The Cheat's Guide to Japanese Food
Japanese cuisine is one that takes a great deal of precision, skill and creativity to master. From the acute slicing of delicate raw fish to create sashimi to the calculated rolling of maki, every dish that is presented will look like it has had the effort of the world plus some put into it. Rather than try and do it ourselves, we shy away from creating Japanese dishes at home for fear of failure. But the Japanese do this every day - and there are some tricks to help make it easier for you, too…
Don’t Stress - Cheat
Rolling maki or isomaki can take years of skill to master. You need to know the right amount of pressure to exert when you are rolling, have to get the amount of rice and filling just-so and there are a bundle of other knacks to it that have to be learned also. However, some very clever person out there decided to make a machine to take the stress out of making perfect maki and have you looking like a pro-chef in no time at all. Get hold of a sushi maker, buy the ingredients and you’ll never look back. You’ll be inviting people over all the time to just to show off your ‘skills’!
Learn the Basics
There are some dishes that are just staple in the Japanese diet. They’re not all sushi, either - who could realistically live off a diet of just raw fish? - and you have more than likely tried a few of them without realising that they’re exclusive to that culture. So the next time you are snacking on ramen, or tempura prawns, or even a katsu curry, remember that these are basics to Japanese cooking that you could be learning. Head to a site online that will be able to guide you properly, such as Kamikoto, and start getting your stomach ready for yummy food.
Eat Out More
Don’t think of it as an excuse to get away from the cooking - if you go to a Japanese restaurant and watch how certain dishes are being made, you can learn a lot more than if you were sat at home watching videos online. Obviously don’t go to one where you aren’t able to see the chef; the ever-popular conveyor belt restaurant trend should give you a prime seat for optimal chef-viewing. Restaurants such as Yo! Sushi are great examples of where you can go to see the cooking in action. It could be something as simple as watching the angle that the chef slices the fish at, or seeing how a wok is moved to stop the sticking of any rice dishes that are cooked. The best way to take it all in is to learn by example, and unless you get booking yourself onto an expensive intense cooking course any time soon, sit back and watch the masters at work … then enjoy the food that you have ordered. What a great way to start your Japanese cooking journey!