10 Best Japanese Cookbooks for Home Cooks

I admit Japanese cuisine is famous all over the world. It includes the regional and traditional foods of Japan with variety of delicious dishes making it one of the world’s greatest cuisines. If you are looking for some of the best recommended Japanese cookbooks to read and collect, you have come to right place. Some of these cookbooks are on my bookshelf while I read some from the local library located in my home town.

Ramen noodles! Photo Credit: Fabian Reus at Flickr.

Cooking Japanese dishes either traditional or regional is really fun and interesting, and it would be great if you try them out of a good cookbook. There are lots of authentic Japanese recipes can be found online, my advice is “don’t rely on them.” The resources you find there is limited than what you find in a comprehensive cookbook. For example, you want to learn how to make sushi, yes it is possible to find many articles written on this topic on the web, but the quality of resources it provides you sound poor and not satisfactory such as limited photographs, incomplete descriptions on sushi making kit, ingredients and etc. To make everything simple and helpful I would like you to pick one of the top Japanese cookbooks of your choice that I have featured in this post.

1) Sushi: Taste and Techniques

A classic sushi cookbook. Photo Credit: Amazon.com.

Many foreigners think that sushi is eaten on daily basis by Japanese. Whether you believe it or not, it is completely wrong! In Japan, locals there have it mostly on various special occasions either at home or at a sushi restaurant, though it depends on the family and the individual preferences. Sushi comes in many varieties and surprisingly this book teaches you the techniques of making most of them.

Sushi to foreigners is something that inspires them learning the other traditional dishes. It works as a perfect gateway. The book “Sushi: Taste and Techniques” guides readers to master and appreciate the art of sushi. It teaches you how to make sushi with step-by-step instructions, how to find freshest ingredients, how to use the right equipments, how to make vegetarian sushi, and how to master the etiquette of eating sushi correctly. This is a perfect sushi making book for beginners, easy to read and beautifully illustrated.

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

Japanese Soul Cooking” is an authentic Japanese cookbook and a great help to embark on a journey to learn about authentic Japanese cuisine. If you have ever traveled to Japan before, there you probably have had the mouthwatering comfort foods such as tempura, gyoza, ramen, soba, udon, sushi, furai, Japanese curry, tonkatsu, wafu pasta, yoshoku, and donburi.

Surprisingly recipes of all these dishes can be found in this comprehensive cookbook. The book contains a wonderful collection of recipes with each page is very attractively designed. Try making all the recipes at home and be like a real Japanese chef! It is truly a classic one you can collect and store on your pretty looking bookshelf.

3) Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook

Izakaya is a much better place to go than a western style pub. In the book “Izakaya” you don’t just drink but eat too. This is the main characteristic among the rest. I have visited many Izakaya throughout Japan. What impresses me the most about when I visit a Izakaya in Japan is the list of foods it serves. They are really good and healthy to have.

As you start reading the book you would be familiar with many things on Izakaya such as the recipes, sake, eight Tokyo pubs ranging from those that only serve the traditional Japanese comfort foods such as yakitori, and sashimi, to those offering highly innovative creations. After reading this book I thought it is not just a traditional cookbook but a travel guide that could help Tokyo visitors finding out the best Pubs in the neighborhoods located across the city.

4) Takashi’s Noodles

A wonderfully illustrated book with lots of noodles recipes to try.

Who does not like eating noodles? More or less everyone loves it! If you are to make Japanese style noodles such as ramen or udon in a very simple way, I do believe you need help from this classic Japanese cookbook written by the James Beard Award-winning chef Takashi Yagihashi. He introduces a collection of 75 recipes including cold Japanese noodles dishes. Every recipe is crafted brilliantly with eye-catching photographs and descriptions.

Making either ramen or udon recipes of different kinds at home is just a matter of time now. Collect this as soon as possible and then learn all these easy recipes to surprise your family and friends. I was absolutely delighted to come across this cookbook. I treat this one like an invaluable treasure and already have bought two copies! I feel like “Takashi’s Noodles” is essentially the Japanese noodles encyclopedia.

5) The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go

This is a highly recommended Bento cookbook.

