When people think of Japanese cuisine, the first thing that usually springs to mind is sushi. These delicate rolls of rice wrapped in edible seaweed swept across the USA in the 1960s and have since taken the world by storm, transforming Japanese food traditions into a truly international phenomenon. Yet people often lose sight of the fact that there is so much more to Japanese cuisine than just sushi. In this article, RiceSelect® invites you to explore the often-overlooked treasures within Japanese food culture. Join us as we unveil intriguing innovations that add a contemporary twist to traditional sushi recipes, offering a fresh perspective on the culinary artistry of Japan.

Essentials of Japanese Cuisine

Before we embark on our culinary journey, it’s important to get to know some of the most essential ingredients in Japanese cuisine.

  • Sushi Rice: Whether it’s sushi you’re making or a sticky rice dessert, it’s important to always have a jar or two of quality RiceSelect®Sushi rice in your pantry. Firm and sticky, this short-grain white rice forms the base for many popular Japanese dishes.

  • Soy Sauce: To achieve the signature uami flavor, it’s essential to have soy sauce on hand.

  • Sake and Mirin: These rice wine varieties are used in many Japanese recipes. The main difference between sake and mirin is that sake has a higher alcohol content, while mirin is typically sweeter.

  • Sesame Oil: As essential to Japanese culinary culture as olive oil is to the Mediterranean, don’t let yourself run out of sesame oil if you're in the habit of rustling up recipes from Japan.

  • Wasabi paste: What would sushi be without a dab of wasabi paste on the side? This spicy condiment, made from Japanese horseradish, is indelibly linked to Japan’s culinary traditions.

  • Miso Paste: Made from fermented soybeans, miso paste is often used to add savoriness to Japanese soups and rice bowls.

Now that we’ve got a handle on some of the key ingredients, let’s dive into the dishes!

Mastering the Art of the Rice Bowl

Rice bowl recipes are rapidly becoming as synonymous with Japan as sushi. The trick to mastering the art of the Japanese rice bowl is to be audacious with ingredients. In this Miso Black Rice Bowl, the nutty aroma of RiceSelect® Black Rice blends delightfully with the umami flavors of cremini mushrooms and white miso, as well as the sweet and earthy flavors of kale leaves and sweet potato. You’ll love how the varying textures of the ingredients also add to the experience of the flavor. A rice bowl may look like a simple dish to prepare from the outside, but this recipe proves that the preparation and thought that goes into these dishes is truly a fine art.

Popular Japanese Rice Recipes: Omurice and More

If you’re looking to serve up one of the hidden gems of Japanese cuisine, then this Japanese Rice Omelet might be the ideal recipe for you. Known as omurice in Japan, this rice-filled omelet offers so much more than your average egg dish. Blending the savory crunch of your favorite stir-fry recipe with the soft, delicate texture of a classic omelet, this dish has so much flavor to unpack that it’s worth organizing a dinner party just to celebrate your discovery of it!

Alternatively, for a dish that’s as simple as it is elegant, this One-Pot Japanese Rice recipe boasts all the hallmarks of Japanese culinary tradition. Rich in umami flavors—chicken, beef, and shiitake mushrooms—it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, not to mention a great way to introduce kids to Japanese cuisine.

Sushi As You’ve Never Seen It

At RiceSelect®, we’re passionate about pushing the envelope when it comes to food. If you’re looking for a unique take on the concept of sushi, why not try your hand at this Italian Sushi Rolls Recipe? As far as preparation goes, it’s relatively simple: imagine your typical sushi recipe, but replace nori with prosciutto ham and your fish filling with red peppers and Parmesan cheese. Serve it as a finger food option at your next gathering, and watch it fly off the platter!

Then, for those home chefs who just love thinking outside the box, how about a Sushi Burger? Yes, you’ve heard that right. Take your classic American hamburger and turn it on its head with burger buns composed entirely of sushi rice!

Finally, if you’re looking to serve up a more conventional sushi option, this Guide to Becoming a Sushi Connoisseur will tell you everything you need to know and provide you with plenty of popular sushi recipes to try out.

Sticky Rice Dessert Recipe

No journey through Japanese cuisine would be complete without a dessert steeped in time-honored tradition. These Japanese-Style Sweet Rice Balls are the perfect way to cap things off. Known as ohagi or botamachi in Japan, these delicious yet wholesome treats are typically made to mark the occasions of the spring and autumn equinoxes. If you serve these up at your next gathering, you’ll be giving your guests the gift of an authentic Japanese dessert.

Now that you’ve got some recipes for inspiration, it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. Why not gather friends and family around to share in your passion for this unique and wonderful cuisine? Show your loved ones how much they mean to you by inviting them to join you in your celebration of Japanese cuisine.