What to Eat: Japanese Small Plates

Get your chopsticks out for these amazing Asian recipes that are perfect for your next themed dinner party.

Eggplant with Yuzu Miso Sauceby Hiroko Shimbo

An array of flavors bold and bright can be found in this creation from one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best of the Best.”

Of all the interesting citrus fruits—Buddha’s hand, pomelos, ugli fruit—gastronomes have most widely embraced the Japanese yuzu. The flavor is tart, tasting like a cross between a grapefruit and a Mandarin orange, and the fruit is highly aromatic. Here, it is mixed with the rich flavors of miso and served as a sumptuous sauce for shallow-fried eggplant, cutting through the grease to reveal the eggplant’s creaminess.

Click here for the recipe.

Hijiki with Shiitake Mushroomsby Madhur Jaffrey

A five-time James Beard Award winner shares her unique recipe for seaweed like you’ve never had it before.

Rich in dietary fiber and calcium, hijiki is a black-colored seaweed that grows wild on the Japanese coastline. It can be purchased dried in Japanese foods stores and health food stores and after a quick soak in cold water will be back in its natural state, ready for pairing with any number of accompaniments. In this recipe, hijiki is paired with shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and carrot, and dressed in flavorful vinaigrette made with dashi, the traditional Japanese broth. Umami!

Click here for the recipe.

Japanese Shrimp and Cucumber Saladby James Peterson

One of the most familiar and experienced culinary teachers teaches you the way to prepare the hit salad of the season.

This dish is the perfect excuse to use that set of 50 hand-carved chopsticks you’re been holding onto. Cold, fresh, crisp, and light, this is a terrific early summer dish. Quickly cooked shrimp and lightly pickled cucumbers are tossed in a dressing of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and scallions, perfect for early evening entertaining.

Click here for the recipe.

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Chicken Yakitoriby Nina Simonds

Try your hand at this dish from a woman who lived and learned all that she knows right from the source: Asia.

Tokyo is home to many culinary highlights, chief among them the yakitori stalls. With red lanterns hanging outside and aromatic smoke wafting down the street, these small restaurants (really grills and counters) serve all parts of a chicken on a stick, grilled over charcoal, and served with a cold beer. Even if you can’t make it to Tokyo this summer, don’t deny yourself the pleasures of yakitori.

Click here for the recipe.

Vegetable Tempuraby Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner

Two international culinary greats bring you one of the most infamous and tasty dishes on the Japanese dining scene.

Tempura—battered and deep fried vegetables—are exclusively associated with Japanese cuisine. But in fact, the dish originated in Portugal, and was brought over to Asia in the 16th century by traders and missionaries. To this day the dish peixinhos da horta (essentially tempura) is eaten in Portugal. After four hundred years, though, it’s safe to say that tempura is, at this point, a Japanese food. Either way, it’s delicious.

Click here for the recipe.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.