The Top 12 Most Delicious Japanese Cookbooks to Make Your Mouth Water


3/15/2017 11:05:02 AM

The Top 12 Most Delicious Japanese Cookbooks to Make Your Mouth Water

Japanese food is the best food in the world. We also reviewed the top 10 Japanese Sushi Knives. Learn how to master it with our Top 12 favorite Japanese Cookbooks!

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art


This mastery cookbook on Japanese cooking comes in at a whopping 500 pages and is the 25th anniversary edition. Author Shizuo Tsuji trained with French chefs and provides detailed and precise recipes and descriptions. Beautiful photos are included in addition to over 500 drawings. You'll be kept busy with 230 recipes and every detail you'll need to know about the world about Japanese cooking including: ingredients, cultural history, and utensils. This is "The Joy of Cooking" for Japanese cuisine. Recipes are laid out step by step in precise detail and recipes are divided by cooking method. Some recipes that you'll encounter include: Cold Steamed Chicken with Sesame Sauce, Shellfish with Miso Dressing and Yellowtail Teriyaki. 

You will not only learn the fundamentals of Japanese cooking, you'll learn the history and the culture of the cuisine. There are simple recipes included as well as super complex recipes. This book is a must-have in the library of any serious cook or any student passionate about Japanese cuisine and culture.





The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go


Bento's give the best snapshot into Japanese home cooking, featuring a variety of traditional dishes all packed together. One of our favorite Japanese cookbooks comes from Makiko Itoh of the blog Just Bento. This book features a total of 150 recipes which make up the 25 bento menus that she has also included. She also includes basics for the beginning Japanese cook, a glossary of terms, beautiful photos and organization guides.


Itoh's Bento box features classic bento boxes instead of the more viral super cute bentos for kids, which look amazing but taste ok. You'll get so addicted to bento making after trying out just a few recipes in this book. The recipes are so delicious and healthy! As you get more familiar with the recipes, you can easily mix and match recipes to create your own ideal, custom bento box. Even if you don't live near a Japanese supermarket, you should be able to find most of the ingredients at your local supermarket. We love The Just Bento Cookbooks! It's great for making bento boxes, but really you can use it to make your own Japanese dinner!



Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More from the Streets and Kitchens of Tokyo and Beyond 


This next Japanese cookbook is written by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat and its all about mastering Japanese comfort food at home. Visions of ramen, curry, udon and more drift lazily and deliciously into my mind when I hear 'Japanese Comfort Food'. These are the meals and dishes that a Japanese mom would make and many are super easy to recreate at home. Not only does the book include 100 delicious recipes but the writers delve into the back stories of the dishes along with stunning, mouth-watering photography.

So many Americans know nothing about Japanese food beyond sushi and maybe ramen and that does Japanese food a disservice because its rich with other equally enjoyable dishes. We love how the book is laid out into different comfort food categories. For example the Curry section features several traditional Japanese curry recipes. I especially love how each recipe has a difficulty rating, on a scale from 1-5. Some of the recipes might require more specialized ingredients that may not be available at your local grocery store. (I like to order specialty ingredients off Amazon, so easy!) This is a great cookbook to pick up to get a comprehensive understanding of all the Japanese comfort food dishes.


Japanese Cooking Made Simple: A Japanese Cookbook with Authentic Recipes for Ramen, Bento, Sushi & More 


This next cookbook was a New York Times Bestseller. Also, the Kindle version is only $3.27 so definitely pick that up! Simple and affordable recipes are featured in this book, featuring over 100 recipes. You won't need a fancy Asian supermarket to get your ingredients, all ingredients featured in the book should be able to be found in your local grocery store. Don't worry though, the recipes are super authentic! Many of the recipes can be made in about 20 minutes so its super convenient for weeknight cooking. Some of the recipes include: Chicken Yakitori, California Rolls, Bento Boxes, and much much more!

