Christmas dinner table

A Guide to Japanese Christmas Dinner

8th December, 2021

Although Japan acknowledges Christmas, it isn’t a national holiday, and it isn’t celebrated with the same gusto as Westerners. It is instead seen as a romantic festival similar to Valentine’s Day where couples get to spend some time together, mainly on the 24th of December.

Throughout the years, apart from the traditional Christmas cake, other interesting food habits have been picked up with people eating fried chicken, potato salad, and wagashi – quite different from the homecooked turkey consumed in the West.

This blog will explore how to re-create the popular dishes consumed in Japan on Christmas Day.

Potato Salad

Eaten as a side dish on Christmas Day in Japan, the potato salad comes from the German culture of consuming the dish during the festive season. Adding a Japanese touch to the salad would make it a great starter for your Christmas dinner menu.

Japanese Potato Salad Recipe – for 6 servings

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 4g salt
  • 40g canned sweetcorn
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Persian cucumber
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 slices black forest ham

Seasoning Ingredients:

Preparation method:

  1. Peel and cut potatoes into 4 sections. Add water and salt into a pan and boil until cooked. Drain the water and cook potatoes on medium heat again to ensure there is no moisture left.
  2. Once done, lightly mash the potatoes leaving small chunks of texture. Add rice vinegar, black pepper, and set aside.
  3. Boil the egg for a maximum of 12 minutes, remove the shell, and cut into small pieces.
  4. Peel and thinly cut the cucumber and carrot. Sprinkle ½ salt over both ingredients and press to release moisture. Set aside until the moisture comes out. Once done, thoroughly wash the vegetables and squeeze to ensure they are completely dry.
  5. Cut ham into small thin strips, add all other ingredients into the bowl followed by Japanese mayonnaise and mix well. Refrigerate salad for 1 hour and serve.

Fried

Japanese miso fried chicken karaage

Since turkey is hard to find in Japan, the fried chicken tradition became popular in the 1970s thanks to KFC’s marketing campaign, with people now visiting the franchise every Christmas to mark the big day.

Inspired by this tradition, we have created Japanese Miso Fried Chicken Karaage. Containing a traditional mix of sake and ginger, with a touch of Honteri for sweetness. This dish makes a perfect main for your three course Japanese Christmas dinner.

Wagashi

Wagashi is a popular Japanese sweet consumed throughout the year in different shapes and flavours that vary depending on each season. The Nerikiri wagashi in particular, makes a great Christmas dish as it can be made in any festive shape such as a snowman, Santa, reindeer, Christmas tree and more.

Nerikiri Wagashi Ingredients:

For White Bean Paste:

  • 225g soaked and peeled lima beans (soak for 12 hours)
  • 95g sugar
  • 22g salt

For Nerikiri:

  • 5g sweet rice flour
  • 22ml water
  • 15g sugar

Preparation Method:

  1. For white bean paste: add soaked beans into a pot filled with water and simmer for around 2 hours. Once done, drain water and blend beans in a food processor. Transfer the puree to a fine mesh strainer and press the beans through to create a smooth white bean paste.
  2. Add paste into a separate bowl, followed by sugar and salt. Cook on medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved, and paste is mouldable.
  3. For Nerikiri: using a wooden spatula, mix sweet rice flour, water, and sugar on medium heat. Add white bean paste and mix until the dough becomes tacky and mouldable.
  4. Transfer the dough on a plate to let it cool. Once done, separate the dough into different containers to colour them with any food dye of your choice.
  5. Once dyed, create festive shapes and serve.

This mix of traditional (wagashi) and Western-styled Japanese Christmas dinner would make a great menu choice for your restaurant during the festive season. More festive recipes can be found on our recipes page. You can learn more about Mizkan Chef’s products through here and sign up to our newsletter for all the latest news and updates within the Japanese foodservice industry.