5 Japanese Cooking Sites to Follow
Demystifying Japanese Food For The Home Chef
November 2, 2020
Food & Drink, Japanese Culture
Even without in-person cooking classes, you can become a savvy Japanese home chef! See our selection of websites to find your perfect tried-and-true recipes and tips to shine in the kitchen.
Japan has one of the world’s most recognizable food cultures. Everyone knows and loves sushi and ramen, right? But there is more to it! Japanese traditional cuisine has even been granted the “intangible cultural heritage” status by UNESCO in recognition of the skills and knowledge that have been developed and passed on in the culinary tradition for centuries.
The everyday meals that Japanese people make at home are firmly based on their traditional roots while also incorporating innovations from other cultures. The fundamentals of Japanese cooking are not always easily apparent to outsiders but can certainly be learned—even at-home.
If you want to up your cooking game, in-person cooking classes are often ideal. But when you’re pressed for time, funds, or find yourself without opportunities in the age of coronavirus, the world of internet chefs has you covered. Whether you’re looking to develop skills or get some authentic Japanese kitchen inspo, check out our top 5 Japanese home-cooking sites.
1. Just One Cookbook
Need a one-stop-shop? Start with Just One Cookbook. By Japanese-born, US-based Namiko Hirasawa Chen, the site features beautiful photography and high-quality videos. If you don’t quite know your dashi from your tsuyu yet, have no fear. Nami includes detailed step-by-step instructions with videos and photos as well as general information about each dish she prepares. A cookbook indeed, the site is searchable by course, dietary requirements, ingredients, occasion, type of preparation, and dish type. For those dreaming of travel, she also includes fun-to-read travel guides—focused on the food of course!—for destinations in Japan and other countries.
Must-try recipe: Yakisoba
2. Just Hungry
For those of you who are looking for mountains of recipes alongside commentary on Japanese food and cultural trends, check out Just Hungry. Japanese-born, Europe-based Makiko Itoh is also the author of two bento cookbooks and a Japan Times contributor. Do you have dietary restrictions such as vegan or low carb? Maki has it all in her traditional and fusion home-style recipes. For beginners or those outside Japan, the site also has guides to Japanese staple foods and a directory of grocery stores worldwide that carry them. If you are a bento-maker, also have a look at her companion site, Just Bento.
Must-try recipe: Ehoumaki (ehou maki): Lucky long sushi roll
3. Japanese Cooking 101
If you’re looking for a smaller collection of recipes to start with, Japanese Cooking 101 is for you. By Japanese-born, US-based friends Noriko and Yuko, the site focuses on traditional ingredients and favorite dishes along with simple explanations. Don’t miss the helpful descriptions of key ingredients from abura-age to wasabi.
Must-try recipe: Agedashi tofu
4. Cooking with Dog
Admit it. Do you love a quirky or kawaii atmosphere alongside your cooking lessons? Then you must visit Cooking with Dog. The site offers simple home-style recipes with step-by-step instructions… but the delightful twist is that the unnamed chef’s canine friend Francis accompanies her cooking demonstrations. Not only that, but he also provides the English narration. A wonder dog indeed. Unfortunately, Francis has passed away but his spirit remains and he is still the star of the show—and our hearts.
Must-try recipe: Somen chanpuru (vegetable noodle stir fry)
5. Chopstick Chronicles
When in need of some serious eye candy to inspire your Japanese cooking, check out Chopstick Chronicles by Shihoko and Elizabeth, a mother and daughter from Japan now living in Australia. The site is browsable by dish type and features traditional and modern dishes, with a particular emphasis on sweets! Super-helpful explanations and photos are provided for each recipe, along with occasional videos to help you recreate their recipes at home.