Comforting Japanese Food Recipes for Holidays

Have you ever wanted to make wholesome, comforting Japanese food recipes at home in your kitchen but didn’t know where to start? This holiday season, we have got you covered with our collection of traditional Japanese recipes that home cooks can actually tackle. From uni pasta to perfectly warm donburi, you’ll find delicious recipes here to wow your family and friends.

Uni / Sea Urchin Pasta Recipe


  • 8 oz spaghetti (4 oz, 113 g per person)
  • 1½ Tbsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (for the pasta cooking water)

For the Sauce

  • 3 oz uni (sea urchin) (reserve 3 pieces per serving for garnish)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 shallot (minced; 3-4 Tbsp for 2 servings)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (red pepper flakes)
  • 2 Tbsp white wine
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp reserved pasta water (optional; as needed to enrich the sauce)

For the Garnish

  • 6 pieces uni (sea urchin)
  • 2 Tbsp shredded nori seaweed (kizami nori) (optional)


Start boiling 4 quarts (16 cups, 3.8 L) of water in a large pot. Gather all the ingredients. 

To Cook the Pasta

Once the water is boiling, add the salt to the cooking water. Then, add the spaghetti. Stir to make sure the noodles don’t stick to each other. Cook 1 minute less than the package instructions (the pasta will cook a bit more with the sauce). 

To Cut the Ingredients

While you wait for the spaghetti to cook (about 10 minutes), start preparing the ingredients and then make the sauce. Mince the garlic (I used a garlic press) and shallot. You will need about 3-4 Tbsp minced shallot for 2 servings. My shallot was large, so I reserved the rest for another use.

To Make the Pasta Sauce

  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Once it’s warm, add the oil and evenly coat the pan. Then, add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Do not use high heat; otherwise, the garlic and pepper flakes will burn.
  2. Add the minced shallot and sauté until translucent.
  3. Add the white wine and mix it together.
  4. Add the cream and combine well together.
  5. Add the salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
  6. Add the uni (sea urchin) to the pan, reserving some pieces for garnish. Use a wooden spatula to break up the uni into the cream mixture to form a smooth sauce, leaving some small chunks for texture.
  7. Taste the sauce and season with salt and black pepper, if needed. If your spaghetti is not done cooking, take your pan of sauce off the heat and cover with a lid so the sauce does not evaporate and thicken.
  8. When the noodles are done cooking, collect the reserved pasta water. Then, either transfer the noodles to the sauce in the pan with tongs or drain the spaghetti into a colander before adding it to the sauce. Toss to evenly coat the spaghetti with the sauce, adding some or all of the reserved pasta water to enrich the sauce. You don’t want the spaghetti to absorb all the sauce here, so work quickly.

To Serve

Transfer the Uni Pasta to individual plates and garnish with the reserved sea urchin pieces and shredded nori (optional).

To Store

You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. I don’t recommend freezing the leftovers.


2. Simple Wagyu Donburi Recipe


  • Thinly sliced Japanese A5 Wagyu Striploin: 300g
  • Rice: 600g (21oz)
  • Onion: ½ cut
  • Shiitake mushroom (or any mushroom): 2 pieces
  • Cooking sake: 30ml (0.12 cup)
  • Soy Sauce: 45ml (0.19 cup)
  • Cooking rice wine (Mirin): 120ml (1/2 cup)


  1. Heat Onion with Cooking sake, Cooking rice wine in the pot until it comes to a boil.
  2. Place Shiitake mushroom in the pot. Once it becomes the color ready (very light brown), place the Wagyu into the pot and lightly simmer.
  3. When Wagyu becomes brownish (better if it still remains pick color), place the slices out of the pan.
  4. Skim off foam from the pan and turn off the heat.
  5. Serve boiled rice with 3 and 4 in the bawl (pour simmered water too).

Shop your favorite Japanese ingredients here: Wagyu, Sea urchin, Other Japanese condiments: 

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