Certain foods and seasonings are always better when paired together, and the truth is that in several cases there are legitimate health benefits to these standard combinations.
Have a look at few Japanese culinary combinations that will satisfy your taste buds as well as provide the amazing health benefits you need.
Sushi and wasabi
However, you should know that by skipping the wasabi you are actually missing out on a number of benefits, like the fact that wasabi helps softening the smell of the fish, as well as drawing out more of its flavor. Additionally, wasabi is effective in suppressing microbes and bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Therefore, in case you’re worried about eating your food raw, simply endure the spiciness of the wasabi as it has a great role.
Miso soup and seaweed
The combination of miso soup with seaweed is almost as ever-present as sushi and wasabi is. Now, if you were assuming that the seaweed isn’t there for anything other than decorating purposes, you’ll be surprised to find out that it isn’t the case.
In fact, as it turns out, seaweed helps compensate for one of the only health drawbacks to miso soup: its high sodium content. Nutrients in seaweed help to reduce both blood pressure and sodium levels in the body.
Rice balls and laver
There’s a type of seaweed called laver that’s used to wrap onigiri, or rice balls.
Because you eat onigiri with your hands, if you don’t want to get rice all over them, you need some kind of covering; so, a thin strip of dried laver just seems like the perfect natural, edible solution.
As an additional great benefit, the laver also provides a huge nutritional benefit. Rice balls, by their nature, are almost entirely carbohydrates. And, in order to convert those carbs into energy, the body needs vitamin B, which laver is packed with.
Saury and grated daikon radish
Saury is another frequently eaten saltwater fish in Japan, which is most of the time accompanied by grated daikon radish.
The saury is a small, slender fish, and since it’s generally grilled, you tend to end up with a lot of char on the skin. In general, the skin of fish are eaten in Japan, both for their flavor and their nutrients. But, that char isn’t healthy because of its carcinogens. So, the grated daikon, generally mixed with a bit of soy sauce, helps to eliminate the harmful carcinogens from the body.
Tofu and bonito flakes
Although tofu has a plethora of amino acids, one that it’s decidedly lacking in is methionine. Methionine is essential for maintaining hair color as you age, as well as many other things we may have never thought about.
The good news is thought, that dried bonito contains a lot of methionine, making it the ideal finishing touch for this amino acid cocktail.
Tonkatsu and cabbage
Tonkatsu (or pork cutlet) always comes with a pile of shredded cabbage. The cabbage has a key role to play in this food combination. The vegetable is rich in vitamin U, which helps prevent gastric hyperacidity. So, basically cabbage will keep you from getting a belly ache. However, consider limiting yourself with the consumption of tonkatsu, regardless of the cabbage on the side.
Beer and edamame
One of the favorite pairings in Japan is an ice-cold beer and a bowl of edamame, or soybeans.
Edamame are lightly salted and served in the shell and they are a much lower calorie beer companion than peanuts or potato chips. The great thing about edamame is that it contains methionine, like the bonito flakes mentioned above, plus vitamins B1 and C, which together help the liver in processing alcohol.
In case you want to skip the alcohol, you could always pair edamame and tea, or edamame and juice.
Which ones are your favorite pairings? Well, if you love Japanese food, we bet you love all of them, right? ☺ But, just for fun, please share with us in the comments section below.