Izakaya: Japanese Tapas Home Recipes

Two sauces for Izakaya Japanese Tapas Home Recipes, for grilled meats, pickled vegetables, seafood and noodle dishes, for home dining. 

Izakaya Japanese Tapas Home Recipes
Izakaya Japanese Tapas Home Recipes

Japanese Dining At Home

Who am I to tell you about Japanese cuisine? Hah!

If you only knew… no, if a production company would turn the television series scripts I have written, into a television show for you to watch, you would know!

Undoubtedly there is a reason why I am sharing with you, my passion for Japanese cuisine and its culture. 

Consequently, out of my love for Japan cuisine, but not willing to pay the high prices at a Japanese restaurant, I learned to make many recipes at home.


Japanese Recipes Involve Embracing The Culture

In short, I studied Japanese for three years at the Japan American Society in Washington DC, because I was so drawn to the culture.

Furthermore, I named my first born son a Japanese name (even though his father is Korean, just to tick him off, but that is a long story).

My second son is Japanese. Therefore, I could tell that many Asian people living in America, look to Japanese food the way westerners do French food.

Certainly, I am not an expert in Japanese cooking, but for now I just want to wet your appetite to try something a little new, at home. 


Izakaya: Small Plate Japanese Tapas

Have you experienced Tapas style dining? Similarly, Izakaya is an informal ‘meet-up’ dining and drinking gathering.

What you can expect to experience, is an array of small plate, Japanese dishes that will satisfy the most inquisitive diner of Japanese food.

Unfortunately, many towns across America do not have Izakaya restaurants, so I wanted to explore the many Japanese food options that could be easily prepared in nearly everyone’s home. 

Veggies Chopped At An Angle
Veggies Chopped At An Angle

Japanese Food

While there are a multitude of Asian style recipes, my most favorite have always been for Japanese food.

What you can expect, are grilled meats on little skewers, seafood prepared in a vast variety of ways, yet never bogged down with oil, or swimming in sauces.

Unless you are only interested in sushi, which in translation simply means ‘vinegared rice’, or sashimi, which is simply raw fish, Izakaya offers so much more.


Izakaya Is Japanese Comfort Food

Sharing plates of familiar dishes found in most Japanese restaurants, yet prepared at home, such as:

  • Yakitori – grilled meat, though ‘tori’ refers to chicken, most yakitori served in restaurants are a variety of meats
  • Tamago – rolled egg omelette often with seaweed, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar
  • Gyoza – dumplings filled with meat, seafood or vegetables
  • Tsukemono – pickled or preserved vegetables
  • Noodle Dishes – a variety of noodles made from wheat, buckwheat, rice, mung bean, even seaweed 
  • Shifudo, Always Shifudo – Seafood, yet not sushi or sashimi

Izakaya Home Recipes

Is it possible to duplicate an Izakaya experience at home? Of course, there are a variety of small plates that can be beautifully displayed in Japanese style dining, at home.

If ever there was a culture that first eats with their eyes, surely it is the Japanese culture! 

While Mukimono is the Japanese art of carving vegetables into unusual and beautiful shapes, we might prefer to cut corners for our first experience at home.

Perhaps in time we might want to learn some aspects of this beautiful art form, but for now, veggies cut at a diagonal with a few edible flowers will provide plenty of ‘eye appeal’.


What To Serve These Japanese Dressings With?

Since many of the dishes are served cold, or room temperature, we will make two very easy sauce recipes for the cold dishes.

However, the sauce go beautifully as a dipping sauce for the items that will be grilled.

Undeniably they are both delicious; one being a sweet and sour sauce, while the other is a hot yet smooth coconut dressing.

Both have a kick of heat to them and both bring out the flavors in any of the dishes from noodles to a lovely prepared squid!

Preparing The Ingredients For an Izakaya Spread
Preparing The Ingredients For an Izakaya Spread

How To Make Izakaya Sauce For Several Cold Plates

Once you have selected the items you plan to serve, and they have been beautifully cut, gently steamed, or lightly grilled, set them each in small plates to be served on.

The preparation for the two sauces can be done in advance or just before the meal is served.

  • Sweet and sour dressing, made with rice vinegar and sugar whisked together, and then the umami flavors are added to it; chili flakes, bonito flakes (made of dried fish), soy sauce and spring onions.
  • Coconut dressing, a creamy, yet spicy flavorful dressing, is made from coconut milk, limes, garlic, chili peppers and fish sauce.

Either of these dressing will be perfect with anything from cold noodles, quickly blanched veggies, to grilled meats or fish on sticks.  

Meat and Seafood Japanese Style
Meat and Seafood Japanese Style

What To Serve To Drink With Izakaya

While a full bodied, Japanese beer is often served with Izakaya, a warm sake is also a lovely slow sip to have with the flavors you will be serving.

However, if you want something really spectacular to serve with a beautiful spread of Japanese dishes, you might enjoy my Cherry Blossom Cocktail, with both Sake and Prosecco, and edible flower Ice cubes!

Cherry Blossom Cocktail
Cherry Blossom Cocktail

Ingredients Needed

  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Chili flakes
  • Toasted sesame seed oil
  • Spring onions
  • Soy sauce
  • Bonito flakes
  • Coconut milk
  • Lime juice
  • Coconut oil
  • Garlic
  • Chili peppers
  • Fish sauce
How To Prepare Izakaya At Home

Equipment Needed

  • Sauce pan
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Citrus press
  • Garlic press
  • Cooking spoon
  • Stovetop or burner
Izakaya Japanese Tapas Home Recipes

IZAKAYA: Japanese Tapas Home Recipes

Two Sauces for Japanese Izakaya, small-plate dishes for grilled meats, pickled vegetables, seafood and noodle dishes, for home dining. 
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Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 300kcal


  • Rice Vinegar – 1/2 cup, rice, coconut or one of your choice
  • Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Chili flakes – a pinch or to taste
  • Toasted sesame seed oil – 1/4 cup
  • Soy sauce – 1/4 cup
  • Spring onions – 1/3 cup, finely chopped
  • Bonito flakes – 1/2 teaspoon (dried fish flakes)
  • Coconut milk – 1/2 cup
  • Lime juice – 3 tablespoons
  • Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic – 2 cloves, crushed
  • Chili peppers – a pinch, or to taste
  • Fish sauce – 2 teaspoons


  • Place the vinegar and sugar into a saucepan, bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and cool.
  • Whisk in the chili flakes, spring onions, sesame oil and soy sauce.
  • Toss with vegetables, cold seafood, or cold noodles and serve.
  • In a saucepan, warm the coconut milk and coconut oil until they dissolve.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients.
  • Toss with freshly sautéed squid, steamed noodles or beautifully cut vegetables.


Calories: 300kcal
Izakaya - Japanese Tapas Home Recipes
Izakaya – Japanese Tapas Home Recipes
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