25 Authentic Japanese Dinner Recipes

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As an immigrant who had the incredible opportunity to live in Japan for several years, I was constantly in awe of the rich culinary traditions of this island nation. From the precise art of sushi making to the comforting flavors of home-cooked dishes, Japanese food captivated me with its balance of simplicity and incredible depth of flavor.

Living amongst locals, I was graciously welcomed into homes and restaurants across the country to experience regional specialties. In Kyoto, I learned the meticulous process of preparing kaiseki – an elaborate multi-course feast celebrating the seasons through its thoughtful use of ingredients. In the mountainous region of Nagano, I warmed my hands over a simmering nabe hot pot, dipping thinly shaved beef into a kombu and soy broth alongside village elders.

Tokyo’s bustling streets were a wandering izakaya – casual pubs where after-work patrons gathered over crisp mugs of beer, grilled yakitori chicken skewers, and piping hot karaage fried chicken. And no trip to Japan would be complete without indulging in a piping hot bowl of ramen, slurping up bouncy noodles swimming in a rich tonkotsu pork broth I could never quite replicate.

Whether hunching over steaming plates of tempura in humble mom-and-pop shops or seated on tatami mats in elegant ryokans, every meal was an opportunity to discover the layers of tradition, seasonality, and artistic precision that make Japanese cuisine so internationally revered. These recipes are my attempt to share those flavors from my international home in Japan.

1. Tonkatsu


Savory, crispy pork cutlet

Ingredients: Pork loin/tenderloin, panko breadcrumbs, eggs, flour, salt, pepper, oil for frying

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

  • Pound pork slices lightly to tenderize
  • Set up dredging station with flour, beaten eggs, panko
  • Dredge pork in flour, dip in egg, then coat in panko
  • Heat oil to 325°F in a heavy pan or dutch oven
  • Fry tonkatsu 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown
  • Drain on wire rack and season with salt

2. Yakisoba


Smoky, salty, umami noodle stir-fry

Ingredients: Yakisoba noodles, pork/chicken, cabbage, carrots, onions, yakisoba sauce, oil, salt, pepper

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

  • Cook yakisoba noodles per package instructions
  • Heat oil in a wok/large pan over high heat
  • Stir fry meat until lightly browned
  • Add vegetables and stir fry 2-3 minutes
  • Push ingredients to the side, add a touch more oil
  • Add noodles and yakisoba sauce, toss everything together
  • Season with salt and pepper

3. Okonomiyaki


 savory, umami pancake with varied textures

Ingredients: Cabbage, flour, eggs, dashi, meat/seafood, beni shoga pickled ginger, okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayo

Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • Mix flour, eggs, dashi into a batter
  • Shred cabbage and chosen fillings
  • Heat a greased griddle/pan over medium heat
  • Spread batter into a round, layer with cabbage/fillings
  • Cook 3-4 minutes until bottom browns
  • Flip, cook other side until set
  • Top with okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, beni shoga

4. Unadon


Rich, sweet glazed eel over rice

Ingredients: Fresh unagi (eel filets), sushi rice, dashi, mirin, soy sauce, sugar

Cook Time: 1 hr (inc. rice)

  • Cook sushi rice per instructions
  • For unagi sauce: simmer dashi, mirin, soy, sugar
  • Grill or broil unagi filets, basting with sauce frequently
  • Place rice in bowls, top with unagi fileted pieces
  • Drizzle remaining unagi sauce over the top

5. Shabu Shabu

Shabu Shabu

Savory, umami flavored broth with tender, fresh ingredients

Ingredients: Thinly sliced beef, seafood, mushrooms, cabbage, tofu, Asian greens, kombu dashi broth, ponzu sauce

Cook Time: 45-60 mins

  • Prepare kombu dashi broth in a hot pot on the table
  • Arrange all raw ingredients on plates around the pot
  • Each diner takes turns swishing thinly sliced items in broth briefly to cook
  • As items cook, dip in ponzu or sesame sauce
  • Repeat cooking and dipping until all ingredients are consumed

6. Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki

 Sweet and savory soy-based glaze on juicy grilled chicken

Ingredients: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, rice or noodles

Cook Time: 45 mins

  • Make teriyaki sauce by simmering soy, mirin, sugar, ginger, garlic
  • Pound chicken thighs to even thickness
  • Grill or broil chicken, basting frequently with teriyaki sauce
  • Once cooked through, serve chicken over rice or noodles
  • Drizzle extra teriyaki sauce over the top

7. Beef Sukiyaki

Beef Sukiyaki

 Sweet, savory one-pot beef and vegetable hot pot

Ingredients: Thinly sliced beef, tofu, mushrooms, noodles, onions, green onions, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, dashi

Cook Time: 30-40 mins

  • Make sukiyaki broth by simmering dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sugar
  • Layer beef, tofu, mushrooms in a hot pot
  • Pour in sukiyaki broth and cook at table top
  • Add in noodles and green onions towards end
  • Dip beef and veggies in small dishes of raw egg

8. Oyakodon


Savory chicken and egg rice bowl

Ingredients: Chicken thighs, onions, eggs, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, cooked Japanese rice

