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Top 5 Popular Japanese Vegetable Dishes With Easy Recipes

Top 5 Popular Japanese Vegetable Dishes With Easy Recipes

Top 5 Popular Japanese Vegetable Dishes With Easy Recipes

Japanese cuisine is not all about ramen, sushi... It also includes many famous and delicious Japanese vegetable dishes. These Japanese vegetables are served as side dishes and are an essential part of every meal in Japan, adding a variety of textures and flavors to the dining experience. In this blog, let's explore five common Japanese vegetable dishes with Kiichin and their easy-to-prepare recipes using common ingredients!

1. What Are Japanese Vegetables?

Japanese vegetables are like a colorful painting of flavors and textures that make meals in Japan special. The Japanese vegetables list is a lot, from the crunchiness of fresh greens like spinach to the sweet earthiness of root veggies such as daikon radishes, Japanese cooking uses lots of different vegetables. Each one has its own special taste that adds something unique to the meal.

Japanese vegetable dishes are very diverse

Japanese vegetable dishes are very diverse

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When you have a Japanese meal, you'll see these Japanese vegetables in different ways. Sometimes Japanese vegetables are on their own as side dishes, and other times they're part of bigger dishes, like hot pots. In the next section, let's learn how to make and cook Japanese vegetable dishes with easy recipes that you can try at home!

2. Different Kinds Of Japanese Vegetable Dishes In Japan Meal

2.1. Kyuri

Kyuri (きゅうり), or Japanese cucumber, is a crisp and refreshing vegetable with a mild flavor, commonly used in salads and pickling. Renowned for refreshment through its high water content, Kyuri epitomizes the fleeting summer months.

One of popular Japanese vegetables is cucumber

One of popular Japanese vegetables is cucumber

In Japan, Kyuri is often eaten as Sunomono salads, where its crispiness contrasts with the sweet and tangy dressing, or tsume-kyuri - thinly sliced and seasoned with salt and rice vinegar as a type of quick pickle.

The cool cucumber salad, called Tsunomono, is a favorite side dish, especially in the hot summer. It's made tasty with rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce, giving it a refreshing flavor and a nice crunch. It goes well with any meal!

Japanese cucumbers can be used to make many yummy dishes

Japanese cucumbers can be used to make many yummy dishes

Japanese pickled cucumber is a simple dish that requires only cucumbers and shio kombu (flavorful kombu seaweed). For tsume-kyuri, thinly slice English or burpless Japanese cucumber into small rounds using a mandoline. Gently toss with an appropriate amount of vinegar, salt, and sugar. Then seal and refrigerate for 3 days to tenderize the cell walls while imparting a balance of tanginess and umami.

2.2. Spinach

Another Japanese vegetable is Spinach (おひたし), which means "leaf vegetable" when written in hiragana. It is a nutrient-packed leafy green, known for its versatility and earthy taste. As one of the first edible greens to re-emerge from winter's snow-blanketed slumber, spinach signifies the powers of renewal, rejuvenation and inner vitality heralding spring. Rich in vitamins A, C, K and minerals, its leaves can reboot seasonal nourishment.

Spinach is one of the common Japanese vegetables

Spinach is one of the common Japanese vegetables

Common cooking methods with this Japanese vegetable aimed to preserve nutrients include wilting in soups, stir fries or ohitashi - lightly blanching then tossing with kombu-dashi broth seasoned with bonito flakes or shaved nori.

To make this Japanese vegetable dish, blanch 1 package of fresh spinach leaves 30 seconds first. Then shock in ice water, squeeze dry, then toss with 1/2 cup hot kombu-dashi and top with bonito or nori. And finally, just serve it at room temperature as a nutritious side dish!

2.3. Daikon

Daikon (大根), or Japanese radish. It is a type of white radish with mild-flavored and a crisp texture. Daikon is frequently grated or julienned into soups, pickled, stews, salads or sunomono salads for texture and mild flavor. And it can also be braised or simmered as a side vegetable.

A bowl of delicious crispy daikon pickles

A bowl of delicious crispy daikon pickles

Let's try making this Japanese vegetable dish by stewing it with pork to create a comforting and deeply satisfying meal. First, peel and slice the daikon into rounds, then slice the pork. Next, heat oil in a pot, add the pork slices, and cook until golden brown. Add the daikon slices to the pot and stir with the pork. Pour in dashi stock, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. Bring it to a gentle simmer, then cover and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes until the daikon is tender. Finally, serve in bowls, garnished with chopped green onions.

Related Post: Daikon in Japanese Cuisine: Top 5 Best Japanese Daikon Recipes

Daikon stew with pork and carrot
Daikon stew with pork and carrot

This Japanese radish recipe allows the daikon to absorb the savory essence of the broth while the pork adds depth and richness, perfect for enjoying on a chilly evening or whenever you need culinary comfort.

2.4. Renkon

Renkon (れんこん), or lotus root, is a versatile Japanese vegetable celebrated for its crunchy texture and ability to absorb flavors. Native to Asia and cultivated widely in healing arts, its signature bulbous texture and mildly sweet notes have entranced for centuries.

This Japanese vegetable can be pickled to make a delicious dish

This Japanese vegetable can be pickled to make a delicious dish

Because of its intriguing segmented texture, renkon is often sliced and eaten raw, or battered in tempura or teriyaki and deep fried for a contrasting crunch. And now, let's try out this Kinpira Renkon (Fried Lotus Root) recipe for a tasty mix of crunchiness and flavor! Whether you are familiar with renkon or not, this easy appetizer is sure to become a favorite!

Kinpira Renkon is a must-try dish when you mention this type of Japanese vegetable

Kinpira Renkon is a must-try dish when you mention this type of Japanese vegetable

Start by peeling the lotus root, then slicing it and cutting it into half rounds. After that, soak the lotus root for 5 minutes and make sure to drain it completely. Use a paper towel to dry the lotus root slices. In a bowl, combine the batter ingredients and mix them well. Heat oil in a frying pan, dip the lotus root slices in the batter, and then deep-fry them until they are slightly browned (2 to 3 minutes). Flip the slices over and cook for an additional minute. Place the fried lotus root slices on a cooling rack to let excess oil drip off. Finally, savor this delightful Japanese vegetable dish, which offers the perfect combination of crunchiness and flavor as an inviting appetizer!

2.5. Beni Shōga

One of another common Japanese vegetables is Beni Shōga (紅生姜). In Japanese cuisine, "red ginger" is often referred to as "beni shoga". Beni shoga is pickled ginger that has a distinctive red or pink color. It is made by marinating thin strips of ginger in a mixture of umeboshi (pickled plum) vinegar, salt, and sugar.

This Japanese vegetable dish can be served as a side dish with sushi

This Japanese vegetable dish can be served as a side dish with sushi

Beni shoga is commonly used as a condiment or garnish in various Japanese dishes, especially in traditional foods like okonomiyaki (savory pancake), yakisoba (fried noodles), and takoyaki (octopus balls). The pickled ginger adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to dishes while providing a colorful and visually appealing element. To make this Japanese vegetable dish, you just need to soak ginger in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt, which gives Beni Shōga its distinctive color and taste.

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3. Conclusion

And there you have it—our adventure into the world of Japanese vegetables! We've seen how these colorful dishes bring nature to the table, making meals in Japan extra special. Now that you have all these recipes, let's get cooking! Try them out, enjoy the different flavors, and let the spirit of Japanese cooking inspire your own tasty creations.

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