When it comes to Japanese cuisine, there are many aspects that make it unique and delicious. One of these aspects is the wide variety of side dishes that accompany the main course. A Japanese side dish is known as “okazu” in Japanese, and they are an essential part of a traditional Japanese meal.
These side dishes can range from simple pickles to more complex dishes like simmered vegetables or deep-fried tofu. They are meant to complement the main dish and provide a variety of flavors and textures to enhance the overall dining experience. Here are some of the most popular Japanese side dishes that you should try the next time you enjoy Japanese cuisine.
Tsukemono (Pickled Vegetables)
- Tsukemono is a traditional Japanese side dish made by pickling vegetables. These pickles are often served as a palate cleanser or as an accompaniment to the main dish. They can be made using a variety of vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, daikon radish, and ginger. Tsukemono can be either sweet or sour and are often seasoned with salt, vinegar, soy sauce, or miso.
- Edamame is a classic Japanese side dish that is popular both in Japan and around the world. These soybeans are usually served steamed with a sprinkle of salt. They are high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, making them a healthy and tasty addition to any meal.
Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings)
- Gyoza is a type of Japanese dumpling that is often served as a side dish. These dumplings are usually filled with ground pork, cabbage, and various seasonings. They are pan-fried until crispy and served with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil. Gyoza is a perfect snack or appetizer that pairs well with beer or sake.
Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers)
- Yakitori is a type of Japanese chicken skewer that is grilled over charcoal. The chicken is often marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, and mirin before grilling. The skewers are then brushed with a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Yakitori is a delicious and popular side dish that is often served in izakayas (Japanese-style bars).
Takikomi Gohan (Mixed Rice)
- Takikomi Gohan is a type of mixed rice that is made by cooking rice with various vegetables, mushrooms, and seasonings. The rice is typically seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi (a type of fish stock). This side dish is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your meal and adds a nice texture and flavor to the rice.
Tempura (Deep-Fried Vegetables and Seafood)
- Tempura is a type of Japanese dish that is made by deep-frying vegetables and seafood in a light and crispy batter. The batter is made using a mixture of flour, cornstarch, and cold water. Tempura can be served as a side dish or as a main course. It is often served with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, mirin, and grated daikon radish.
Ohitashi (Blanched Vegetables with Soy Sauce Dressing)
- Ohitashi is a Japanese side dish that is made by blanching vegetables like spinach or kale and then dressing them with a soy sauce-based dressing. The dressing is usually made from soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. This side dish is a healthy and refreshing addition to any meal.
Sunomono (Vinegared Salad)
- Sunomono is a type of Japanese salad that is dressed with a sweet and sour vinegar dressing
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