Aburage: Thinly cut Tofu that is drained and fried in oil. Use
for inarizushi, that why it is called inariage. Also called
usuage. It made from vegetable but has a full flavor like meat making
it essential for shojin dishes (vegetarian dishes) or nimono.
Remove oil by sokng in boiling water.
Anago: Thin and long fish looks like eel. It inhabits in the sand
of muddy waters of river mouth where sea water and fresh water mix. Because
of the trouble to debone and cook, it is convenient to buy pre-broiled anago.
Aonori: Nori finely crumbled powder-like. It's called Ao (green)
Nori for it's very vivid green color. It is used for topping okonomiyaki,
with tororojiru (grated Yamaimo) or combining with mochi.
Asatsuki is a kind of green onion that is often used to garnish
dishes. It is more green than white and much thinner than wakegi.
Buri: Buri's name changes depending on the maturity of
the fish and region. Buri is the name for 1m long adult fish. Hamachi
is also the name for same fish, used on sushi and as sashimi.
Kanburi is the name for the more fatty winter buri.
Chirimenjako: Juevinile sardines boiled with salt and sun dried.
Also called shirasuboshi.
Chuka Soba: Chinese noodles are made by adding baking soda and
water to flour. It is then kneaded, rolled, and cut into noodles. These
noodles are available freshly made, steamed or dried. Boil fresh or dried
noodles such as Ramen, in plenty of water. Steamed noodles are used
for yakisoba- fried noodles. Fry steamed noodle before making katayakisoba
(Crispy yakisoba). Instant Ramen and other cup noodles
are popular because they are easy to prepare.
Curry Ru is the concentracted solid extract made by thickening
flour, butter and oil, then adding meat and spices in a frying pan. Pre-made
curry ru is very convenient and easy to use.
Fu: knead wheat, salt and water mix until sticky, after rinsing
gluten is formed. This is raw fu. Raw fu has a texture of
raw mochi, it is chewy. When it is formed and colored decoratively,
it is used in Kyoto dishes such as nimono and wandane. Raw
fu added with starch or wheat flour and baked is yakifu. Marufu
and kurumafu are types of yakifu. Soak in water to return
it to it's original form and use.
Fuki: Found everywhere in the country side of Japan. Use young
unopened leaves in spring time. Yamabuki and mizubuki there
are two kinds. Remove harshness by itazuri befor cooking, then boil
Fukujinzuke is always used as relish with curry. Daikon
nasu renkon are finely chopped. Soysauce is the base for pickling.
Fukujinzuke has a crunchy texture. The name originates from the tale
of 7 saints of ancient days. The original fukujinzuke consists of
7 different kind of vegetables.
Furikake and Omusubi no Moto are usually
sprinkled on top of rice but can also be mixed into omusubi (rice
balls) or used to cover them. There are many varieties of furikake
on the market but most are a mixture of seaweed, sesame seeds and katsubushi
and flavorings. Home-made furikake can be made with salted salmon
Ganmodoki: see tofu.
Goma Abura is made from pressed sesame seeds. It has a pleasant
aroma. It is used in Chinese dishes for it's flavor. The one for tempura
is sold combined with natane (colza) oil and soybean oil .
Hetto(Suet) was the name for any animal fat but now only refers
to beef suet. Due to its high temperature melting point, if not eaten immediately
after cooking it becomes waxy on tongue. It is not used often but essential
Irigoma is toasted, finely ground black or white sesame seeds.
It is sold in this form. Freshly toasted and ground, irigoma is more
flavorful. Kirigoma is cut sesame seeds and nerigoma is sesame
Itokonyaku: See Shirataki.
Kabocha (pumpkin): Japanese and Western pumpkins are different
varieties. Both contain large amounts of sugar and Vitamin A. Pumpkins keep
well for a while. Use them in nimono, fried and in desserts.
Kamaboko: A typical fish cake made of ground fish meat. Sold in
semi-circle slabs placed on a wooden board, Kamaboko has been either
steamed or lightly broiled already. It is delicious in any nabe dish.
wasabi and soy sauce add well with it's flavor. Remove board before
Kanpyou: A kind of gourd slice into long thin strips and dried.
