The beauty of Japanese cuisine is in its wide variety of ingredients and cooking methods. The various ways of preparing the many different categories of ingredients combine to create healthy, nutritionally well-balanced meals. Here is an introduction to some of the principal categories of Japanese cuisine. Once the characteristics of each category are understood, Japanese cooking can be more fun and healthier.



The fusion of the ingredients with dashi

"Nimono" is a dish simmered in a dashi stock flavored with soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar. Simmering the ingredients in a dashi stock makes the most of their natural flavors and colors. Simmering is not only a cooking method but also a seasoning technique.

Typical simmered dishes are "buri-daikon" (simmered yellowtail and daikon), "niku-jaga" (beef and potato stew), "chikuzen-ni" (simmered chicken and vegetables) and "kakuni" (stewed chunks of pork belly). The cooking time and the seasonings used in simmered dishes depend on the ingredients and also vary depending on the region and family traditions.

The flavor of a simmered dish has much to do with the climate and the lifestyles of the region. In general, nimono in the Kanto region which includes Tokyo are often cooked in very little liquid and strongly seasoned, and those in the Kansai region which includes Kyoto and Osaka are soupier and lightly seasoned.

related recipes

Easy Buri Daikon

205kcal / per person

Buri daikon is a dish using buri (yellowtail) and daikon (white radish), both popular ingredients in winter in Japan. This is a very simple recipe so anyone can easily make it. When frying the daikon, use the grease from the yellowtail and not oil. Cooking with grease from other ingredients without using oil is one of the basic techniques of Japanese cuisine.

Simmered Chicken Balls

133kcal / per person

Japanese style quenelle. Cook gently in warm soup. You can enjoy a new texture by mixing cooked ground meat with raw ground meat to make dumplings.

Simmered Pumpkin

164kcal / per person

Simmered kabocha squash is one of the typical Japanese simmered dishes. Eating kabocha squash during cold winter was considered to be good for prevention of flu because it contains vitamin C and can be stored for a long period. This habit is still remaining as the Toji-kabocha (eating kabocha on the winter solstice).

"Healthy" Simmered Meat and Potato

185kcal / per person

This simmered meat and potato dish is considered the most popular food in Japan. It goes well with rice.

Mellow Squid Stew

110kcal / per person

Squid pairs well with Japanese-style soy sauce taste.

Sardines Simmered with Umeboshi

145kcal / per person

Rich in DHA and EPA, which are beneficial for the vascular system's health, the sardine is attracting attention in terms of lifestyle-related diseases prevention.

Chicken Wing Tips and Daikon Stew

180kcal / per person

Rich in collagen, which helps keep your skin healthy, the chicken wing tip is tender when it is stewed.


101kcal / per person

Oden is a dish with simmered daikon, konnyaku, eggs and fish cakes in soup. Serve with yellow mustard paste. One of the typical dishes for cold days.

Chicken Liver Shigure-ni

70kcal / per person

Shigure-ni is the preparation of seafood by cooking down so that they pick up the flavor and the color of soy sauce.

Onsen Egg

82kcal / per person

Onsen egg is prepared by using the difference of setting time between yolk and white. It is a soft-boiled egg with cooked yolk and runny white. It is called onsen egg because in Japan, where there are many onsens or hot springs, the temperature of the onsen water is ideal to make this egg dish.

Daikon Furofuki with Ground Chicken Sauce

134kcal / per person

There are different stories about the name of furofuki. Enjoy furofuki while blowing on the hot, steaming daikon in the cold of winter.

Half-boiled Eggs and String Bean Stew

106kcal / per person

A stew with only eggs and string beans highlights the flavor of the ingredients themselves.

Shore-style Lightly Stewed Sardines

262kcal / per person

Wakame served with sardine adds a flavor of the ocean.

Giblets and Grilled Tofu Stew

111kcal / per person

Simmer three kinds of giblets with tofu. A dish with a simple but rich taste.

Snow-viewing Salmon Hot Pot

188kcal / per person

Grated white daikon looks like snow. Grated daikon makes the taste of fish milder and refreshing.

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