Japanese Cuisine is one of the highly acclaimed and esteemed cuisines in the world. Unlike the South Asian cuisine which is famous for the depth of flavors and aromas as a result of a complex blend of spices, Japanese cuisine specializes in delivering multiple textures; both separate and in layers to its dishes. That’s why, when South Asian food offers a monotone dish in terms of visuals, Japanese cuisine screams profusion of vibrant colors spread across your platter. Where South Asian cuisine triggers your taste buds and makes your mouth watery, Japanese cuisine makes your feast with your eyes. It is the most perfect blend of the simplicity of tastes and complexity of textures, that imparts it a unique place in the culinary world. Here is my top five must-try traditional Japanese dishes for you:
One of Japan’s most original dishes; Sushi, is a complete meal. The prime ingredient of Sushi is vinegared sticky rice rolls. A modern take on Sushi has made it optional to stoke the rolls with veggies, raw or cooked seafood or even other meats. Seaweed or cucumber wraps end up cladding the whole arrangement.
They are usually served with ginger-fumigated soy sauce, wasabi paste which is like hot mustard but pungent. Avocado and shrimp sushi is a popular choice for those who does not like it raw. Crunchy-fried sushi is usually spicy hence they are rendered creamy with mayonnaise.
Another Japanese dish; which is thinly sliced fresh raw fish is Sashimi. Usually, Salmon, Tuna and even a squid are used and served with Daikon sans rice or shredded fresh Daikon, preferably Tsuma. Daikon is a white radish that can be eaten steamed, pickled, raw or grounded. The whole dish is served with Soy sauce dip or some citrus juice.
Japanese cuisine does not only diversify their meals in textures but with temperatures as well. Hence, thick, fresh, hand-made wheat noodles served hot and cold in a specific broth is a common delicacy in Japan. They are usually sprinkled with fresh scallions and served with tempura, soft-boiled egg, and hot sauce. The crunch of deep-fried meat with the chewiness of the noodles and simplicity of the heat of the soup makes the dish a signature dish of many Michelin star restaurants.
How can I forget a traditional Japanese staple dish? This soup is a condiment of Japanese meals daily. It is made with dashi stock; which renders the Umami flavor to the soup. Umami and dashi are flavor profiles of the most citric veggies and fruit like fish flakes, pickles, kelp seaweed, etc. and are principal ingredients of the stock. The soup entails tofu, potato, daikon, shrimp; basically anything possible. The broth can be used to flavor the aforementioned Udon noodles as well.
The prettiest and most original Japanese confectionaries are Wagashi which are usually served with green tea. They differ in colors and textures. A few examples are:
Azuki red bean paste is like Nutella to Japanese. The paste sandwiched between pancakes of Castella; a specific starchy sponge cake in Japan, is a popular Wagashi.
Ground-rice flour balls with seasonal flavors and a hint of sugar are the prettiest confectionaries in Japan. They are served on skewers. They owe their repute to their light-springy texture.
It is a thick-jelled Japanese dessert flavored with green tea and red bean paste. It is served in block forms.
One must certainly branch out in matters of food, in order to truly experience cuisines of other cultures. It certainly carries the entire culinary history of that nation. If you must try Japanese cuisine, then try my top five must-try traditional Japanese dishes. They are the perfect semblance of true Japanese heritage. The fact that the Japanese invented the idea of eating fish raw goes back to the sixteenth-century when the Japanese emperor allowed his people to eat meat. This alludes to the fact that they had never experienced cooking with meat before. That’s where the idea of eating fish raw with cooked broth came from. Funny that a certain unfortunate ban at that time led to the introduction of a unique genre in the culinary world of cooking raw food.
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