Soaked in water, used for fillings of makizushi.
Katsuobushi are dried bonito flakes. Kezuribushi are finely
shaved flakes used in dashijiru and as a topping. Flake size varies,
depending on dish. These flakes are made from smoked blocks (sanmaioroshi)
of bonito fish, There are lower quality flakes made from saba or
Kinome: see sansho
Kisu are 10-30 cm long small fish. White kisu are tastier
than the blue. Kisu has little fat so it fries well.
Konakatsuo: powdered katsuobushi. This is used as a seasoning
in furikake and aegoromo and also as a topping on okonomiyaki
to add flavor.
Konbu is a kind of kelp. Makonbu and Rishirikonbu
are famous. Dark , thick and slightly sweet is higher quality konbu.
It is sold dried. There are many different ways to dry and wrap konbu,
somtimes it is seen as a work of art. Varieties are available for making
dashi, eating as it is, salted or tsukudani.
Konnyaku: Konnyaku is made from Konnyaku potato,
a member of the Taro potato family. It is dried, powdered and added with
hydolic to solidify. It is produced in various forms, thick sheet (itakonnyaku),
strings (shirataki, itokonnyaku), thick strings(tsukikonnyaku)
and ball(tamakonnyaku). It has no calories. Always boil it before
using to remove the harshness.
Koyadofu: see tofu
Mirin is sweet alcohol made from mochigome and komekoji
(yeast). It is generally used for cooking only. It is used as a ceremonial
drink (otoso) at New Years. there are two types of mirin:
hon and shin. Shin mirin has less than 1% alcohol content.
It enhances flavor and makes food shiny. It's sweetness is essential to
Mitsuba: Trefoil is a flavorful vegetable with a whitish stem
and 3 open leaves on top. Itomitsuba is for soup dishes. Nemitsuba
is used boiled and for aemono. These kinds are generally used. Trefoil
is distinctive for it's crispy texture and refreshing aroma.
Myoga is a seasoning vegetable with a distinctive taste. Myoga
has been used for it's flavor since long ago in Japan. It is ususally cut
into thin slices and eaten rawas a topping. Myoga is also used in
vinegar dishes and in Japanese pickles. It is added to miso soup
too. There are two types of myoga, small summer or larger fall ones.
Miso is steamed soy beans mixed with koji (yeast) and salt.
It is left to sleep, and then mashed into a paste form. Only one or two
generations ago, most households made their own miso. Flavor, color,
texture and yeast vary from region to region in Japan. Different yeast is
also used for these different types of misos.
- Rice miso is the most widely used.
- Wheat miso is usually red and soft.
- Bean miso is dark red. Hacho, Sanshu are popular
- Sweet flavored miso is white. It contains more yeast than salt.
- Kyoto Saikyo miso is a popular brand.
- Salty miso is red. It has more salt then yeast. Popular regional
- brands include Sendai, Echigo and Hacho misos.
- Medium salty miso is also available. Shinshu brand is
Mochi is steamed mochigome rice that has been pounded to
a sticky mass. It is then formed into a variety of shapes for various dishes.
It is an essential food during New Years. It is often added to zoni.
Mochi can be either heated, grilled or fried. There is also mochi
made with beans or with powdered aonori.
- Noshimochi is the pounded sticky rice that is formed into sheets.
- Kirimochi is noshimochi cut into small square pieces.
- Marumochi are Kansai style round ball shaped mochi.
- Namako Mochi is common in the southern and Kansai regions while
noshimochi is popular in the Kanto and Northern regions.
- Namakomochi is the shape of namako (sea slug), cut into
thin slices for use.
- Kagami Mochi is used at New Years as a decoration. A flat ball
of mochi is placed on top of a larger piece to form kagami mochi.
Nasubi (Eggplant) is used in Japanese, Chinese and Western style
cooking. This purple egg-shaped vegatable is seasonally enjoyed summer and
fall. Fall harvested are considered tastier. It absorbs oil well and combines
well with other ingredients.
