Hosting two Thanksgivings in Japan taught me to love the holiday and its food again. My friends are amazing cooks, and the sheer sense of community, of getting together to remake a tradition in our own way really made the holiday feel special.
Last year, I did a recipe-roundup of our meal. This year, I’d like to offer more recipes and suggestions for making Thanksgiving special in Japan or wherever you are.
Recipes marked with an asterisk indicate that the recipe contains ingredients that may be unavailable in a standard Japanese grocery store but are available at import stores and gourmet stores. (And there’s notes, as always, either on the recipe page or by the title if it’s off-site.)
- Kabocha Puree (substitute for pumpkin puree)
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Substitutions Master List
- Takenoko Miso Potage (Just Hungry) [vegetarian/vegan] – use an autumn vegetable instead of bamboo shoots.
- Carrot, Ginger and Orange Soup with Star Anise (Cook Eat Live Vegetarian) [vegetarian] Star anise is usually stocked with the Chinese and Korean spices; it’s called stâ anisu (スターアニス), hakkaku kûikyô (八角茴香), or dai kûikyô (大茴香); I skipped the cilantro; and I used yogurt for the topping.
Vegetable Side Dishes
- Nasu Dengaku – Eggplant Broiled in Miso (Closet Cooking) – works great in a fish grill in the gas range or in the oven range! [vegan]
- Aka-Kabocha with Sesame Sauce [vegan]
- Kabocha-Apple Whole-Wheat Turnovers [vegetarian]
- Kabocha Soba Oyaki [vegan]
- Sesame-Roasted Kabocha [vegan, gluten free]
- Roasted Vegetables [vegan, gluten free]
- Spicy Miso-Glazed Potatoes (PBS Fresh Tastes) [vegetarian] – Doubanjiang is tôbanjan (豆板醤) in Japanese.
Seasonal Vegetarian Main Dishes
- Kabocha Curry
- Eggplant Curry
- *Pumpkin Baked Rigatoni (Kitchen Treaty)- [vegetarian] use pumpkin puree (above), any kind of non-spaghetti noodle (bowties, penne, etc.), and some good Parmesan.
- Kabocha Pie (Hokuriku Expat Kitchen)
- Baked Kuri Squash [Kabocha] and Apple Maple Pudding (Just Hungry) [vegan]
- Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding (New York Times) – use kinugoshi (絹ごし) tofu. Firm tofu (momendofu, 木綿豆腐) will yield ice-cream-like texture. Would be great in a pudding-pie. If you can’t find bakers’ chocolate, try the equivalent weight of dark chocolate chocolate bars. [vegan if using vegan chocolate/vegetarian]
- Spiced Persimmon Cake [vegetarian]
What are (were) your favorite dishes to make and serve in Japan for Thanksgiving?
More ideas on the Japan-Friendly Recipes Master List!