Maybe you’ve never cooked before, or maybe you love to cook but you aren’t sure how to make what you love with Japanese ingredients in a Japanese kitchen. It can seem both limiting and intimidating, but it is possible to learn to cook or continue cooking while in Japan, which is great for both your health and your wallet. That is why I will be sharing tips, recipes, and kitchen adventures with you in this column, helping you to become comfortable in your own small cooking space. So grab an apron and let’s get started.
Now, I love to cook, but I found myself at a loss when I encountered my Japanese kitchen. The barely there counter space and lack of an oven were at the top of my list of concerns, but I quickly found that I could do a lot with a small table and a convection oven. So try to remember that size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it that counts, right?
First off, if you don’t already have some basic cooking equipment, check out your local stores or bum some off your fellow JETs. The equipment you need will depend largely on what kind of cooking you want to do, but here is what I recommend to get you started:
- large frying pan with lid
- large pot with lid
- large kitchen spoon
- cooking chopsticks
- kitchen knife
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowl(s)
Once you have these items, you are equipped to do some basic frying, boiling, sauteing, and more. You may find yourself wanting more tools once you get going, such as a garlic press or whisk, but those are easy enough to get on an as-needed basis. I won’t be covering all the basic cooking techniques, so when in doubt, please consult your friend, Google. Now get in the kitchen!