ichiju-sansai 一汁三菜 Japanese Healthy Meal

Why not experience a Washoku 和食 ( Japanese cuisine ) dining tradition in your own home?

Using Teishoku 定食 a set meal on a tray with the ichiju-sansai 一汁三菜 method of construction.

Ichiju-sansai is a Japanese balanced meal. Ichi meaning one ju meaning soup san meaning three and sai meaning dish. Put together to make a one soup and three dish meal. This set way allows for a healthy balanced way to create something delicious while regulating portion size. Rice a stable food and a big part of the Japanese diet is not counted neither are pickles used for digestion these are the foundations of the meal. Then comes the soup traditionally miso which is a fermented food but could also be any soup of choice. With the rice you get your carbohydrates plus hydration from the soup. Then the main meal portion known as Okazu could be a protein of some kind, with your two sides probably vegetables containing vitamins and minerals.

Japan has four very distinct seasons with this in mind choosing fresh flavourful seasonal ingredients in your creations is key using this home cooking style. Making these meals also helps you to become more mindful in your eating approach. If you follow this basic principle you can make a healthy homely meal.

Ichiju-Sansai 一汁三菜

A bowl of soup (shiru   which could be Miso or other soup of choice

A bowl of rice ( Gohanご飯 )

Pickles (tsukemono 漬物 ) or also known Kouno mono(香の物)

x3 dishes ( okazu おかず sometimes called sozai ) x1 main and x2 smaller side dishes

If you want to simplify this even further you can make Ichiju-Issai 一汁一菜 sometimes called Soshoku. Basically omitting the two side dishes and often eaten in zen temples.

It is a good idea to use different cooking methods in your preparations. Consider sautéing, steaming, baking. Make different sauces or marinades to enhance the flavour.

Another method of making meals is doing it in advance which is perfect not only for Ichiju-sansai but for preparing bento and is called tsukurioki.

Tsukurioki means pre-made or put aside. In old Japan it would refer to making preserved foods maybe by fermentation or pickling, something you would not be eating straight away. However now it refers more to people batch cooking and people leading a busy life who make food in advance to see them through a few days. Making a batch of different foods that can be stored in the fridge and combined to make bento lunches or put together with rice and soup to make a meal, is a perfect way to use tsukurioki.

Why not forward plan and try out this method. Set aside time to prepare food and this will free up time and help simplify your life later on.

Like with many Japanese meals, I start with planning what I’m going to make and how I’m going to combine them.

Think do you you have all the necessary ingredients or do you have to go and buy some fresh vegetables? Then when you have gathered together what you need set aside time to make your meals. When you are not rushed you can put love and care into mindfully preparing your food. Store in containers and bowls in the fridge. Then maybe you could plan your meal combinations so you get a variety of different meals with what you have created. When you show care in making a meal you can mindfully appreciate the food when you are eating it.

Here is a list of recipes on this website you could use to combine. I hope you can use them to create some peaceful meals at home.


Yuzu & Blackpepper Tofu, Tofu Dengaku, Vegan Crabcakes, Umeboshi Sweet & Sour Tofu, Sweet Potato & Ginger Tofu Patties, Shiitake Brown Rice Miso Burgers, Baked Tomato’s With Spicy Soy Mince, Yuzu Battered Tofu, Agedashi Tofu, Chard Rolls, Tofu Baked With Kabocha & Miso, Kabocha & Chestnut Loaf, Lotusroot & Tofu Mushimanju.


Kyuri Itame, Shiraae, Daikon Dengaku, Nasu Dengaku, Eggplant Agebitashi, Poached Tomato, Goma Dofu, Tofu Caprese Salad, Cauliflower Grilled Mochi Cheese, Potato Salad, Hiyayakko, Gomaae, Kabocha no Nimono, Chawanmushi.


Spring Greens Soup,Broadbean Soup, Tsuyu Soup,Pumpkin & Chestnut Soup.