Essential Ingredients for Classic Dishes

Deliciously Essential Japanese Cooking Ingredients

Get the low down on just what to do with all those ingredients and which to use for your favourite Japanese dishes.

Delicious Sushi!Sushi

Simply delicious and deliciously simple! For many people sushi is their first taste of Japanese food. Made with seafood and vinegared rice, sushi has been enjoyed in various forms for over 1200 years! Sushi is usually enjoyed with some soy sauce and fiery wasabi paste as condiments, with a little pickled ginger on the side to cleanse the palate between bites.

What you need
  • Soy Sauce: We recommend sushi soy sauce. Sushi soy sauce is usually blended to create milder flavour that will highlight the taste of sushi. Some other special soy sauces can also be delicious with sushi, but may overwhelm delicate pieces. Try Kikkoman Sushi and Sashimi Soy Sauce.
  • Vinegar: Rice vinegar is essential to get the completely moreish taste of sushi rice just right. Mixed with sugar is gives the perfect balance of sweet and tang! For first timers try Tamanoi Powdered Sushi Vinegar, for experts try Uchibori Sushi Vinegar. Want to mix your own? Try Mizkan Rice Vinegar.
  • Rice: Any short grain Japanese rice is good for sushi, but we recommend going a little bit fancy if you can. Sushi is one of the dishes that can really showcase different strains of rice. Try Shinmei Akafuji Koshihikari Rice – Uonuma.

TeriyakiChicken Teriyaki

Tender pieces of meat, glazed with a sweet and savoury soy based sauce and grilled to perfection! As well as a marinade, teriyaki sauce is also popular as a general condiment on burgers or steak.

What you need


Soba Noodle SoupSoba Noodle Soup

Soba buckwheat noodles are very popular in Japan. Served hot or cold, with soup or with a dipping sauce, soba is a perfect dish whatever the weather.

What you need

  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce helps to give this dish its lovely flavour. We recommend using reduced salt soy sauce, if you don’t make your own dashi stock. Try Kikkoman Reduced Salt Soy Sauce.
  • Dashi: This unique stock, bouillon or broth is used to infuse the fifth flavour, umami, in many Japanese dishes. Try Shimaya Bonito Stock for noodle soup or just use Marukin Soba Tsuyu Soup diluted to taste if you want a quick noodley fix (note: you won’t need to use soy sauce or mirin with this either)
  • Mirin: Mirin helps to make your noodle soup nice and mellow. Try Clearspring Organic Mikawa Mirin for a deliciously indulgent soup.

Japanese CurryMmm, Curry!

Very different from the highly spiced curries we know and love from India and across the globe, Japanese curry tends to have a mild taste with very strong sweet and savoury flavours. Popular curries often include honey, fruits or vegetables in their sauces to provide balance to spices like turmeric.

What you need

Black Cod MisoBlack Cod Miso

This delicious dish is a famously fancy addition to many Japanese restaurant menus. Make it home and turn your dinner table into a 5 star joint!

What you need

  • Sake: Sake helps to hold the fish together while it grills and remove any unpleasant ‘fishy’ smells or flavours. Try Takara Cooking Sake for this dish, it’s brewed with a special yeast strain to give it even stronger odour beating powers! Alternatively you can try ‘drinking’ sake if you want a tipple with your dinner. Try Gekkeikan Everyday Sake Eco-Cup.
  • Mirin: Because Black Cod Miso has quite a subtle flavour, we recommend using a mirin without added sugar so as not to mask it. Try King Jyozo Sweetened Rice Wine for Cooking.
  • White Miso: This dish works best with a really refined white miso. Try Clearspring Organic Sweet White Miso for a deliciously authentic taste.



Delicious slivers of vegetables and seafood, covered in amazingly light and crisp batter and fried to perfection. Thanks the cooking process tempura has a very airy texture compared with traditional batters for things like fish and chips.

What you need


Tonkatsu Katsu & Ebi Furai

Two hunger busting lunch time favourites! Both made with a crisp panko breadcrumb coating before frying, katsu are usually made from pork cutlets or chicken and ebi furai is, of course, prawn! If you’ve tried tempura and want your batter to have a bit more bite, try panko instead.

What you need

  • Panko Flour: These bread crumbs are no ordinary breadcrumbs. Panko is made by passing an electric current through bread (really!) to get the crispest flakes. Try K&K Panko Chopped Breadcrumbs to get the ultimate in crunchy katsu.

Tofu SaladWakame & Tofu Salad

Going lean and green? Make healthy even more delicious with a few store cupboard essentials.

What you need

  • Tofu: There are many different styles of tofu. For salad we recommend using as firm a tofu as possible, to stop it from crumbling while you’re still eating. Try House Premium Tofu Medium Firm.
  • Dressing: For tofu salad you need something with a little bit of a punch. Try Mizkan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce for a deliciously fruity tang.

A Luverly Cup'O Matcha!Japanese Matcha Green Tea and Red Bean & Matcha Cupcakes

Matcha green tea undergoes a special process where it’s shaded from the sun before picking, giving matcha its wonderful deep green colour and distinctive taste.

What you need

Want to get stocked up? Japan Centre has everything you need to kit out an authentic Japanese kitchen, including essential ingredients, cooking utensils and more!

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