Updated: Nov 30, 2020
What does dinner time in Japan usually look like? Sushi is usually the first thing that comes to mind in the American consciousness as Japanese food, but it is hardly something that actual Japanese people eat on the regular. Kind of like fondue or tapas, sushi is something that Japanese set aside for special occasions. For day to day eating, dinner is a far less fancy affair. Food is usually served in small dishes with a separate bowl for each side. Miso soup and rice are constants, with the other dishes consisting of a type of protein, usually fish, and a side or two involving a vegetable.
Pictured is a typical Japanese dinner for two made using ingredients available for purchase in Maido’s grocery store section. It features ika kamameshi rice, miso soup, salted grilled mackerel, and two side dishes-- one with seasoned steamed chicken and eggplant and the other a type of fish cake called mocchiri satsuma. In addition to being delicious the entire meal is relatively simple to prepare. Check the following prep notes for a dish-by-dish breakdown and get started on bringing Japanese home-cooking to your very own kitchen!
Miso Soup with Asari Clams
Mix 2 tablespoons of Ryotei no Aji Miso with Dashi into 2 cups of water. Add a handful of defrosted Shelled Whole Asari Clams and simmer on low heat while preparing the other dishes. Be careful not to bring the miso soup to a boil, instead keeping it just below boiling temperature. Allowing miso soup to fully boil changes the taste of the miso paste and destroys the subtle fragrance of the dashi.
Salted Grilled Saba Mackerel
Defrost the mackerel in the refrigerator overnight, then allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Cover the fillets generously with sea salt, then pan fry, covered skin-side down on medium heat until the fish is fully cooked and comes apart easily with a fork. You can either de-bone the fish prior to cooking, or use chopsticks to pull the bones out while eating.
Ika Kamameshi Rice