3 Course Meals Recipes: Part 4 – Japanese

Japanese food

Japanese cuisine is one of our all time favorites. There’s a tremendous amount of variety and a real focus on the beauty of the presentation. Colors, textures and the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients are the fundamental essence of Japanese cuisine.

The ultimate Japanese dining experience is a kaisake dinner, in which many courses are served in small portions. Essentially, it’s a tasting menu.

All of the following dishes can be used as components of a kaisake dinner or you can choose to serve them as a complete meal, on their own.

This week we will provide recipes for the entire tasting menu in a traditional style. It’s a bit of work but it makes a great dinner party that your guests won’t soon forget.

Sake is the beverage of choice for a Japanese meal. Some varieties are served warm, while others are served cold. We like to provide one of each.

Some of your guests might prefer a beer like Sapporo.

As your guests arrive, you may want to set the mood by offering them a beverage accompanied by a dish of pickled vegetables, which you can find in the Asian market. You can make them at home but it’s a real project and must be done at least 10 days ahead of time.

Miso Soup

Miso soup is a wonderful first course for a more standard Japanese meal. Children and adults alike, love this simple soup.

miso soup


  • 1/2 c dried wakame ( seaweed)
  • 1/4 c white miso paste
  • 6 c dashi
  • 1/2 lb soft tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced scallion greens


  1. Place wakame in warm water for 15 min to rehydrate then drain
  2. Whisk miso and 1/2 c dashi in a bowl until smooth
  3. Heat remaining dashi in a sauce pan
  4. Gently stir in tofu and wakame
  5. Simmer 1 min
  6. Remove from heat and immediately stir in miso mixture and scallion tops.



Who doesn’t love tempura?  There are some fabulous bottled tempura sauces available too. That will save you some time and effort.



  • 5 oz unbleached cake flour
  • 5 oz white rice flour
  • 1 1/2 qt veg oil
  • 1 lg egg beaten
  • 1 1/2 c cold seltzer
  • 1/2 c vodka
  • 6 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
  • 1/4 lb broccoli florets
  • 1/4 lb carrot slices
  • 1/4 lb green beans
  • 1/2 lb peeled and cleaned prawns or additional vegetables
  • Ice


  1. Whisk together cake flour and rice flour
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot, until it reads 375 on a deep fry thermometer
  3. Whisk together egg,seltzer and vodka
  4. Combine the flour mixture with the liquid mixture in a glass bowl and briefly whisk to combine 10 – 15 seconds
  5. Set the bowl in an ice bath
  6. Dip the sweet potato pieces into the batter allowing the excess to drop off
  7. Fry the pieces for about 2 min until they are puffy and light gold
  8. Place them on a cooling rack lined with paper towels
  9. Repeat the process with the remaining vegetables
  10. Repeat with prawns and serve immediately

Japanese Curry

Japanese curry is a little bit thicker than other styles. You may want to serve it over a simple short grain rice. Alternatively, you could present each guest with a bowl of ramen drenched in this meat packed curry. Delicious!

Japanese curry loaded with tender hunks of chicken, carrots and potatoes in a rich savory curry sauce.


  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 lb stewing beef
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 Apple, cored, peeled and minced
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 lg carrots, chopped
  • 1 lg potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 c red wine
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 c water


  1. In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp of peanut oil and brown the beef. Cook it for about 5 min, until cooked through
  2. Remove the beef and set it aside
  3. Heat the second Tbsp of oil and caramelize the onions on a low flame. About 15 min
  4. Add garlic, ginger and apple
  5. Heat for 5 min, stirring constantly
  6. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 min
  7. Add carrots,potatoes, garam masala and curry powder and stir to combine
  8. Add tomato paste and stir
  9. Slowly add wine, stirring constantly
  10. Bring to a boil
  11. Add sugar ,soy sauce and water and bring back to a boil
  12. Add the beef and reduce heat to a low simmer
  13. Cover and cook for 30 min
  14. Remove cover and continue to cook for 45 min until it has reduced by at least 1/3. Cook it longer if you like it thicker
  15. Serve over rice or ramen

Seaweed Salad

This is the salad course. A small serving is best. The flavors are spectacular but will become overwhelming in large portions.

seaweed salad


  • 3/4 oz dried wakame
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c shredded carrot
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds


  1. Soak the seaweed for 5 min
  2. Drain and squeeze out excess water
  3. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic
  4. Add seaweed, scallions, carrots and cilantro
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve


Green tea is used as a substitute for coffee. It’s highly caffeinated, so if you prefer decaf, make sure to check the packaging.

Mochi is an ice cream treat that’s readily available in many markets but is certainly sold in Asian markets. The ice cream is nestled in a chewy dough made from glutinous rice. Strawberry and green tea are always a hit. Red bean flavor is quite popular too. The flavors refer to the ice cream, the dough is usually a plain sweetened coating. It’s sort of like a Japanese ice cream sandwich.

mochi ice cream

Enjoy your Japanese meal

Next Time

Part 1 of a Full Kaisake Dinner

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