Easy Japanese Recipes Better Than Takeout
How to Make Ramen—and Not the Instant Kind
Called mazemen, this ramen dish gets its taste from a bold sauce instead of broth and comes together in mere minutes. Just toss cooked noodles with the dressing, and add whatever toppings you choose—mazemen is endlessly adaptable. Stick with veggies (we included carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and more, but swap in spinach or broccoli if that's what you crave), or add ground beef or slow-roasted pork. (Peep these other homemade ramen recipes for more ideas—and, while you're at it, make sure you're eating ramen the right way.)
Simmer vegetables, chicken, tofu, and potatoes in dashi, a rich stock, for an hour or so, until the flavor takes on a nice intensity and a velvety consistency—that's how you make oden, a satisfying meal perfect for a crowd. Bring the pot to the table, and let everyone dip in and serve themselves.
To build your oden, use any vegetables, proteins, and specialty ingredients you desire. Start with these:
- Kabocha squash
- Mizuna or other greens
- Baby potatoes
- Satsuma-age (deep-fried fish cakes)
- Chikuwa (cylindrical fish cakes)
- Chicken thighs
- Atsu-age (deep-fried tofu)
Grilled Fish Misoyaki
Miso, that umami-packed condiment made from fermented soybeans, deepens the flavor of virtually any dish. And because it's full of probiotics, miso is considered a superfood in Japan. It's whisked together with sake and mirin (a type of rice wine) here as a marinade for fish, but go ahead and drizzle it on chicken, tofu, and vegetables too. (Try these other ideas for how to cook with miso too.)
Baked Torikatsu with Sesame Cabbage Slaw
Tonkatsu (pork cutlets) and torikatsu (chicken cutlets) are beloved in Japan and Hawaii and served in both fast- food joints and high-end restaurants. This version is baked instead of fried, which keeps the meat crisp on the outside and tender inside without the extra oil.