Nori: There are two types of nori seaweed. Asakusa nori
is harvested from bays. This type is higher quality and is used in sushi.
Iwanori is gathered on shore. Both are cultivated now in nets and
dried in sheets. The flavor of nori is enhenced by holding 2 sheets
of nori together while waving them gently over a strong heat. Reverse sides
and repeat process. Do not let the flame touch the sheets. There is no need
to do this (aburu) for yakinori. Flavor is also added to ajitsuke
nori. Nori can be kept for a long time. It absorbs moisture easily
and must be store in a sealed container or refridgerator. In order to preserve
nori, make sure to put it away immedietly after using. Momi nori
is crumbled seaweed used as a topping. It is made by crumbling scorched
(aburu) nori in your hands. Very finely crumbled (almost powder)
ao nori is a great topping for okonomiyaki. It is sold in
this form too. Tsukudani nori is fresh seaweed that is cooked
with soy sauce and sugar.
Oba is another name for shiso. Like basil, it has a distinctive
taste. The head as well as leaves are edible. It is used in tempura,
dishes using vinegar, as topping and in Japanese pickles. Red oba
reacts chemically to acid, it dyes ginger red and is used when making umeboshi.
Okonomiyaki sauce is used on okonomiyaki. It is a thick
flavorful sweet sauce. Sweet or spicy types are available depending on your
||Panko (Bread crumbs) are usually made from dried bread but for some
recipes fresh bread crumbs are needed. The size of the bread crumbs may
vary with dishes.|
Rakkyo is a kind of green onion. It has unique taste and odor.
The tear drop shape white root is edible. It is usually pickled first in
salt then with vinegar added. Small rakkyo is called hanarakkyo.
With soysauce added in, it is called tamarizuke.
Renkon (Lotus root) have tubular hollows that run the length of
each link. The crunchy texture of renkon can be enjoyed in kinpira,
nimono and tempura. Avoid discoloration by soaking slices
Sake is the generic name for all alcohol but mainly refers to
seishu (rice wine). It is brewed from rice and komekouji (yeast).
Quality is classified by alcohol percentage, flavor, fragrance and color.
When cooking, boil before using to extinguish odor of alcohol.
Sake flakes: Flaked salmom goes well with rice as it is,and is
used mixing with rice or sushimeshi (vinegared rice) for chirashi
sushi or omusubi. It is easy to use. Make at home, Sprinke a
dash each of salt and sake over salmon and cook in microwave oven,
then flake and heat up in frying pan with out oil to dry out.
Sansho (sanshou): Sansho is the name of a low citrus tree.
The buds of spring are called Kinome, and its ripened fruits is called mizansho
and konazansho is the dried powder of fruits. Its distinctive aroma
is essential to Japanese cooking.
Shiitake is also called donko. It is the most commonly
used mushroom in Japan. Thick, edges curved under are high quality shiitake.
Use fresh or dry, depending on dish. Dried shiitake returns to it's
original form by soaking in water. After draining, the water used for soaking
can be added to nimono or chawamushi. This brings out a good
Shimeji: Small mushrooms bunched together at the roots of pine
tree. They are harvested in fall from forests. Cultivated all year long,
they can be bought any time of the year. Overcooking causes flavor loss.
shimeji is used in soups, nabe and takikomi gohan
for its pleasant aroma.
Shiojake is salted salmon. A whole salted salmon fish is called
aramakijake. Preserving salmon with salt has a long history in Japan.
Salmon is usually sold in cut pieces and cooked on a broiler net. Amajio
is salmon served in a light salt flavored sauce. Very salty salmon is preferred
for omusubi (rice balls) and in zousui.
Shirataki: Konnyaku pressed and formed into strings is
shirataki or itokonnyaku, block shape is itakonnyaku.
Konnyaku is made from konnyaku potato, a member of the Taro
potato family. Konyaku is calorie free. Boil before using to remove
taste. See: Konnyaku
Shiso: See: Oba
Soba: Most grains used in Japan belong to the rice species, soba
is not. The soba grain is black and pointed. It is peeled and ground
into flour. Knead flour, salt, water and either egg, nagaimo, or
wheat flour to glue together. What gluey substance added determines what
type of soba is made.
