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Japanese Cuisine for Health

Updated on June 26, 2010

Japanese food pleases the eye and is delicious as well as healthy to eat. When cooking this kind of food, you can use your regular frying pans, saucepans and casseroles. You can use custard cups, salad plates and saucers, rather than large plates, as Japanese food is served in small individual dishes.

I love to go to sushi bars and Japanese restaurants, however, I can also make these same dishes at home. Real Japanese cooking uses a lot of vegetables, fish and carbohydrates, and little meat and fat. Therefore, it has many nutritional benefits.


Rice Dishes

Rice is a principal food in the Japanese diet. Short-grained rice is used and when cooked is soft and sticky. One popular Japanese rice dish is sushi and is flavored and then rolled with fish, vegetables or a combination of each.

Sometimes plain rice is put into a bowl and meat, fish or vegetables are served over it as a main dish.

Rice is very nutritional and contains essential amino acids and protein. It is also low in calories, if eaten in moderation.

Rice with Chicken

Rice with Chicken and Vegetables

3 cups short-grained rice ( I like Jasmine)

7 oz chicken (breast or thigh)

4 dried mushrooms( I like shitake)

1/2 cup carrots, julienned into 1 inch lengths

3 Tablespoons soy sauce (I use low-sodium or Tamari)

2 Tablespoons sake (rice wine) or dry white wine

Soak dried mushrooms in warm water to cover (about a cup) for 10-15 minutes then squeeze slightly. Save soaking water. Cut into strips. Set aside.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.

Boil the mushrooms and carrots in the mushroom soaking water (1 cup), 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt,  soy sauce and sake or wine for 5 minutes, then add chicken. Cook 3-4 more minutes or until done. Drain, reserving broth, and set aside.

To the reserved broth, add 2 more Tablespoons sake and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Add enough water to bring liquid to 3 1/3 cups. Add rice and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand 15 minutes.

Stir chicken and vegetables into rice and serve.

Miso Soup

Clear Soup


Soup, in the Japanese tradition, is sipped between bites to enhance the flavor of the meal. Sometimes it is served near the end of the meal to remove any unpleasant tastes in the mouth. Japanese soups are of two types, miso and clear.

Miso (fermented bean paste) is added to dashi (fish stock) to create a soup. I like barley miso, although it is also made with other ingredients such as fermented soy bean paste. The fish used is usually seasonal.

Clear soups are made with dashi, salt and soy sauce, generally. The most popular dashi is made from katsuobushi (shaved bonita fish flakes) and konbu (kelp).

Solid ingredients used in clear soups are fish or shellfish, chicken, egg, tofu or vegetables.

Japanese Pork Soup

Japanese-style Pork Soup (Miso-flavored)

7 oz pork, thinly sliced

1/2 cup long white radish, sliced

1/4 cup carrots, chopped

1 green onion, cut into 1/2 inch lengths

1 potato, peeled, quartered then sliced thinly

4 fresh mushrooms, stems removed, tops cut into fine strips

5-6 Tablespoons miso paste

2 teaspoons ginger juice (peel and grate fresh ginger and squeeze)

Cut pork into 1 inch lengths. Boil radish and carrots in 6 cups water for 5 minutes, then add meat. When meat turns white, add mushrooms and cook 1 minute. Dissolve 5-6 Tablespoons miso in some of the broth until smooth. Stir the miso back into the pot gradually so there are no lumps. Boil 2-3 minutes. Add green onion and turn off heat.

Serve in bowls and stir in 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice per serving.

One-Pot Cooking

One well-known, one-pot cooking recipe is sukiyaki, a dish of beef, tofu and vegetables cooked in a soy sauce broth. The ingredients are cooked and eaten from the same container. This method is called nabemono. Everyone gathers around the one cooking pot while they help themselves.


14 oz. beef (sirloin, tenderloin or rump), sliced paper-thin (butcher will slice)

7 oz shirataki (translucent noodles)

1 block firm tofu

8 fresh mushrooms

2 leeks or 7-8 long green onions, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices

1/2 cup spinach, cut in half crossways

Warishita broth for cooking: 3 Tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup sake or dry white wine, 1/4 cup miron(sweet rice wine), 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup water

An electric skillet would be handy for cooking at the table. You could also use a cast-iron skillet and portable heating equipment.

