5 Ways To Improve Your Japanese Culinary Skills

5 Ways To Improve Your Japanese Culinary Skills
Photo by Mahmoud Fawzy on Unsplash

FoodFindsAsia | 5 Ways To Improve Your Japanese Culinary Skills | Has Japanese cuisine piqued your curiosity in the past weeks or months? If you’ve never cooked Japanese food before, it can be tough to get the hang of it. For starters, a basic understanding of Japanese cuisine is necessary. Japanese food is made with a comprehensive approach that focuses on variety, seasonality, balance, and paying attention to the tiniest details. Sushi, ramen, tempura, and teriyaki are just the tip of the iceberg.

You could think about going to a cooking school like Taiyo and similar ones. Even if you learn a new skill or two, it’s not necessary to do so. Then again, not everyone intends to become the most incredible Japanese cuisine chef. Whether you’re an expert or not, here are some tips for improving your Japanese culinary skills:


  • Prepare And Use The Right Kitchen Tools


To make better Japanese food at home, you’ll need the right kitchen equipment for the task. The best part is that they are not very hard to use and don’t take up much space. Since most Japanese kitchens are small, the tools must be adaptable to various preparations.

However, don’t feel pressured to buy everything. It’s best to begin with the essentials and then add on afterward:

  • Rice Cooker – Rice may be cooked on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot, but if you plan to make Japanese food regularly, you’ll want to invest in a rice cooker.
  • Frying Pan – To fry, stir-fry, and grill.
  • Pot – To make miso soup, dashi, and sauces.

Buy items that fit your lifestyle and budget. No matter what you decide to use, whether it is nonstick, stainless steel, or cast iron, it’s all a matter of preference. Use the tools you have and become familiar with them.   


  • Stock Up And Learn Your Ingredients


To further your Japanese cooking skills, the next step is to build and master your kitchen pantry. No Japanese meal does not involve rice and various kinds of noodles, such as soba, udon, ramen, and pasta. Once you’ve got them, stock up on the essential condiments, spices, and other dry goods. Soy sauce, mirin, sake, miso, rice vinegar, and dashi are the most common.   

Then, familiarize yourself with the ingredients you’ll be using. You must know how they will respond to the various preparation methods beforehand. This way, you can tweak the recipe to suit your preferences.   


  • Know How To Handle The Knife


A good cook knows how to use knives well. Cutting methods used in Japanese cooking are unique to each dish. Depending on what you’re cutting, you’ll need to use a specific cutting style. As a rule of thumb, chop all your ingredients to the same size and shape. This way, you can be sure all the food will cook equally and at the same time. Moreover, it enhances the food’s flavor, texture, and visual appeal. Start slowly and work up to it. Later on, you will eventually gain speed.


  • Learn To Substitute Exotic Ingredients


Occasionally, you’ll need unusual items like burdock root, negi, ikura (salmon roe), and daikon. It’s easy to get intimidated by unfamiliar ingredients, but don’t be! If they aren’t a necessary aspect of the recipe, you may be able to get away with a bit of tweaking. By learning to substitute items that are difficult to obtain, you can still come up with a dish that is precisely the same.

All meat-based recipes can be substituted with other proteins. For a vegan diet, there is also room for experimentation. Greens, root vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed, and tofu are always available locally.   


  • Understand How A Recipe Works


In most cases, people making a recipe for the first time skip over the advice and techniques parts in favor of the more detailed directions. They’d become too thrilled and neglect to read beforehand. However, if you’re new to the dish or attempting a complex recipe, the highlighted suggestions, techniques, and substitutes are worth reading. When you do so, you understand the recipe’s key points and why they’re done a certain way.

Regarding food preparation, it’s best to visualize what you need to do before you begin. By going through each step and getting a picture of how it all goes down, you learn how to understand the recipe. It can help make the procedure more manageable and less stressful.


Have you recently developed an interest in Japanese cuisine? Trying to cook Japanese food for the first time can be a challenge. An understanding of Japanese cuisine will serve you well in the beginning. Seasonality, balance, and attention to detail are all part of the holistic approach adopted in Japanese cooking. Even if you’re not an expert, the information in this post will help you cook the best Japanese cuisine possible.

Photo by Mahmoud Fawzy on Unsplash