Easy Japanese recipes
Going out to eat is fun, but sometimes, all we want to do is stay in and whip up a meal like a true chef. However, creating chef-level dishes might not be everyone’s forte.
Luckily, we live in an era where food bloggers and social media chefs churn out tasty recipes daily. So, if you’d like to brush up on your cooking skills and feast on some fab home-cooked Japanese food, here are six easy peasy under-30-minute Japanese recipes to try at home.
Pro tip: Use convenient Japanese instant rice in these recipes to cut the cooking time down in half. You’re welcome.
1. Onigirazu – Rice sandwich
Put a sandwich and a rice ball together and you’ll have an Onigirazu, a Japanese rice sandwich. In a nutshell, it’s a semi-flat rice ball that’s wrapped in crispy seaweed and stuffed with umami fillings of your choice.
Here’s how you can whip up a fluffy rice sandwich:
- Place a sheet of seaweed flat on your cutting board.
- Put 100g cooked rice in the middle of the sheet.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds and add two tablespoons of protein on top of the rice.
- Top it off with another 100g rice.
- Carefully wrap the nori sheet up to form a square.
- Cut the square in half.
Image credit: @les_assiettes_de_sonia
And you’re done. This rice sandwich comes in handy for when you need to bring some easy, mess-free lunch to work.
Any protein works with this recipe, including flaky salmon, tuna and even tofu. For a speedy prep process that still retains its authenticity, opt for microwavable Japanese rice.
Japanese instant rice takes two minutes to cook in the microwave
Time needed: 10 minutes.
2. Salmon mayo don – Salmon and rice with mayo
This salmon mayo rice recipe hit 80 million views in just a week after it was posted on TikTok. So we figured you’d probably want to get in on it.
Image credit: @michelledesanteats
Here are four simple steps to get this party started:
- Fluff 200g cooked salmon fillet up using a fork and mix it with 100g cooked rice.
- Drench it with 2 tsp hot sauce and 2 tbsp mayo.
- Add half an avocado and a bit of kimchi.
- Sprinkle Furikake over the dish.
That’s it – you’ve got yourself a healthy and tasty bowl of Japanese salmon rice using all the ingredients you probably already have at home. This recipe works wonders if you’re trying to clear out your fridge.
Sizzling tip: use kewpie or mentaiko mayo and Japanese rice to get that explosive burst of flavours.
Time needed: 15 minutes
3. Omurice – Omelette rice
It’s not just rice and egg. Omurice – a comforting Japanese fusion dish is a heavenly combination of ketchup fried rice wrapped in a thin and moist sheet of omelette. And it hits all the spots.
Image credit: @japaoindoor
Make this at home by following these four easy steps:
- Fry up a chopped chicken thigh with 100g Japanese rice, 1 tbsp ketchup and 1 tsp soy sauce.
- Make the omelette by gently tilting the egg mixture on a hot pan.
- Once the egg starts to set, scoop in a few spoons of rice.
- Wrap it up – and hey, you’re all set.
For a healthy version of this, load it up with some veggies like peas and carrots.
Time needed: 20 minutes
4. Zosui – Japanese rice soup
Japanese soupy dishes don’t just stop at ramen and shabu shabu. There’s also Zosui – a hearty rice soup that’s perfect for any day of the week.
Image credit: @urjapan.indonesia
To make Zosui, you’ll need a few ingredients like dashi broth, vegetables, chicken, egg and rice. But don’t let this list intimidate you. The actual cooking process takes less than 15 minutes. Here’s what you need to do:
- Chop up 40g carrots, 80g mushrooms, and 2 green onions.
- Put everything in a pot with 3 cups dashi stock, 2 tsp soy sauce and let them simmer until soft.
- Add 150g cooked rice and crack an egg in.
The trick here is to use instant rice so you don’t have to wait for the rice to be cooked.
If you’re a vegetarian, ditch the chicken and go for some tofu and mushrooms. Other things you can add include shredded nori seaweed and even soy milk.
Time needed: 15 minutes
5. Oyakodon – chicken and egg rice bowl
Although we don’t know whether the chicken or egg comes first, we know for sure that together, they make an amazing Oyakodon – the classic Japanese chicken and egg rice bowl.
Image credit: @satitchen
This staple Japanese dish is surprisingly easy to make with ingredients in your pantry.
- Slice up a chicken thigh and marinate them with 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp mirin and ⅛ tsp sugar.
- Stir fry them in a pan with chopped onions.
- Pour in ½ cup of chicken stock.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add the egg mixture.
That’s it – You’ve got a piping hot bowl of Oyakodon.
Time needed: 15 minutes
6. Beef pepper rice – Pepper Lunch rice copycat
This Pepper Lunch-inspired beef pepper rice recipe is so easy, it’ll make you question all the money and time you spend eating out at various food courts.
The key ingredient to a mouth-watering beef pepper rice skillet is the sauce. Below are five quick steps for a killer sauce and a tasty meal:
Image credit: @mrandmrsb_fooddiaries
- Combine ½ cup of shoyu or teriyaki with onion, garlic, ginger and pepper in a saucepan and let it simmer for ten minutes.
- Arrange 100g meat around your skillet.
- Place 150g cooked rice in the middle and top it with 1 tbsp corn and 1 tbsp butter.
- Pour the sauce over the rice and let it sizzle away.
Use a hotpot if there’s no skillet. Meat wise, we prefer fatty beef with a good amount of marbling. Thinly sliced beef like sukiyaki or shabu shabu beef works best for this recipe. Similarly, we’d use instant rice because ain’t nobody got time to cook rice from scratch.
Time needed: 10 minutes
Prepare easy restaurant-level Japanese recipes using instant rice
Cook up a Japanese feast without sweating for hours in the kitchen by trying out these easy and speedy recipes. Plus, reduce the cooking time by skipping the rice-cooking step and using instant Japanese rice.
When it comes to rice, we can put our trust in the Japanese – who seem to kill it at every rice dish they do. Japanese rice belongs to the short-grain category and tends to be more glutinous because of its high starch content. It also has a sweeter taste and richer aroma than other rice.
If you’re also a Japanese rice enthusiast, stock your pantry up with Zen-Noh’s packed rice.
While Miyagi Hitomebore white rice is semi-sticky, soft and sweet, Miyagi Kin no Ibuki brown rice is chewy, nutritious and with a crunchy texture. Another must-try product within Zen-Noh’s range of instant rice is JA Nokyo Gohan – a light and additive-free type of Japanese rice that can be ready in the microwave in just two minutes.
Instead of steaming in a tray like regular instant rice, Zen-Noh’s packed rice was cooked over direct fire – a traditional method that yields the fluffiest rice. Once cooked, they were then mixed using a spatula to ensure all excess water was released. The end result – long-lasting shiny and moist rice.
All three types of rice work well with your everyday meals, from Japanese curry to donburi. However, if you’re thinking of whipping up some sushi or hand rolls, go for either Hitomebore or JA Nokyo Gohan white rice.
Zen-Noh’s quality packed rice is freshly cooked and packed with nitrogen gas instead of air. This trick helps to extend the rice’s shelf life and also retain its quality and taste. They’re quick, easy and portable – perfect for your upcoming WFO days.
This post was brought to you by JA ZEN-NOH International, an initiative of “This is Japan Quality”.
Photography by Tasha Sun.