This recipes are written simply, step by step so any beginner can feel comfortable trying out the recipes. One downside is that there are very few photos, so if you aren't familiar with the dishes mentioned, you'll have no idea what the dish is supposed to look like in the end! Japanese cooking basics are also covered in this book. This is a great starter cookbook for a beginning Japanese cook!


Simply Ramen: A Complete Course in Preparing Ramen Meals at Home


Simply Ramen obviously focuses on just ramen recipes. Ramen can get intimidated as many of us have watched specials on The Food Network with chefs touting their 48 hour pork bone broth base to start off their ramen recipe. Kimoto-Kahn presents her recipes in a simple no-frills way that is easy to follow 70 delicious recipes, sides and toppings are detailed in this cookbook. Unconventional and unexpected recipes such as cheese ramen, kale ramen and chorizo ramen are included. Although super traditional ramen like Tonkatsu ramen is included, author Amy Kimoto-Kahn isn't afraid to switch it up and include fusion versions of this favorite Japanese comfort food.

For ramen aficionados, it'll be thrilling to learn how to make ramen noodles from scratch and how to make the perfect poached egg. The book is broken up into sections featuring the main ingredient: pork, vegetable, chicken and more. To top it off, sides to pair with the ramen are also feature: korekke, Japanese potato salad and more. Ramen recipes are graded on a difficulty level or 1-3. Pick up this delicious ramen bible for the recipes and the beautiful photos!


Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals


I love my shabu shabu but beyond that I had never tasted Japanese Hot Pot before. Japanese Hot Pot are super healthy, one-pot meals that are comfort food for the soul. The cookbook also gives a background on hot pot culture and gives a primer on ingredients and kitchen tools needed. 50 recipes are featured More Westernized substitutes for tools and ingredients is also included. We loved this book for its beautiful photos and step by step directions. Suggested sides and dishes are paired with each recipe, along with with backstory history. Love it!

You can easily make this ahead on the stove and bring it to the table for everyone to share, but ideally you'll want to pick up a small butane stove. The proper way to eat Asian hot pot is to bring the boiling broth to the table, with a array of dishes on the table. Each person can pick and choose which ingredients they want to eat and cook as they go. Some recipes included in the book include: Chicken Curry Hot Pot, Yokohama Beef Hot Pot, Strawberry Hot Pot, Kyoto Vegetable Hot Pot and so much more! Pick up this cookbook for the definitive guide on the ultimate comfort food: hot pot.



The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables


Next up is another book from authors Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat, who wrote the book we just reviewed:Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals This is the first cookbook that I've ever read about Japanese Yakitori cooking at home. The book starts off with a primer on Japanese ingredients and grilling basics with the recipe sections mostly divided by protein. You can use a regular grill for this cookbook but the cookbook also teaches how to tweak your set up to mimic a Japanese yakitori grill. So many basics are included such as what kind of meat grills best, how to skewer the meat, the different kinds of fish and so much more.

Some of the absolutely yummy recipes include: Lamb Shoulder Steak with Japanese Curry Oil, Corn Brushed with Soy Sauce and Mirin, Catfish in Bamboo Leaf, Yuzyu Kosho Scallops and so much more. This a great companion cookbook to purchase along with the hot pot cookbook. Pull out your your yakitori skills to impress your dinner guests and pair it with a boiling hot pot to blow their minds!



Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking


Of course we had to include Iron Chef Morimoto's cookbook on this list! This is more of an elevated fusion version of Japanese cuisine, similar to what you would see on The Iron Chef. Not only is gorgeous photography featured, it also includes mouthwatering recipes such as: Sugared Salmon with Beet Sorbet and Yuzu Foam, Pork Gyoza with Rustic Tomato Sauce and Bacon Cream Reduction and so much more. We also get to learn about some of Morimoto's background and his insights into Japanese cuisine. He's an innovator who is not restricted by all the traditional rules of Japanese cooking.

Morimoto is a master at designing a beautiful plate of food and he teaches you how to apply his principles to master these techniques at home. This isn't for the home cook looking to make a quick weeknight meal for the family, the dishes definitely take an investment in time and presentation. It is really perfect for a passionate foodie/chef who is into throwing dinner parties and have a bit of experience cooking already under their belt. 



