5 Delicious Japanese Recipes for Autumn

Autumn is the season for hearty eating in Japan, as the hot and humid summer days give way to cooler temperatures and appetites increase. Cooler days and darker evenings are the perfect excuse to prepare tasty, warming meals with a Japanese twist using seasonal ingredients such as mushrooms, pumpkins and chestnuts.

You may not be able to jet off to Japan this autumn, but you can bring a bit of Japan into your own kitchen by preparing one of these five delicious autumnal dishes!

Autumn Bento

Bento are convenient boxed meals for one, consisting of small portions of food divided into separate compartments. They are perfect for a packed lunch and usually contain rice or noodles, meat or fish, pickles, vegetables, and sometimes a sweet treat too. Mild sunny weather at this time of year means sightseeing is popular in Japan. So if you travel around by train to view the spectacular displays of autumn leaves, you’ll be able to pick up eki-bento (train station bento) to experience a variety of autumn flavours in one convenient meal! 

Our autumn bento is a great choice for those of you who like a variety of flavours and textures in one meal, as it  incorporates an array of nutrient-packed ingredients such as prawns, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, hijiki (a type of Japanese seaweed) and green bean tamagoyaki (omelette) rolls. 

Autumn Bento Recipe

Kabocha Pumpkin Potage

Halloween is on the horizon, so when you’re choosing your perfect Halloween pumpkin to carve, why not pick up an extra one and keep it aside to add to your autumn menu? Pumpkin is a diverse autumnal ingredient which can be used in sweet and savoury dishes from pies to soups. It’s highly nutritious too – high in fibre, vitamin A and potassium and low in calories. 

Our Kabocha Pumpkin Potage is a flavourful, warming soup-style dish made with kabocha – a variety of Japanese pumpkin with a sweeter flavour than western varieties. With just a few simple ingredients you can prepare this easy-to-make meal in no time at all! 

Kabocha Pumpkin Potage Recipe

Gyoza Nabe Hot Pot

A large bowl of hearty hot pot is just what we all need to warm us up on a chilly autumnal day. Hot pot is traditionally prepared in one large nabe (pot) on a portable gas stove at the centre of the table, so everyone can help themselves. This is a nutritious dish which can contain a mix of carbs, protein and veggies in a rich and flavoursome broth, making it extremely versatile – feel free to adapt the recipe and add your favourite ingredients! 

If you can’t decide whether you want gyoza or hot pot, why not combine them both for a twist on a classic dish? Our Gyoza Nabe Hot Pot recipe combines a medley of vegetables such as leeks, mushrooms and cabbage with tender and tasty gyoza. This is an easy dish to adapt if you want to prepare a vegetarian version – simply use meat free gyoza. 

Gyoza Nabe Hot Pot Recipe

Autumn Kaze

Our Autumn Kaze shochu-based cocktail is a delicious way to round off a meal, and an alternative to dessert if you’ve over-indulged during your other courses! Shochu is a distilled beverage which can be made from rice or a variety of other ingredients such as sweet potato, barley, or buckwheat. Each of these different ingredients gives shochu a unique flavour, much like the varying tastes of scotch whiskey. 

Our Autumn Kaze recipe contains warming coffee, vanilla and honey along with the zesty flavours of orange and yuzu (a type of Japanese citrus). These ingredients combine with the earthy taste of shochu to create the perfect autumnal cocktail. 

Autumn Kaze Recipe

Kuri Youkan Chestnut Jelly Cake

With its nutty, earthy taste, chestnut is the perfect ingredient for your autumnal menu, and works well when paired with sweet ingredients to bring the flavours of the forest into your desserts.

Our Kuri Youkan Chestnut Jelly Cake recipe combines preserved chestnuts with azuki (red bean) paste which both help to balance out the sweetness of more sugary ingredients.

This jelly cake is made using plant-based agar instead of gelatin, meaning it’s suitable for vegans too. Pair with a warming cup of Japanese tea and enjoy an afternoon or after-dinner autumnal treat. 

Kuri Youkan Chestnut Jelly Cake Recipe

Enjoy all this and more by shopping in-store at Japan Centre Leicester Square, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. Alternatively you can get fresh produce delivered straight to your door by shopping online at the Japan Centre website.

Words by Emily Lovell