We’re willing to bet that you’ve tried Japanese food, in some form or another; it’s quite popular all around the world. The main emphasis in almost every Japanese meal is centered around rice, or gohan. Oftentimes, Japanese meals include multiple small side dishes that compliment the rice, such as vegetables and meat dishes. Foundational Japanese flavors are lovely & simple—opposite to other Asian cuisines that may use bold spices. The flavor of Japanese food comes from the food itself; each main element is meant to be combined with the other small dishes and rice. Japanese people claim that “you complete your meal in your mouth” by doing so: taking bites of each dish to come together for a balanced bite with every meal. With that in mind, YRH has created an easy Japanese meal to recreate in your own home.
This simple, flavorful dish emphasizes the Japanese practice of combining each dish together. This classic Japanese meal consists of Ginger Pork, Pickled Vegetables, and white rice (plus about an hour of margination time). You’re gonna want to make sure there are leftovers because it is that good.
Note: as these meals are actually a series of small dishes, portion sizes depend entirely on your family’s food preferences.
Rice: What You Need
There are *so many* different types of rice out there (stroll through the aisles of any grocery market), but for this meal, you’re going to want to have Japanese white rice. Japanese rice is a short-grain, sticky rice. It’s important to remember that the rice should be shiny, as each grain holds a whole lot of moisture compared to other types of rice. We recommend buying some from your local Japanese market—some of our favorites: Mitsuwa and Marukai.
Ginger Pork: What You Need
Ginger Pork is a classic Japanese dish found in countless restaurants in Japan, as well as in the homes of locals themselves. For this dish, you will need:
- Thinly-sliced pork loin
- Soy sauce
- Mirin (similar to sake, but with lower alcohol content and higher sugar content)
- Japanese sake
- Grated ginger
- Grated onion
- Dash of sugar
Put the pork to the side and combine all of the ingredients in a pot to create a marinate. Let the pork rest in the marinade for about an hour (the longer the rest, the more “punchy” the flavors—this can be adjusted per your family’s preference).
photo via pickledplum.com
Pickled Vegetables: What You Need
Pickled vegetables are common in Japanese meals, as they accompany and compliment so many dishes. For this step, you can pickle any vegetable that you like. Popular choices include cucumbers, Napa cabbage, carrots, eggplant, and daikon. Make sure they are thinly sliced, as that allows for easier bites when combining the dishes.
You will need:
- Thinly sliced veggies of your choice
- Sesame oil
Mix all of these ingredients in a plastic bag and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
After your meal is complete, combine the tangy flavors of the Ginger Pork with your gohan. Taste how the pork expertly compliments the simplicity of the rice. Also, pair the crunchy pickled veggies with your gohan as well: the warm gohan and cold-veggie contrast is a classic (and perfect) combo of textures, flavors, and temperature. There you have it: an easy Japanese meal for the whole household.