Sushi at Home: A Mat-To-Table Sushi Cookbook


I love making sushi at home. I was lucky enough to take the Japanese Food Story Class in Los Angeles to learn sushi rolling in person from a master home chef. After a little bit of practice, I was whipping up spicy tuna rolls at home on the regular. This book is perfect for teaching yourself how to make sushi. It is very common to enjoy sushi at home in Japan and this book is perfect even for a beginner, giving prep instructions on grocery shopping, sushi rice, fish slicing and so much more. Over 80 delicious sushi recipes are included. Some delicious recipes include: crab, mango, and cilantro temaki, california rolls, chawanmushi, dragon roll, and more. 

All you need to start making sushi is a knife, rolling mat and a rice paddle. Include all those items with this book for a great gift! This book really breaks down the idea that sushi is only to be enjoyed in the restaurants. Step by step instructions are included with many photos for reference. I love this book for it's easy to follow instructions for delicious sushi and Japanese side dishes at home!




Izakayas are definitely gaining more and more popularity in the United States and around the world. Izakayas are Japanese pubs where businessmen and youth gather after work for delicious small plate dishes meant to be shared and enjoyed with alcohol. Readers will not only enjoy 60 recipes to make a home, they will learn about the history and different styles of izakayas. The author takes us through a tour of eight very different izakayas ranging from traditional, well established pubs, to new, edgy izakayas. Also helpful is a guide to the customs and etiquette of izakayas so you don't look like a fool when ordering at one.  Also featured is a guide to ordering sake and alcohol to be paired with your meal.

A sampling of the recipes included are: Littleneck Clam Broth with Miso, Creamy Crab Croquettes, and Scrambled Eggs with Sea Urchin and Lobster Sauce. These recipes are not difficult and they are fast so its not only a suitable for dinner parties but perfect for a weeknight meal. It's a beautiful book I not only use it for a cookbook but leave it out as a coffee table book. Beautiful, moody, cool photography is featured inside. Pick up this cookbook for a real taste of Japanese nighttime eats.


Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint

I had to include Ivan Ramen's cookbook, he is such a passionate aficionado of the ultimate Japanese comfort food: ramen. He did the impossible and won over the local Japanese as an outsider creating his own version of this delicious food. This is not only a cookbook but a history and memoir of Ivan's journey from New York chef to Japanese restauranteur. Ivan's story at the beginning takes up over 100 pages. Over 30 of Ivan's master ramen recipes are included, illustrated in obsessive detail. These recipes are complex and are not meant for the beginner cook. Ivan teaches the making of ramen from scratch, from the noodle to the broth and everything in between. You might even learn how to create your own master bowl of ramen!

I love the beautiful, epic photos included in this cookbook and it really makes a good read, motivational and inspiring at the same time.  Ivan overcomes tragedy and adversity to pioneer his dreams in a foreign land. Pick up Ivan Ramen'd cookbook and leave with a deep appreciation for ramen and Japanese culture.






Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen

Author Elizabeth Andoh is widely known as the foremost English speaking expert on Japanese cooking, having lived most of her life in Japan. The book is titled Washoku, which means traditional Japanese food. Japanese food is composed of five principles: taste, color, preparation, outlook and senses which the reader is educated about. Many of us know about sushi, ramen and shabu shabu, but less about what the average Japanese person eats at home. This book makes these recipes easy and accessible. Not only are recipes detailed, but ingredients are also explored in depth with beautiful full color photos as an accompaniment. 140 total recipes are included featuring deliciousness such as: Chicken Omelet over Rice, Miso-Marinated Broiled Fish, and Soy-Glazed Beef Burger.

This book is also great for beginners as Andoh details recipe substitutions and teaches about unfamiliar Japanese ingredients. For example, the author delves into the world of miso, explaining regional varieties and which miso should be use in which dishes. This is a great, comprehensive introductory Japanese cookbook.



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