THE BLOG
01/07/2015 12:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Simple Border-Blurring Japanese Recipes

Caroline Phelps

I love Japanese food. And while there's nothing better than bellying up to a low table in a tatami room for a traditional Omakase tasting menu created by a master, sometimes a plate of Napolitan (spaghetti in a buttery tomato sauce with sausages) calls my name. Yōshoku translates into Western Food. Nobody puts a better spin on Western dishes than the Japanese. Check out these five delicious, easy-to-make-at-home recipes that cause borders to melt - and just may have you wondering if you're in Tokyo or Milan.

1. Spaghetti Vongole

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Sure, cockles and shiitake mushrooms are complimentary flavor agents. 'Briny' and 'earthy' are BFFs to your tongue. Add some sake and soy to this umami loaded pasta and you'll feel like your bullet-train took a food break in Shinjuku Station en route to Roma Termini.
Total Cooking Time: 20 Minutes
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2. Eggplant and Kabocha Miso Gratin

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Gratins are huge in French cooking. Growing up in Quebec with a Japanese mother was an eye opener that cheese pairs nicely with... almost anything! But miso and fromage may be the very best of the best.
Total Cooking Time: 45 Minutes
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3. Japanese Omelette (Dashi Tamagoyaki)

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Tamagoyaki means 'grilled eggs'. Use way less butter and oil - and way more dashi, soy and bonito flakes. The savory outcome is still recognizable as an omelet you might find served at brunch, albeit more punchy and bright.
Total Cooking Time: 8 Minutes
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4. Japanese Salisbury Steak (Hamburg)

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Remember Salisbury steak day at school? That was the day you wished you brown-bagged it, right? Well, this dish is nothing like that. My childhood summers were spent in Japan, lunching with the ladies (off the kids menu), nodding at the few Japanese words I understood. Even now, this dish reminds me of being four years old and grabbing a bite with my grandmother.
Total cooking Time: 25 Minutes
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5. Spicy Pork Ramen Noodles (Ja Ja Men)

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OK... I'm cheating a little here. The influence in this dish isn't from the West. Like all ramen dishes, the roots hail from China. But with spicy ground pork over noodles - served without soup - it isn't too great a stretch to imagine you're eating a Japanese pasta Bolognese.
Total Cooking Time: 17 Minutes
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