Best Japanese Cookbooks 2022 for Inspirational Recipes to Try at Home


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If you walk down any main street in London, you’re likely to spot a Japanese restaurant, whether it’s a takeaway sushi shop, an authentic ramen restaurant or the latest trendy pop-up for desserts.

It’s fair to say that Japanese cuisine has indeed left its mark in London, and we absolutely live for it. Whether it’s a take-out box of sushi for lunch or indulging in one of London’s newest Japanese fusion restaurants, we’re obsessed.

Enjoying these dishes so much, it can be daunting to know where to start when it comes to recreating the flavors, colors and theatricality at home.

Although it seems nearly impossible to cook it yourself, we can safely say that it’s deceptively simple, especially when it comes to nailing down the basics. With just a few ingredients in the pantry and some free time, you’ll create spectacular meals any night of the week.

Kanji Furukawa, Executive Chef of Japan Centre, tells us, “Soy sauce, mirin, cooking sake and miso paste are absolutely essential to stock your kitchen if you want to prepare Japanese dishes at home. These four ingredients are the basis of so many classic Japanese dishes and are also used to marinate anything from steaks to eggplant to add lots of flavor.”

It’s time to jump headfirst into the world of Japanese cuisine. We are here to inspire you and make you salivate by discovering the best Japanese cookbooks below.

Japaneasy: classic and modern Japanese recipes

Easy Japanese

If you’re keen to try Japanese cuisine, but don’t want to spend an entire day shopping at specialty stores before cooking for several hours, Japaneasy is the answer. Anderson shows how authentic Japanese food can be cooked in a very short time, with just a few ingredients found in regular supermarkets.

For novice cooks, the information on stocking your pantry in the beginning is particularly useful. In fact, you only need seven essential ingredients: soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, dashi, sake, miso, and rice.

Once the basic sauces have been mastered, take it up a notch and try making some crowd-pleasing favorites like gyoza, tempura, and yakitori. For the adventurous, we recommend Anderson’s Japanese ‘carbonara’, served with mushrooms, miso and noodles.

Dumplings and noodles: Bao, Gyoza, Biang Biang, Ramen – and everything in between

Amazon

Despite being a dumpling lover, I have to admit that I’ve never tried making these hearty pockets of deliciousness – they always seemed too intricate and delicate. But, with the step-by-step guide provided in Dumplings and Noodles, mastering the art of dumpling making has never been easier.

If you fancy something simpler to kick off your Japanese culinary odyssey, check out Miso Ramen for chilly evenings, or Aromatic Lamb biang biang for a Sunday lunch with a twist. Step-by-step instructions, clear photographs, and helpful tips along the way make this book a must-have for any Asian food lover.

Tokyo New Wave: 31 Chefs Define Japan’s Next Generation

Amazon

For fans of Japanese culture, this cookbook is a must-have kitchen shelf. Portraits of 31 great chefs, this guide is full of interviews, portraits and recipes to show how Japanese cuisine is redefining itself. The dichotomy between tradition and modernity has firmly placed Tokyo as the capital of gastronomy and with recipes such as Wagyu Carpaccio and Uni in Soy Bechamel Sauce, to transport you to the heart of the city.

Naturally, most of these recipes take a while to prepare and cook, but we promise all is forgiven the second you take that first bite of heaven. Fazzari’s photography is also stellar – food has never been so alluring and appetizing.

Ramen: Japanese noodles and small dishes

Amazon

Just like author Tove Nilsson, we too are addicted to ramen – what’s better than heaps of noodles, our favorite protein, and nutritious vegetables swimming in a tasty, hot broth? Now is the time to recreate your favorite ramen at home by putting these 50 mouth-watering recipes to the test.

First, Nilsson teaches you how to make the basic broth and noodles before showing you how to create dishes like Short Rib Ramen, Green Curry Ramen, and Mushroom Tofu Ramen. All recipes are simple to follow and most only require easily accessible ingredients.