If you desire to make great bentos, with traditional Japanese healthy foods and a focus on vegetables, this is the book you need to read right away! This is probably the best classic Bento cookbook out there on the market now. You can compare its quality with other bento related cookbooks. Hopefully it wins! Eating food from bento is great and seriously it can help you lose weight.

Preparing bento lunch box is a form of art, so you have got to learn some practical bento making techniques including the recipes, equipments and etc. “The Just Bento Cookbook” is a very informative book on bento that comprises 25 popular bento menus with more than 150 simple, delicious, and authentic bento recipes. That sounds awesome! I hope you buy this wonderfully illustrated book and enjoy making all the recipes.

6) Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals

Learn the techniques and make some delicious hot pot dishes!

Japanese hot pot dishes are very delicious to eat. Have you ever tired making some hot pot dishes at home? In Japanese Hot Pots, authors Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat show you the right path to walk through to learn some popular hot pot meals. To try making all the simple hot pot recipes from the book you need ingredients such as poultry, mushroom, noodles, vegetables, seafood, roots, and greens and I am sure you can easily be found at your local market.

In addition, you need a portable butane stove and a DONABE (clay pot). The book helps you preparing delicious hot pot meals at home including show you how the ingredients need to be arranged in the donabe. You find a lot of beautiful photographs and easy to follow instructions for every recipe.

7) Everyday Harumi: Simple Japanese food for family and friends

Most of the recipes in this book are simple and quick!

Harumi is a real hero and his contribution in Japanese cuisine is enormous. “Everyday Harumi” – her recent published book, has been crafted especially for Western home cooks. In this book, she offers 70 home style recipes big on flavor and short on effort. Even if you are a busy person who has a very little time to cook can try the easy & quick recipes shared in this great cookbook.

As she is one of the best cookery writers in Japan, she knows the techniques how to inspire the readers who just started learning Japanese cuisine. Every recipe (vegetarian & non-vegetarian) is illustrated nicely with beautiful photographs and includes step by step instructions that show key Japanese cooking techniques such as chopping skills, how to serve rice, and so on.

8) Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

In Japanese cuisine, you have to have special attention to flavors, textures, ingredients, and preparation. You will not be a good cook if you don’t know how to deal with these basic important things. In “Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art” you are offered to learn the basic Japanese cooking techniques.

If you are interested in Japanese food or culture this is a must read book for you as it reveals a complete guide to authentic Japanese cooking. Without doubt, it would develop your Japanese cooking skills and take you to the advanced level. This is just a fantastic book to read and learn the fundamentals of Japanese foods. Highly recommended!

9) Tokyo Cult Recipes

It covers most of the traditional Japanese foods.

This is one of my favorite cookbooks that I have recently purchased. “Tokyo Cult Recipes” is a wonderful cookbook that offers clear and concise information on the basic cooking techniques and provides guidance on key ingredients that home cooks can use to make authentic Japanese food anytime they want.

It shares dozens of delicious, easy-to-make recipes for sushi, miso, soba noodles, hot pot, gyoza, bentos, rice, desserts, cakes, Japanese tapas, sweets, accompanied by useful step-by-step instructions and photographs. The author, Maori Murota has provided the best useful cooking resources she thought would be handy to beginners. Thanks for being so kind, Murota!

10) Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions

The book leads you to learn famous Japanese vegan recipes.

Here comes the last one. It is a book about insights into veganism in Japan! “Kansha” offers unique yet very simple and easy to make delicious Japanese vegan recipes. It is believed that the spirit of kansha is deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy and practice, encourages all cooks to prepare nutritionally sound and aesthetically satisfying meals that avoid waste, conserve energy, and preserve our natural recourse.

From this fabulous book, you can learn the basic cutting techniques, cooking methods, and equipments that would help you increase flavor, eliminate waste, and ways to speed up meal preparation and the proper ingredients you need for preparing the dishes. You cannot put it down once you start reading the book as it is beautifully photographed and well written with lots of useful information.

I have picked out the best ones based on readers’ experiences and significance in Japanese cuisine. I hope you get benefited from reading these cookbooks. Thank you.

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