Japanese Cooking

for Americans


BGM: Concerto for two oboes Op.9 No.3, Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1750)


What is Teriyaki?

Salad Dressing

Sesame Sauce

Prepare Materials

Okonomi Yaki



Coming Soon!




Teriyaki, its literal translation is grilled with glaze.

Teriyaki sauce can be used like a BBQ sauce or marinate sauce. This is the original Japanese recipe seen in Japanese cooking books.


Quantity is by volume proportional

 To cook this

Soy Sauce




Ginger juice*

Fish and Vegetables






Fish (Red meat)





1/2 or slice

Chicken Liver **












*Grate ginger and squeeze its juice.

** Clean well to remove blood. Boil liver in boiling water one minute and drain. Then boil liver in this sauce with a few slices of ginger.

To add ginger is a Japanese traditional way to remove fishy or bloody smell. You need to adjust amount of the sugar to your taste.

You may add a small amount of grated garlic and sesame oil or red hot pepper to add a little bit of Chinese or Korean flavor.

Mirin is a very important ingredient to make Teriyaki. But, if you have no way to find it, sugar can be used as a substitute material.


My favorite steak sauce is:

Soy sauce 5, Sake 4, Vegetable oil 1, in proportion. Small amount of Ginger juice from grated and grated Garlic. If you have Mirin, add it a little. Mirin is not required if it is not available. I usually do not use Mirin. Marinate beef or chicken no longer than 20 minutes, then grill it on charcoal. Keep this sauce after meat is marinated. Make fried rice with chopped green onion using this left over sauce for flavoring.


House Ginger Salad Dressing 

You might have experienced a Japanese style salad dressing at Teppan-yaki restaurants. You desired to recreate that dressing but you had no idea. OK, Here is the secret.

Mix following ingredients and keep it in a refrigerator. That's all you need to do. Instead of using grated material, you may put all of them in a food processor or mixer to save time.



Vegetable Oil *

12 table spoons

(180 ml)

White (rice) Vinegar

6 table spoons

(90 ml)

Miso (brown soy bean paste)

5 table spoons

(75 ml)

Grated raw onion (with juice)

4 table spoons

(60 ml)

Grated raw carrot (option)

2 table spoons

(30 ml)


1 tea spoon

(5 ml)

Juice from grated ginger

2 table spoons

(30 ml)

* Light oil such as corn, cotton, sunflower, etc.

You may adjust the amount of miso, vinegar, or ginger juice to fit to your taste. Dash with lemon or lime juice will make a difference in the flavor. My friend poured this on hot steamed rice. This dressing can be used for roast beef. So, why don't you try to make roast beef salad.


Sesame Sauce from Teppan-yaki Restaurant 

You will be served a brown sauce and a white sauce at the Japanese stake (Teppan Yaki) restaurant. Brown sauce is a mixture of soy sauce and citrus vinegar. White sauce is sesame based thick sauce. I have received a mail from a lady asking for the recipe. It is easy to buy at Japanese grocery store. This sauce is soled as "Sesame sauce for Shabu-Shabu". If you feel it is too thick, you may add soup stock. This is very good for stake, roast beef, and chicken. Also try with lightly boiled spinach or other vegetables. Here is the recipe.

Mix followings well and boil for a few minutes.

Brayed sesame seed (white, pealed) 3 to 4 table spoons: See instructions below *
Miso (light brown soy bean paste) 2 table spoons
Soup stock made of Bonito Flakes 1 cup (Chicken soup/bouillon will be OK)
Sake, Mirin and soy sauce 1 table spoon each
White vinegar 1.5 tea spoons
Sugar 1.5 table spoons

*: Find roasted sesame seed. Bray 3 to 4 table spoons of sesame seed until it becomes like peanuts butter.

Add dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder. Add one tea spoon of sesame oil. You may add one tea spoon of ginger juice for more rich flavor. If you do not have mirin, or sake, don't worry about that. You still can make a good flavor. Adjust these ingredients and enjoy your own sesame sauce. 

Materials for Japanese Cooking


We used to go to oriental grocery stores (See Yellow page: Food - Oriental Goods) to buy these materials. Today, we can buy most of basic materials at popular grocery stores in town. Sake is always found at wine area. Soy sauce is served even at the college cafeteria.

About Sake

Sake is a rice wine. (Not a sweet Plum Wine) It tastes like dry white wine if chilled well. When you eat oyster, either raw or cooked, try Sake instead of white wine.

White wine is a great drink for seafood. However, if you drink it with raw fish or especially with shell fish, it develops uncomfortable fishy taste in your mouth. Sake doesn't. Sake is also good with Escargot.