Don’t forget to try the small side plates, especially the Tempura and Gyoza – the perfect accompaniment to ramen.

Everyday Green Asian Herbal Recipes Inspired by the Orient

Amazon

The beauty of Asian cuisine is its versatility, and with that versatility comes so many options – so vegans don’t have to feel left out. This vegan cookbook focuses on healthy yet delicious meals that use fresh fruits and vegetables to create traditional dishes from all over China, Japan, and beyond.

If you plan to host or cook for those with plant-based dietary needs, the Sticky Sprouts and Wild Rice Salad, the Chinese Black Bean Seitan Tacos, and the Carrot, Potato and Spice Hash Xian-style spring onions will be an absolute treat, and are remarkably easy to prepare (almost anything can be made ahead).

For those with a bit more free time, follow Huang’s recipe for homemade tofu that can be incorporated into ramen, poke bowls, and noodle dishes.

Sushi Made Simple: From classic wraps and wraps to modern bowls and burgers

Amazon

Sushi lovers, unite! We found something incredibly impressive (but no, it’s not a heavily discounted salmon sushi pack). Sushi Made Simple goes beyond recipes, it’s a tribute to bite-sized pieces of goodness. Right off the bat, he’ll tell you about the key ingredients you need in your pantry, different types of sushi, and traditional techniques.

Alongside countless fish sushi dishes such as Spicy Tuna Roll and Chakin Sushi Parcels, comes a range of vegetarian and vegan bites that are equally delicious.

Vegetarian nigiri and pickled pepper sushi are guaranteed crowd pleasers.

Modern Asian cooking at home: essential sweet and savory recipes

Amazon

Satisfy your sweet tooth with some of the most incredible Asian-inspired cakes, pastries and frozen treats. Filled with some of the most innovative desserts, each recipe introduces new ingredients, techniques and textures that will create an explosion of flavors.

If you’re short on time and craving some mochi, try the Quick Microwave Mochi or for those with more spare time, the Lemon Matcha Macarons are a must. Dietary needs are well catered for with the tastes of Spicy Gochujang Flourless Chocolate Cake and Mango Sticky Rice.

To Asia, with love: everyday Asian recipes and stories from the heart

Amazon

It can be difficult to create meals to please the whole family without spending all day in the kitchen. This best-selling cookbook by Hetty McKinnon achieves this by creating traditional vegetarian dishes in an unconventional way.

Its many Asian salads, including smashed cucumber salad and finger-licking good Edamame beans, make it a perfect cookbook for summer and outdoor dining. Impressively, you’ll find that most recipes meet dietary requirements or offer simple alternatives for vegans.

Totally Tofu: 75 Delicious Protein-Rich Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes

Amazon

Not only is Japanese cuisine delicious, but it’s also incredibly inclusive. It is ideal for those with dietary needs, as many dishes are naturally dairy-free and high in protein, such as tofu. With 75 recipes that cover breakfast, lunch, and even desserts, if you’re not a tofu convert yet, you soon will be.

Celebrated as a protein-rich and nutritious superfood, tofu is incredibly versatile and can be used in almost any dish. For a weeknight meal, try the black bean and tofu tacos followed by a tofu brownie for dessert where the proof really is in the pudding. Strawberry Tofu Smoothie is surprisingly delicious and a great way to start the day.

Japanese cuisine made simple

Amazon

For the novice cooks among us, Japanese Food Made Easy will be your shining light.

With a wealth of Japanese recipes to keep you satisfied throughout the day, you’ll spend more time eating than cooking thanks to the convenient cooking time listed on each page. In just half an hour and with just a few ingredients, you’ll find yourself sitting in front of tasty plates of gyoza dumplings, mackerel pressed sushi and matcha ice cream sandwich.

The instructions are clear and comprehensive, so you don’t have to worry about the chef’s lingo. We guarantee you’ll be coming back for more thanks to not only the recipes, but also the stomach-rumbling photography.


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