Recipes you can make using sake [key Japanese cooking ingredient]

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 8, 2022

17 easy recipes anyone can make...

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We’ve talked about how important sake is for Japanese cuisine, so now you’re probably curious and want to try out making a dish of your own.

Sake’s strong and distinctive taste can accentuate the flavor of any meal when paired with simple seasonings.

It’s perfect for chicken, pasta, seafood, and even pork. Below we’ll share a couple of recipes that are delicious with sake.

Favorite Asian Recipes
Favorite Asian Recipes

The most popular Japanese cuisine that uses cooking sake as its key ingredients is nabe (hot pot soup) and teriyaki.

People also love using sake to marinate chicken or seafood before frying or roasting them. Here are some recipes to try out:

Sake-steamed clams

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of Manila clams or cockles, scrubbed
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • (Optional) Togarashi spice blend

Note: Togarashi is a Japanese blend of cayenne, sesame seeds, and seaweed. It is available in most Asian markets.

Preparation

  1. Use a medium bowl and fill it with cold water, then add 1 tbsp of salt. Let the clams stand in this salted water for 1 hour. Afterward, drain them and rinse well.
  2. Take a large, deep skillet and combine the measured sake and water and bring them to a boil.
  3. Add the clams and cover the skillet tightly.
  4. Start cooking them until most of the clams have opened. This takes about 4 minutes, make sure to shake the pan every now and then.
  5. Our recipe serves four.
  6. Serve the clams and broth into medium-sized bowls and top them with butter, then garnish with the scallions and (optional) togarashi.

Serve immediately for the best taste!

Sake-marinated beef ribs

We recommend serving the beef ribs cut across the bone since they are more manageable pieces that way.

Ask your butcher to do this for you and let the ribs marinate overnight

Ingredients

  • 8 meaty beef short ribs (8 pounds), cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 cups sake (rice wine)
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 24 green olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 cups short-grain rice (about 14 ounces)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • (Optional) 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

  1. Spread the ribs in an even layer in a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour 2 cups of the sake over the ribs, cover, and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  3. Drain the ribs. In a large roasting pan, toss the ribs with the onions, carrots, celery, olives, coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, cayenne, saffron, and the remaining 1 cup of sake; season with salt and white pepper.
  4. Cover with foil and roast, turning the ribs halfway through cooking, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender; skim the fat occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and boil over moderate heat until tender, about 17 minutes.
  6. Drain the rice and return it to the saucepan. Stir in the soy sauce and mascarpone.
  7. Spoon the rice into 4 bowls. Spoon the short ribs and sauce over the rice, garnish with the parsley and serve.
  8. The dry but sweet sake marinade calls for a soft, generous red wine without too much tannin.

Consider the Rosemount Estate South Eastern Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia or the Markham Napa Valley Merlot.

Yosenabe

Hot pot soup (nabe) is the best comfort food in cold weather to enjoy in a group, either with friends or family.

Japanese cuisine has a large variety of Nabe. Yosenabe is the easiest one to create.

Ingredients

Basic broth:

  • 12 cups of dashi
  • ¼ cup of Japanese soy sauce
  • ½ cup of cooking sake
  • salt if necessary

The soup contents:

  • 300 grams of meat (any kind)
  • 200 grams of tofu
  • one piece of carrot, sliced
  • 100 grams of enoki mushroom
  • 100 grams of Chinese cabbage
  • Spring onion as sprinkles

Direction:

  1. Pour in dashi, sake, soy sauce, and salt in a hot pot to make the broth.
  2. Once it boils, add in the meat and vegetables gradually, starting from ones that take longer to cook.
  3. Sprinkle it with spring onion

Shrimp yakitori (Grilled Skewer)

Traditional yakitori requires a special grilling device. But you can still use a regular grill to cook the dish. Instead of shrimp, you can also use chicken or beef for this dish.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cups of water
  • ¼ cups of Mirin
  • ⅓ cups of rice vinegar
  • ¼ cups of brown sugar
  • ¼ cups of sake
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
  • one teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 pound of peeled shrimp
  • bamboo sticks for the skewer

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze and boil it over medium heat.
  2. Turn down the heat to low and simmer the glaze until it thickens. Set aside to cool.
  3. Marinate the shrimps with the glaze and leave them for 15 minutes
  4. Spear the shrimps in skewer while preheating the grill
  5. Starts grilling. Brush more glaze to the skewer and flip occasionally.

Teba Shio (Chicken Wing)

Chicken wings are easily lovable by a lot of people. By marinating it with sake, you will elevate the savory taste of the flavor with an ultimate umami kick.

To make it taste even more perfect, you can add some spices to the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 15 pieces of chicken wings
  • 1½ cups of sake
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a pinch of black pepper powder
  • one piece of lemon
  • two tablespoons of Japanese seven spices

Direction:

  1. Soak the chicken in a bowl of sake for 15 minutes
  2. Pat dry each piece of wings
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and black pepper on both side
  4. Roast at 500°F for 10 minutes, flip them all upside down, and continue roasting for 10 more minutes.
  5. Take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle the chicken with Seven Spices and lemon

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.