Tackling Japanese cuisine in your own kitchen might seem daunting if you've never rolled sushi or prepared tempura — and you might worry about needing specialty ingredients not stocked by your local grocery store. Fear not: With just a few basic ingredients such as miso and mirin, you can impart wonderful Japanese flavors to salads and sushi rolls, as well as some delicious fish dishes, described below.
See also: How to cook with ancient grains
by James Peterson
This delicate and tasty salad makes an excellent hors d'oeuvre that can be eaten with chopsticks. Using cucumbers rather than pickled vegetables keeps the sodium content down.
Per serving: 30 calories, 0g saturated fat, 3g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 0g fiber, 855mg sodium
by Katie Workman
This recipe demystifies the classic orange-hued dressing you find atop salads at Japanese restaurants. It's a mixture of carrots, ginger, sesame oil, miso paste and mirin — a rice wine used often in Japanese cooking. It lasts in the fridge for at least a week.
Per serving: 119 calories, 1g saturated fat, 9g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 3g fiber, 139mg sodium
by Hiroko Shimbo
This roll is a good intro to making your own sushi, as the salmon skin is cooked and can be found at any fish counter where you can purchase smoked salmon. Feel free to substitute julienned carrot for harder-to-find pickled mountain burdock.
Per serving (not including sushi rice): 112 calories, 1g saturated fat, 5g carbohydrates, 8g protein, 2g fiber, 271mg sodium. Per serving (only sushi rice): 100 calories, 0g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 0g fiber, 459mg sodium
by Sandy Pukel and Mark Hanna
The thick wheat-flour noodles known as udon are common in Japanese cuisine, especially in brothy soups. This recipe dresses the noodles with a tasty peanut sauce, garnished with thin matchsticks of cucumber, toasted sesame seeds and slices of scallion.
Per serving: 195 calories, 1g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrates, 7g protein, 2g fiber, 409mg sodium
by David Rosengarten
Vegetables like sweet potato, zucchini, snow peas, Japanese eggplant and enoki mushrooms all work well for tempura, the batter-fried Japanese specialty. You can even slice your tempura vegetables and shrimp and use them in sushi rolls.
Per serving (only batter): 39 calories, 0g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 0g fiber, 40mg sodium