4 Japanese Comfort Food Recipes You Can Easily Recreate At Home | CoolJapan
Craving Japanese comfort foods but don’t want to splurge by eating out? Here’s some good news: you can easily recreate several Japanese homey dishes in your own kitchen using staples you might already have in your pantry or your local grocery store. Plus, you don’t need Michelin-level cooking skills to master them. Ready to satisfy your cravings? Below, four easy recipes to get you started.

1. Miso soup

Miso soup

Miso soup. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

Miso soup is a Japanese meal staple that typically uses two main ingredients: miso paste and dashi (Japanese soup stock mainly made from bonito flakes and dried kelp, also known as kombu). If dashi is hard to come by, vegetable stock is a recommended alternative. A miso soup’s garnish usually varies depending on the region or household. For a simple version, here’s everything you need:

200ML dashi stock (or vegetable stock)
1 tablespoon of miso paste (learn more about the different types of miso paste here)
Your choice of garnish (wakame, tofu, green onions)

Preparing miso soup is pretty simple. First, pour your dashi or vegetable stock into a pot and bring it to a boil. Next, mix the miso paste with the stock using either a sieve or a whisk to ensure the miso dissolves completely into the broth. Once no clumps of miso paste are found in the soup, it’s time to toss in the rest of the ingredients such as tofu, vegetables, etc. You can also season the soup accordingly during this step. If the miso flavour is too strong, you can adjust the flavour by adding more water or stock to the mixture. Let the soup simmer for a couple of minutes and serve warm.

2. Omurice


Omurice. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

Omurice or Japanese omelette rice can be prepared in several ways, some quick and easy and others needing restaurant-level skill. However, no matter what method is used, the key ingredients for this Japanese comfort food remain the same. Here’s what you need to make the dish at home:

2 eggs
1 serving of rice (preferably, day-old rice)
2 to 3 tablespoons of ketchup (or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, if you’re feeling fancy)
1 tablespoon of neutral cooking oil (ideally vegetable or canola)
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ onion, minced
½ cup choice of meat/ham
½ choice of vegetables (chopped carrots, green pepper, button mushroom, etc.)
Salt and pepper to taste

First, heat your pan and add the oil. Next, sautee minced onions and garlic until fragrant, followed by other ingredients like your meat/ham, vegetables like carrots, cabbage, etc. Once the ingredients in the pan are cooked, add the rice and the ketchup to the mixture. You can also add some soy sauce to balance the sweet-sour taste of the ketchup with some saltiness. Mix the ingredients until the rice is evenly coated with the ketchup, and the meat and veggies are tossed well into the rice. Press down any clumps of rice to ensure that the fried rice will have a coarser texture and appearance. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Once the rice is done, put a serving on a plate, ideally shaping it like a dome or an oblong to serve as the base for the egg. Set aside. Next, prepare two to three eggs per serving of rice. Beat the eggs until the yolks and the whites are nicely mixed, and season with salt. Pour the egg mixture into a non-stick pan, allowing it to form a circle, crepe-like shape. Once the base of the egg is cooked to the point that it can be lifted off the pan, flip the egg over to the plate of rice you’ve set aside earlier and add more ketchup (or demi-glace sauce) to the side. If you want it to look cleaner, you can tuck the sides of the egg and use it to envelop the shape of the rice.

3. Japanese potato salad

Japanese potato salad

Japanese potato salad. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

Japan has adapted several Western dishes reinvented to suit the Asian palate. One of them is potato salad. Compared to its Western counterpart, Japanese potato salad is distinguished by its mashed consistency, elevated by other flavours and textures added to the mix. Make it at home with these ingredients:

4 to 5 medium potatoes, peeled and mashed
⅓ cup Japanese mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard as an alternative)
¼ white onion, diced or thinly sliced
½ carrot, thinly sliced
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
(Optional) thin slices of pre-cooked ham or bacon
(Optional) hard-boiled egg, diced

Soften the potatoes by cutting them into pieces and boiling them in water. While the potatoes are cooking, steam the carrots until they soften to your liking. Next, sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt, let it rest for five to 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with cold water. This process will soften the cucumber and extract the excess moisture. Squeeze out the excess water from the cucumber and pat dry. Once the potatoes are nicely cooked, remove them from the water and start mashing. Allow the mashed potato to cool before mixing in the carrots, cucumbers, mayonnaise, and other ingredients like ham and egg. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Oyakodon


Oyakodon. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

Oyakodon is another Japanese comfort food that’s very filling and quite easy to prepare. Its name is quite clever, with ‘oya’ meaning ‘parent’ and ‘ko’ meaning child, referring to the combination of chicken and egg in the dish. Here is what you need to make it:

200G chicken thighs or breast cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, cut in half and slice thinly
2 to 3 eggs, beaten until yolks and whites have a marbled appearance
1/2 cup mentsuyu (a pre-mixed sauce for Japanese noodles)
Steamed rice
Mistuba parsley or green onions (thinly sliced for garnish)

First, heat the pan and put the mentsuyu and the onions to a simmer. Next, add the chicken and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Once the chicken is cooked, add half of the egg mixture into the pan, distribute the eggs evenly all over the chicken, and then add the rest of the mixture to coat everything. The dish is ready to be served over rice once the eggs look nice and fluffy. Garnish with green onions.

Fun fact: mentsuyu is used as a dipping sauce for soba and udon but also serves as an excellent alternative for the combined flavours of light soy, mirin, and sake often used in Asian cuisine.

Which of these Japanese comfort food recipes are you trying soon?

Speaking of comfort food, if you’re craving Japanese curry, here are three ways to enjoy it.