Enjoy Japanese Cuisine
Introduction to Japanese Cooking
You are interested in Japanese cuisine. You wish you could make some Japanese dishes. But you never try. Why don't or can't you make Japanese dishes? Is Japanese cooking difficult and inaccessible? Japanese cuisine may include some high-grade dishes that require selected ingredients and high level cooking techniques. However, it does not mean that Japanese people prepare complicated dishes every day. Japanese mothers prepare daily quick and simple dishes that their whole family never gets bored of. Japanese cooking is not something complex at all.
Then, the issue is that you are unable to find the necessary ingredients, isn't it? Each country has its own essential seasonings: one example is nam pla used in Thai cooking. In Japanese cooking we need soy sauce, so the first thing to do is to get soy sauce (made in Japan if possible). A bottle of soy sauce is the first step for your Japanese cooking experience.
Next is dashi stock that we find in many recipes. Main ingredients of dashi broth are kombu kelp and bonito flakes. Probably you have never heard of them. Actually, dashi is not necessary to make delicious Japanese dishes. Instead of dashi, we use "umami," or natural flavor from ingredients. For example, you sauté chicken meat slowly over a low heat and draw out its fat. The fat from chicken will be used to cook vegetables. One of the basic techniques involved in Japanese cooking is using natural fat or fatty oil of ingredients instead of oil. We avoid excessive oil or fat intake, but enjoy the natural flavor of ingredients. It is a simple, natural way of cooking because of which Japanese cuisine is considered healthy.
A simple approach is one of the aspects of Japanese cooking: instead of keeping on adding ingredients to complete a dish, we just give our full attention to vegetables, meat, or fish, we carefully watch them change in the course of cooking over a gentle heat, and then seize a perfect moment to make the best out of the ingredients.
Japanese cooking is not difficult. There are web videos these days. You can watch these videos with step-by-step recipes whenever you want. Don't be discouraged because you don't have some of the ingredients. Keep trying Japanese recipes and expanding your repertoire. We hope we can be of help to you.
More about Japanese cooking: "The beauty of Japanese Cuisine"
"We cannot cut when it cannot be cut".
At a shooting, I closely watched an expert cook fillet a sea bream. The movement he showed to the director was graceful and efficient. His movement was quick and there was no moment of hesitation during the shooting. His explanation to the shooting crew was clear and all they did was just nodding to him. He wrapped it up by saying, "We cannot cut when it cannot be cut."
It is such an ordinary phrase.
Every day, we repeat the same movements without second thought. We do not pay attention to these movements and think about improving them little by little, do we? A master chef just does not repeat the same movement of cutting a fish into fillets. He takes a close look at the ingredients every time, checks them out, and keeps them in mind. He repeats this secret practice hundreds or thousands of times. How many of us are aware that his art is the fruit of this discipline?
Simple, because it is excellent. That is one of the beauties of Japanese cooking.