Japanese Cuisine and Recipes
Japanese Recipes and cooking
by Country - October 2002
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cuisine is known for its simplicity and aesthetic beauty which is
firmly rooted in its Buddhist links. It is also widely considered
to be a healthy way of eating, with many dishes being consumed raw
or lightly cooked with little added fat. But it's not just Sushi!
Times, History and Influences on Japanese Cooking
a history which is over 10,000 years old, it may seem surprising that it's only
in the last 300 to 400 years that Japanese cuisine has really taken
shape. Prior to that, there two major influences on cuisine. In 400 B.C.
rice was introduced to Japan from Korea, which quickly became a staple food and
around 300 B.C. Soy beans and wheat were introduced from China. These two
ingredients are now essential to Japanese cooking.
has also played a major part in Japan's culinary habits over the years. During
the 6th century, Buddhism became the official religion of the country and
the eating of meat and fish were prohibited. This lasted for 1200 years. Also,
because of Buddhism's emphasis on nature, the structure of meals where
also influenced, in particular the five flavors and colours: sweet, spicy,
salty, bitter and sour and yellow, black, white, green, and red.
the sixteenth century the Europeans (initially the Portuguese and the
Dutch) came to trade with Japan and introduced fried foods. Up to this point the
frying of foods was uncommon. They also introduced sugar and corn.
started to eat meat again after the Meiji Restoration occurred in 1867.
Day Japanese Cuisine
Japanese cuisine is still heavily influenced by the seasons and geography.
Seafood and vegetables are most commonly eaten. Whilst to some westerners, the
food may seem almost bland, freshness, presentation and balance of
flavours is of paramount importance, with great care being taken not to mask the
taste and simplicity of the main ingredients.
speaking, the Japanese way of cooking is very healthy. Few dairy products
are included and much of the protein consumed is from vegetable sources,
for example tofu. Various seaweeds are also commonly used which are
a rich source of mineral.
a rule, a Japanese meal consists of several dishes, all served at the same time
and almost always includes rice and soup, the latter being sipped throughout the
meal. Having said that, Sashimi ( raw fish) and Sushi (tidbits which
contain rice and other ingredients) are usually consumed at the beginning of the
meal. Desserts are not usually served with the exception with fresh fruit on occasion.
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