Lightly dressing some fresh cuts of tuna and using it as a rice topping will satisfy your stomach without the heavy taste of grease. Give this a try, and consider switching the tuna out for sashimi-grade salmon for variety. 

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9 Whip Up Your Own Japanese Fried Rice

Another great weekday option you can try is gohan, or Japanese fried rice. This extremely easy recipe for making Japanese fried rice uses ingredients you likely already have at home, like ground beef, carrots, green onions, and sesame oil. For some extra indulgence, add a touch of Japanese mayonnaise to the cooked rice before you fry it. Try it out and thank us later!

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10 Bake a Showstopping Japanese-Style Cheesecake

Dessert, anyone? There's no better end to a delicious Japanese meal than light, fluffy, and mouthwatering Japanese-style cheesecake, preferably washed down with some hot tea or coffee. If you want to try making some yourself, here's our step-by-step recipe for Japanese-style cheesecake. We promise, the effort will be worth it!

These aren't the only dishes you can try when you're missing your best-loved Japanese dishes. We've got some other Japanese-inspired recipes that you can browse when you're feeling extra hungry. Make these at home when you miss traveling to Japan-or even just going to your favorite Japanese food haunts-for tasty, feel-good meals!

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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