Cooking Methods

Photos above by Zak Yasin

In 1980, Shizuo Tsuji released the first edition of his groundbreaking Japanese cookbook, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. His goal was not merely to present a series of recipes, but rather to teach the reader how to cook in the spirit of Japan––or as he puts it, to “lay open the heart of Japanese cuisine.” To accomplish this, the book is not organized like traditional Western cookbooks, by course or by ingredient. Traditional Japanese cookbooks are organized by cooking method since this is how a meal is planned.

Recipes are grouped according to whether food is raw and pristine (sashimi), grilled (yakimono), steamed (mushimono), simmered (nimono), deep-fried (agemono) or vinegared (sunomono). At a formal banquet, a kaiseki meal, the dinner may begin with Lilliputian-sized offerings of zensai, similar to a French chef’s amuse bouche. After this comes a clear soup (suimono) and sashimi. Then there is a parade of courses based on cooking method. The last course will always include the same elements—rice, soup and pickles, followed by green tea and fresh fruit.

  • Clear Soup
    Clear Soup
  • Sashimi
  • Sashimi
  • Zensai
  • Matcha and Genmaicha Tea
    Matcha and Genmaicha Tea
Restaurants often specialize in a particular cooking method. One goes to a sushi restaurant for vinegared rice and raw fish, a tempura house for fried tidbits cooked to order, a yakitori bar for grilled skewers, or a noodle shop for ramen.

  • Ramen
  • Ramen Raw Tuna Egg
    Udon with raw tuna and egg
  • Chef Tempura
    Tempura chef
  • Chef Sushi
    Sushi chef
  • Tempura
  • Yakitori Restaruant
    Yakitori restaurant
  • Grilling Skewers
    Yakitori restaurant
  • Skewers
  • Sukiyaki Cooking
    Sukiyaki chef
  • Sukiyaki Meat
    Sukiyaki beef from Iga
  • Sukiyaki Vegetables
    Sukiyaki vegetables


Nimono Technique

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