Japanese food is a renowned delicacy enjoyed by foodies from around the world. If you are serving Japanese food for dinner, you might wonder, what to serve as a side dish. Japanese food is known for its original flavors and unique textures and colors. These 17 side dishes compliment the rich taste of Japanese food. Not sure which side dish to serve, no sweat. You can pair them up for a delicious Japanese meal that is sure to please anyone.
17 Japanese Side Dishes
1. Japanese meatballs
When I want to serve a side dish with my Japanese food that has a lot of meat and flavor, I like to go with Japanese meatballs. Meatballs made with pork are delicious and packed with flavor. However, when I want to watch calories, I use turkey meat instead.
2. Spicy Szechuan Chicken and Egg Plant
If you love eggplant and cannot get enough of its striking color and taste, then go ahead and try serving your plant with chicken and spices. Go with a Chinese eggplant because it has less seeds and the skin are thinner. This makes the plant more versatile when used in cooking.
3. Japanese Spinach Salad (Spinach Ohitashi)
I am a huge fan of spinach because it is easy to cook and healthy. This spinach side has all the benefits of spinach with the umami taste Japanese veggies are known for. Spinach Ohitashi can be made with different variants. You can substitute bonito flake for sememe seeds if you are looking to stay vegan.
4. Shiraae with Spring Vegetables
Shiraae is a classic dish from the style of cooking known as Shojin Ryori. Zen Buddhist were the first to introduce this cooking technique which is now used all around the world. Since there is no meat to flavor the dish, it is a good idea to re-toast the sesame seeds before use. Be sure to toast them lightly.
5. Broccoli with Asian-Style Garlic sauce
This quick and easy side dish fuses the healthy broccoli with a delicious sauce that is sure to compliment and Japanese main course. To reduce fat, eliminate sesame oil in this recipe and use water or chicken broth instead. Some of the flavor will be compromised but adding more sesame seeds before serving will help to enrich taste.
6. Japanese-Style Marinated Salmon, Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad
A tasty salad is a nice go to for any Japanese meal. This Salmon, cucumber and radish salad is a nice blend of flavors and textures. No one wants to pick fish bones out of their teeth after a savory meal, so use fish-bone tweezers to remove the pin bones from the salmon.
7. Ramen Eggs
Despite these eggs being super tasty they are surprisingly easy to make. Ramen eggs can be served as a snack, but they make a great side dish as well. The marinade for the eggs is easy to make. After cooking, just let your eggs sit in a mixture of sake, rice wine, soy sauce and sugar over night.
8. Japanese Baked Chicken Wings
Japanese chicken wings are a great go to when you want to add some spice and flavor to your meal. The tangy sauce is the perfect complement to your meal. The sauce is easy to make. Just mix some sugar, soy sauce, water, vinegar, salt, and garlic powder together and pour over your chicken wings before baking.
9. Japanese Fried Rice
Japanese fried rice is a spicy addition to your meal. The seasoned rice goes well with just about anything you serve. The key to great Japanese rice is to add in some Gomasio. The sugar, sea salt, seaweed and sesame seed, seasoning is a must have.
10. Green Bean Shiraae
Green beans are a healthy way to add in some green vegetables to your plate. This green bean dish keeps it traditional by cooking the beans Shiraae style, (adding in tofu, sesame seeds and miso). When making green bean Shiraae, use white miso for the creamy tofu dressing to give you a sweet flavor and eye-catching color.
11. Takenoko Gohan (Bamboo Rice)
This simple rice dish is a staple for Japanese cooking. The bamboo stalks add nutrition and flavor to the rice. If you want to make this a true vegetarian dish, then use Konbu dashi instead of regular dashi. For more flavors add extra soy sauce or salt.
12. Crab Cucumber Kani Salad
Salads are always great to serve, but this crab cucumber kani salad takes salad to a whole new level. The spicy mayonnaise used adds a lot of flavor. The best thing about this salad is that it can be made up to a day in advance. Prepare the dressing separately and keep covered in the fridge. Add in the precut crab meat and cucumbers and serve.
13. Hakurie Turnips (Roasted Japanese Turnips)
When you think of a mouthwatering side dish, turnips might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but this sweet Japanese variety will make you think differently about turnips. Japanese turnips are sweeter and milder in taste compared to other varieties of turnips. That helps to compliment the savory sauce.
14. Harumaki (Egg Roll)
This crispy, deep fried, treat is a great appetizer or side dish to serve. Filled with your favorite meat and vegetables, Harumaki is a must have item on the menu. It is recommended to toss is some bamboo shoots and Shiitake mushroom to your Harumaki because they enhance flavor.
15. Crispy Baked Teriyaki Tofu
Tofu does not have to be bland and boring when spice it up with some teriyaki sauce. Bake the tofu for a crispy coating and add some crunch to your meal. The key to crisp tofu is the whip up the sauce while the tofu bakes and then pour it on top of the tofu after is has come out of the oven. Serve immediately.
16. Japanese Potato Salad
Japanese potato salad is a delicious variant of potato salad that has been enjoyed by food lovers for over a hundred years. This potato salad is not that hard to make. All you need is some potatoes, kewpie (Japanese mayo), cucumber, yellow onion, carrots, sea salt, rice vinegar, sugar, and Karachi.
17. Okonomiyaki (Japanese Cabbage Pancakes)
Cabbage may not sound like an obvious choice when making pancakes, but with Japanese pancakes cabbage is the main ingredient. To switch up the taste and add some nutritional value, different vegetables can be added to your pancakes such as carrots and butternut squash.
Japanese food has a taste like no other and these easy to make side dishes are unique and yet simple enough to make. If you enjoy Japanese food and would like to add in a tip about our side dishes, leave a comment or suggestion below.