Cook Time: 30 mins

  • Cook chicken in dashi, soy, mirin until tender
  • Add sliced onions and cook until softened
  • Beat eggs with dashi in a small bowl
  • Slide rice into a bowl, top with chicken/onion mixture
  • Pour eggs over the top and cover to cook eggs gently

9. Kare Raisu (Japanese Curry Rice)

Kare Raisu (Japanese Curry Rice)

Bold rich, slightly sweet curry sauce over rice

Ingredients: Beef/chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, curry roux, garam masala, ginger, garlic, cooked Japanese rice

Cook Time: 1 hour

  • Cut meat and veggies into bite-size pieces
  • In a pot, sauté onions, garlic, ginger until fragrant
  • Add meat and brown for a few minutes
  • Stir in curry roux and garam masala until combined
  • Pour in broth/water and add vegetables
  • Simmer for 30-40 mins until beef is tender
  • Serve curry over a bed of fresh cooked rice

10. Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers)

Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers)

Salty, sweet, umami glazed chicken skewers

Ingredients: Chicken thighs or breasts, green onions, shimeji mushrooms, tare sauce (soy, mirin, sake, sugar)

Cook Time: 30 mins

  • Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes, thread onto skewers alternating with mushrooms/onions
  • Make tare sauce by simmering soy, mirin, sake, sugar
  • Grill skewers, basting frequently with tare until charred
  • Serve yakitori hot with extra tare sauce for dipping

11. Nikujaga (Meat and Potato Stew)

Nikujaga (Meat and Potato Stew)

Hearty, savory stew with meltingly tender beef

Ingredients: Beef chuck, potatoes, onions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sake

Cook Time: 1.5 hours

  • Cut beef into 1-2 inch cubes
  • Saute beef in oil until browned on all sides
  • Add dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sake and bring to a simmer
  • Add vegetables and mushrooms, cover and simmer 1 hour
  • Uncover and cook 30 mins more until beef is very tender

12. Teppanyaki


Smoky meat, seafood and veggies seared on a flat grill

Ingredients: Ribeye steaks, shrimp, chicken, zucchini, mushrooms, soy sauce, butter, rice or noodles

Cook Time: 45 mins

  • Heat a teppan grill or large flat griddle over high heat
  • Slice proteins and veggies for quick cooking
  • Cook proteins first, basting with soy sauce and butter
  • Cook veggies next, seasoning simply with salt and pepper
  • Serve over steamed rice or yakisoba noodles

13. Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi Sushi

Flavors of fresh sashimi over vinegared sushi rice

Ingredients: Sushi rice, assorted sashimi (tuna, salmon, yellowtail etc.), cucumber, avocado, tobiko, nori sheets

Cook Time: 1 hour (including rice)

  • Cook sushi rice and season with rice vinegar, sugar, salt
  • Allow rice to cool completely before assembling
  • Arrange sashimi varieties attractively over the rice
  • Garnish with cucumber, avocado, tobiko, strips of nori
  • Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi, soy sauce

14. Tempura


Light, crispy battered and fried shrimp, veggies

Ingredients: Shrimp, assorted veggies, tempura batter mix, iced water, oil for frying, tentsuyu dipping sauce

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

  • Make tempura batter by mixing dry ingredients with iced water
  • Heat oil to 350°F in a sturdy pot
  • Dip shrimp and veggies in batter to coat completely
  • Carefully fry a few pieces at a time for 2-3 minutes until crisp
  • Drain on a wire rack and serve immediately with tentsuyu sauce

15. Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)

Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)

Savory, crispy octopus fritters with umami toppings

Ingredients: Octopus, dashi, eggs, all-purpose flour, beni shoga pickled ginger, green onion, takoyaki sauce

Cook Time: 45 minutes

  • Make batter with flour, eggs, dashi
  • Cook octopus pieces and chop into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Grease and heat a takoyaki pan over medium heat
  • Spoon batter into pan wells and add octopus pieces
  • Cook while turning spheres with a pick until golden brown
  • Serve immediately topped with takoyaki sauce, mayo, beni shoga, greens

16. Chawan Mushi (Savory Egg Custard)

Chawan Mushi (Savory Egg Custard)

Silky savory steamed egg custard with delicate umami flavors

Ingredients: Eggs, dashi, mirin, soy sauce, chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, greens

Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • In small cups/ramekins, arrange chicken, shrimp, mushrooms
  • Make custard by mixing eggs with dashi, mirin, soy sauce
  • Pour custard over fillings until 3/4 full
  • Cover with foil and steam for 15-20 minutes until set
  • Garnish with greens and serve warm

17. Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly) 

Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly) 

Rich, meltingly tender braised pork belly in a savory broth

Ingredients: Pork belly, soy sauce, sake, mirin, brown sugar, ginger, green onions

Cook Time: 3-4 hours

  • Cut pork belly into 2-inch cubes
  • In a pot, add pork, soy sauce, sake, mirin, brown sugar, ginger
  • Add enough water/broth to just cover the pork
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 3-4 hours
  • Pork is done when very tender and falling apart
  • Garnish with green onions, serve with steamed rice