Cut meat into 3 inch lengths. Parboil shirataki in boiling water for 2 minutes. Cut into 4 inch pieces and drain in colander.  Arrange all ingredients on a platter and bring to the table.

Heat skillet and saute beef in 1 Tablespoon sesame oil. When half done, add half of the warishita broth equal amounts of other ingredients. Add tofu first, then noodles, to eliminate the water, then more meat, more broth, vegetables, etc.


Japan consumes more seafood as a protein source than anyone in the world. The varieties and methods for preparing fish and seafood are numerous.

Sashimi is high-quality fish to be eaten raw. The techniques of preparing it is highly artistic and I can not go into the detail in this hub.

Seafood is also grilled at a high temperature over open flame which locks in the flavor and juices of the fish or seafood and protects their nutritional value. In browning and singeing a wonderful flavor and aroma are created.

Seafood is lower in calories, easier to digest and provides protein and calcium. The Omega 3's in oily fish help the immune system and for the diet-conscious, seafood is a positive consideration.

Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce

4 salmon fillets

Teriyaki sauce: 1 teaspoon sugar,2 teaspoons sake or dry white wine, 1 Tablespoon miron (sweet rice wine), 2 Tablespoons soy sauce. Mix until sugar dissolves.

Marinate fish in sauce for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain before grilling.

Grill salmon 2-3 minutes or until slightly browned. Turn over gently and grill 2 minutes more. Add sauce left from marinating and cook until fish is well-coated, 1-2 minutes.

Variation: Substitute scallops for the salmon. Grill scallops only until well-browned on both sides.


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    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Lita, thank you so much for the comments. I like Japanese food because it is not as filling as other ethnic food.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

      I love the sushi- all of its varieties! These are commonly available at eat-all-you can restaurants in my country. I like my salmon fresh, dipped only in lemon juice and soy sauce. Of course Japanese food is expensive, but the price is right! You have neatly put those pictures to a T!

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Peggy, I agree with you and thank you for stopping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      These recipes look delicious. Thanks! It is quite easy to make dishes like this and as you pointed out, they are very healthful.

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Awww... you'll have to cook it yourself.

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Awww... you'll have to cook it yourself.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I love Japanese! I miss our Japanese pal and his cooking - he had to return to Asia.

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Thanks Bk. I think the soup fills me up and I always have green tea. It is fun to eat Japanese food!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      And you are so right - it is so pleasing to the eye. Beauty is such an important part of the cuisine. I love it! When I go into a Japanese restaurant even the decor is lovely. What fun it is to eat! And I am satisfied with so little food. Yay!

      Great hub - thanks so much!

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Hi, Nifty. Yes, this kind of cooking seems so organized, exact and orderly. I've tried to make my own sushi, but it didn't seem neat and tidy enough! LOL.

      Creativeone59, I like sushi but I can't do eel. My favorite is smoked salmon.

      Alekhouse, I can only eat squid if it is battered and deep fried, so I don't eat it very often. Don't like the thought of eating tentacles. The pork soup recipe is really good. I hope you like it!

      Hi, Audrey. When I tried to make sushi, I made the California roll, also. I had so much rice left over, I thought I made a mistake, but it was very good. I used a mat to roll it. I didn't want to attempt to do it like the man in the video did.

      Thanks everyone, for your comments!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Looks delicious! I learned to make sushi a few years ago although I thought I'd never like it much less fix it for other people. It turned out to be very good - except I only do vegetable like California roll or raw things. Love the rest of Japanese cuisine, too. Excellent hub, Judy!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Salmon Teriyaki is one of my favorite foods but, in general, I love all oriental dishes except Sushi and Squid. I really like the pork soup recipe...copied it and will try it soon. Thanks, jd, great hub

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thanks judydianne, for all the japenese recipes, but I don't do sushi, but thanks for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • nifty@50 profile image

      nifty@50 7 years ago

      One thing about Japanese cooking is it is so neat and tidy! Great hub!