About Mirin

Mirin is one kind of rice wine but very sweet and used exclusively for cooking. Mirin adds sweetness however, the most important roll of Mirin in the teriyaki sauce is to add "Teri" (surface gloss, glaze, or luster).

About Miso

This brown paste is made from soy beans or wheat. Fermentation with salt creates a lot of natural glutamic acid taste and good flavor. Miso soup is a basic soup served in Japanese dinner. Dark red miso has a strong flavor and salty. White miso is somewhat sweet. Brown or light brown miso is used for most of the cooking. It is difficult to find miso other than oriental food store. Hannaford grocery store sometimes carries miso and some oriental materials.

About Rice Vinegar

Vinegar made from rice wine is recommended to use for Japanese cooking. Especially when you make Susi rice, never use wine vinegar. Some oriental grocery stores carry "Susinoko" which is powder vinegar to make Sushi rice. If rice vinegar is not available, I use "White House distilled White Vinegar" that is not expensive. The word "susi" came from old Japanese word that means "it is sour".

About Ton-Katu Sauce

Ton-Katu sauce tastes similar to Worcestershire sauce. This is thick sauce and contains a lot of vegetable extracts. This sauce is used for Ton-Katu (Japanese deep-fried pork) or Okonomiyaki. The exact sauce is available at Japanese grocery stores. However, if you mix Worcestershire sauce and Ketchup, it tastes the same.

Nearby Oriental Grocery Stores in NC

Wilmington, NC: Tokyo Deli - Ph. (910) 254-1230 Address: 2394 Carolina Beach Rd.

Wilmington, NC: Saigon Market - Ph. (910) 793-9911 Address: 4519 Franklin Ave.

Cary, NC: Toyo Shokuhin & Gifts - Ph. (919) 319-1620 Address: 748-L East Chatham St.

Okonomi-Yaki is a kind of Japanese style Pizza, loved by people for many years. Okonomi means "your favorite choice", Yaki is "baked". There are many variations in each part of Japan, They adds noodle in Hiroshima. Inch thick Okonomi-Yaki is a favorite snack in Osaka. Monja-Yaki became very popular recently although it was available for many decades in old part of downtown Tokyo.

All the technique you need is the same as fixing pancakes. This is an example to use thin sliced pork, but you can use any sliced meat, seafood such as shrimp, sliced scallops, oyster, or even yesterday's leftover burger, hotdog, or vegetables in your refrigerator. Here is the recipe for one serving.

Just started cooking. . . . . .

1. Mix followings in a bowl

One egg, 5 table spoons of all purpose flour, 1/3 cup of water, shredded cabbage (one or two leaves). Add chopped red pickled ginger and/or green onion as an option.

2. Bake it slowly in a pan or on the plate.

Place thin sliced pork on top. Turn over several times. See the left side picture.

3. Pour Ton-Katu sauce and serve. (See the picture shown above)

Dried green seaweed powder and dried and shaved bonito (katuo-bushi) are sprinkled at many cases in Japan.

Yu-Rin-Ji (Chinese Fried Chicken Dipping Sauce)  

 This sauce is used for Chinese fried chicken and it is very popular in Japan. It is good for chicken (fried or steamed), roast beef, fish, or just pour on the steamed rice.

My pronunciation of Chinese (yu-rin-ji) may not be correct. Please correct me if this is wrong.

1. Soy sauce ------------------------ 8 Table spoons

2. White Vinegar -------------------- 5 Table spoons

3. Sugar ----------------------------- 2 Table spoons

4. Fine chopped Green Onion ------- 1/2 Tea Spoon

5. Fine chopped Ginger ------------- 1/3 Tea Spoon

6. Fine chopped Garlic -------------- 1/3 Tea Spoon

7. Sesame Oil ------------------------ 2 Tea Spoons

 Mix 1 through 6. Wait at least 30 minutes. Mix 7. Use as a dipping sauce. Keep this in the refrigerator. Actually, if you keep this in the refrigerator several days, it tastes much better. This can be used as a Chinese style Teriyaki sauce.

 Japanese Grits?


In Japan, rice is used to make Kayu that is very similar to grits. Rice and plenty of water are used. Add dash of salt and boil until rice becomes soft enough. If you use tea for flavoring, it is called Cha-Gayu. "Cha" is tea in Japanese. "Gayu" is a euphonic change of the word "Kayu."

If you have any question about Japanese cooking, please feel free to write to; yamawilm@wilmington.net

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