18. Nasu Dengaku (Miso-Glazed Eggplant)

Nasu Dengaku (Miso-Glazed Eggplant)

Savory-sweet miso glaze over tender roasted eggplant

Ingredients: Japanese eggplants, miso, mirin, sugar, sake, sesame seeds

Cook Time: 40 minutes

  • Cut eggplants lengthwise and score the flesh side in a crosshatch
  • Broil or grill eggplant until charred on both sides
  • Make glaze by whisking miso, mirin, sugar, sake
  • Brush eggplants all over with the miso glaze
  • Broil 2-3 minutes more to caramelize the glaze
  • Garnish with sesame seeds

19. Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

Deliciously crispy, juicy fried chicken with sweet/savory notes

Ingredients: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, potato starch, lemon, oil for frying

Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • Cut chicken into 1-2 inch pieces, marinate in soy, ginger, garlic
  • Dredge chicken in potato starch until fully coated
  • Fry chicken pieces for 8-10 minutes at 350°F until crispy
  • Drain on a rack, squeeze lemon juice over top

20. Hiyashi Chuka (Japanese Cold Ramen Noodles)

Hiyashi Chuka (Japanese Cold Ramen Noodles)

Light, refreshing chilled ramen noodles with savory toppings

Ingredients: Ramen noodles, cucumber, tomato, ham, egg, menma bamboo shoots, sesame dressing

Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • Cook ramen noodles, rinse under cold water to chill
  • Make dressing with sesame paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce
  • Toss noodles with dressing and arrange on plates
  • Top with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, ham, egg, menma
  • Serve chilled for a refreshing summer meal

21. Chanko Nabe (Sumo Stew)

Chanko Nabe (Sumo Stew)

Hearty, protein-rich hot pot stew eaten by sumo wrestlers

Ingredients: Chicken, fish (mackerel or cod), tofu, vegetables (daikon, cabbage), chicken broth, soy sauce, sake, mirin

Cook Time: 1 hour

  • In a hot pot, bring chicken broth to a simmer and add soy sauce, sake, mirin
  • Add chicken and fish pieces and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Add tofu, daikon radish and cook 5 more minutes
  • Finally add cabbage and any other veggies until just wilted
  • Serve directly from the pot with rice on the side

22. Soumen (Cold Thin Noodles)

Soumen (Cold Thin Noodles)

Refreshing chilled thin wheat noodles in a light dipping sauce

Ingredients: Soumen noodles, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, ice water, wasabi, grated ginger, green onions

Cook Time: 15 minutes

  • Cook soumen noodles for 2-3 minutes until tender, drain and rinse under cold water
  • Make dipping sauce by combining dashi, soy sauce, mirin
  • Serve noodles chilled on plates, pour ice water over top
  • Each diner takes small portions of noodles and dips in the sauce
  • Top with wasabi, ginger, green onions

23. Hayashi Rice (Hashed Beef Stew)

Hayashi Rice (Hashed Beef Stew)

Richly flavored beef and onion stew over fluffy rice

Ingredients: Beef chuck, onions, mushrooms, tomato sauce, red wine, bay leaf, butter, flour, beef stock

Cook Time: 2 hours

  • In a pot, brown beef in batches and set aside
  • Sauté onions, then add mushrooms and deglaze with red wine
  • Stir in tomato sauce, bay leaf, beef stock and return beef to pot
  • Make a roux with butter and flour, whisk into the stew to thicken
  • Simmer for 1-2 hours until beef is very tender
  • Serve over steamed rice

24. Omu-Rice (Omelette Rice)

Omu-Rice (Omelette Rice)

Lightly sweet omelette stuffed with savory chicken rice

Ingredients: Chicken, onions, ketchup, butter, eggs, cooked rice, parsley

Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • Sauté chicken and onions, add ketchup and cooked rice
  • Beat eggs lightly with a splash of water or milk
  • Make a thin omelette in a skillet with the eggs
  • Place chicken rice mixture into the middle of the omelette
  • Fold the omelette in half to enclose the filling
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving

25. Korokke (Japanese Croquettes)

Korokke (Japanese Croquettes)

Crispy fried mashed potato croquettes with a gooey center

Ingredients: Potatoes, ground beef/pork, onions, panko breadcrumbs, flour, eggs, nutmeg, oil for frying

Cook Time: 1 hour

  • Make mashed potatoes and allow to cool completely
  • Mix potatoes with cooked ground meat, onions, nutmeg, salt, pepper
  • Form the mixture into potato croquette shapes
  • Dredge in flour, egg wash, then coat in panko breadcrumbs
  • Deep fry at 350°F for 2-3 minutes until golden brown
  • Serve hot with tonkatsu sauce or Japanese mustard


The dishes of Japan represent so much more than just cuisine, they are windows into an ancient culture of reverence for nature, seasons, and simple yet profound pleasure in life’s little rituals.

While recipes can provide a guideline, the true heart of Japanese food lies in the mindful techniques, carefully sourced ingredients, and the act of sharing these flavors with others.

May these dishes inspire you to slow down, appreciate each vibrant taste, and discover the beauty in culinary tradition.

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