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.



Enjoy the savory aroma and appetizing appearance

Yakimono refers to grilled fish, meat and vegetables.

The grilling methods are called jikabi-yaki (grilling over an open flame) and kansetsu-yaki (grilling in a pan or other like equipment). Both methods emit a savory aroma and create an appetizing appearance.

Grilling, which is popular in countries throughout the world, is a very simple cooking technique. And yet, yakimono can be challenging. Japanese grilled dishes have to be done to perfection, often defined as "crunchy outside and fluffy inside." The key to achieving this is the skillful control of the heat, whether on a gas or an electric stove. Seasoning methods include "shio-yaki" (sprinkling with salt before grilling), "teri-yaki" (basting with a mixture of soy sauce, sake and mirin), "saikyo-yaki" (marinating in white miso, sake and mirin mixture), and "yuzu-an yaki" (marinating in sauce with the Japanese citrus yuzu). Food grilled without seasonings can be served with soy sauce mixed with dashi, ponzu sauce (citrus-based sauce), or a dipping sauce.

related recipes

Teriyaki Chicken

161kcal / per person

Teriyaki is a genre in Japanese cuisine. When the sugar and other seasonings including mirin are heated, they carmelize and make the shiny (teri) surface. This sauce can be used not only for meat but also for fish.

Boiled Pork Steak

418kcal / per person

The fat of a pork belly contains collagen. It is delicious with a smooth texture but is high in calories. Boiling removes the excess fat. When frying, remove the grease as it melts and wipe the grease off the surface of the pan and from the meat.

Cabbage Sauté with Egg

152kcal / per person

Green cabbage is often eaten in Japan. Japanese people are said to eat a lot of cabbage and cabbage is actually an ingredient in a variety of dishes including in boiled dishes, as a garnish for tonkatsu and in deep-fried dishes. This dish is easy to make with eggs that can be found in most home refrigerators.

Tomato Sukiyaki

108kcal / per person

This dish contains tomatoes and onions and is easily cooked by preparing the seasonings that go with them. If you have never cooked Japanese food, start with this dish first.

Squid Broiled with Salt

63kcal / per person

This is a simple dish. You prepare only squid.

Cod Broiled with Sesame Seeds and Soy Sauce

101kcal / per person

This is a healthy fish dish with sesame seeds and soy sauce, without fresh cream or butter.

Okonomiyaki with Pork

390kcal / per person

Okonomiyaki is made by cooking flour-based batter with vegetables such as cabbage and fish or meat into a round shaped pancake. Spread with sauce on top. You can make okonomiyaki at home. There are okonomiyaki specialty restaurants, too.

Sardine Kabayaki

188kcal / per person

Kabayaki is a preparation of the fish opened butterfly and dipped in a rich and thick sauce before broiling.

Marinated Grilled Kuruma Prawns

80kcal / per person

Skewered and stretched prawns are grilled in the shell in the oven. They are then seasoned with dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin. Prawns are used as a New Year's decoration and an ingredient of osechi New Year's dishes as a symbol of long life because their long whiskers and bent back are reminiscent of an old man.

Mushroom Beef Roll-Ups

136kcal / per person

Roll-ups of vegetables wrapped with beef and dressed with sauce are popular dishes as a part of home meals and lunch boxes. Besides mushrooms, burdock and asparagus are used.

Grilled Pork with Sesame Seeds

220kcal / per person

It is an easy pork sauté.

Pork Brochette with Leek Sauce

95kcal / per person

This is the pork version of yakitori chicken brochette with salt-based sauce. All you need to do is grill the skewered pork in the oven and serve with salt-based negi leek sauce. This recipe can be used for a BBQ.

Ginger Pork

167kcal / per person

It is a must dish at home and at restaurants. Preparation of the ginger pork is easy: you only have to make the sauce and marinate the pork before cooking.

Teriyaki Tofu

196kcal / per person

Known as the meat from the field, high-protein and low-calorie tofu is cooked with teriyaki sauce, one of the typical Japanese sauces.

Herb Grilled Horse Mackerel

151kcal / per person

Herb grilled dishes call for herbs or aromatic vegetables. Typical Japanese herbs and aromatic vegetables are leek, ginger, green perilla leaf, mitsuba and myoga. They are fragrant and help boost appetite.

Japanese-style Marinated Tuna and Grilled Vegetables

165kcal / per person

Marinate sauce is soy sauce based, Japanese style sauce. Browned tuna and vegetables are a good match.

Mushrooms Stuffed with Chicken Tsukune

154kcal / per person

Grill the shiitake mushroom stuffed with chicken tsukune. Sprinkle with sesame seeds over half of the shiitake.

Light Grilled Mushrooms

31kcal / per person

Mushrooms are low-calorie and rich in dietary fiber, Vitamin B2, Vitamin D and minerals.

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