Shoga is ginger. It is an essential seasoning of Japanese cooking.
It is often used for it's distinctive flavor. Use hineshoga or neshoga
when cooking. Shoga pickled in sweet vinegar is called gari.
It is eaten with sushi. Meshoga is eaten raw with sweet miso.
It also can be pickled in sweet vinegar. Eat with broiled fish.
Shungiku: Also called kikuna. A kind of chrysanthemum with
distictive smell and aroma. Use for aemono and nabemono.
Su (vinegar): Rice and artificially produced are vinegar
most often used. In the past, rice vinegar was most commonly used in Japan.
Recently, using distilled vinegar has become popular. Flavored vinegar for
sushi rice is also sold in powder form. Wine vinegar is used in Western
style cooking, particularly in salad dresssings.
Tarako is cod roe or suketotara eggs. Raw tarako
is used in nimono. Salted tarako is usually referred to as
just tarako. Make sure tarako is fresh when eaten raw. Cooks
on a broiler net or easily in a microwave oven. Mentaiko is tarako
pickled with hot pepper.
Tofu is soy bean milk that is formed with nigari - a solidifier.
The firmer type of tofu is called momen (coton). Kinu
(silk) type has a softer texture. Yakidofu is the name for tofu
that has been lightly browned on both sides.
- Aburage is the thinly cut, deep-fryed tofu.
- Atsuage is cut thickly and fried in oil.
- Ganmodoki is tofu mixed with yam, egg white and other
ingredients then fried. In Kansai it is called hirousu or hiryozu.
- Kooridofu is freeze dried tofu. It is also called koyadofu
- Okara or Unohana is the soybean pulp that is the by-product
of making soy milk. Add taste with seafood broth. Fry with oil until water
- Yuba is made from the film that forms on heated soybean milk.
Yuba is available fresh or dried.
Tonkatsu sauce, Worcestershire sauce and chuno sauce are
three most popular sauces sold in Japanese. Worcestershire sauce is made
from vegtables and spices. Tonkatsu sauce is made from vegatables,
spices, and fruit. It is named tonkatsu sauce because it goes so
well with the pork cutlet, tonkatsu. It's sweet and strong flavor
goes well with any fried food.
Tororo konbu is dried tangle flakes, finely shaved. There are
many types of tororo konbu sold. Soup can be make by adding a little
soy sauce and boiling water to a pinch of tororo konbu. Use for sunomono
and omusubi. Tororo konbu can be kept for a long period of
Tougarashi: A red hot chilli pepper. Dried and powdered is called
Ichimi-tougarashi. A mix with sanshou, chinpi, hemp
, poppy , shiso and sesame seeds is called shichimi-tougarashi.
Tsukudani is seafood, meat or seaweed that has been cooked in
soy sauce and mirin. Soy sauce preserves the ingredients naturally.
It's name originates from Tsukujima island where it was first made
in the Edo era. Many kinds of tsukudani are sold.
Udon: Mix flour, salt and water. Knead, roll out and cut into
long strips. There are 4 types of udon sold; raw, para-boiled, boiled
and dry. In order of the size noodles there are himokawa, kishimen,
udon, hiyamugi and somen.
Umeboshi are made from unripened plums pickled in salt with red
shiso leaves. Umeboshi have a distinctive flavor and red color.
In former times, each household made their own. Umeboshi is usually
bought now, due to the time and trouble it takes to make. Add umeboshi
to preserve omusubi.
Wagarashi is made from mustard seeds. its distinctive yellow color
and spicy taste are used for seasoning. Avoid exposing to air or it will
lose flavor. More than powdered, tube type paste has become popular. Goes
well with tonkatsu and oden.
Wakegi: A green onion that has a longer geen stem than the other
green onions, the thinner is called asatsuki. Wakige is used
in sunomono vinegar dishes. Asatsuki is used for toppings.
Warabi: A kind of fern,found everywhere in fields and mountains
of Japan. Use young unopened leaves in spring time. It has strong harshness,
it needs to be akunuki enough before cooking.
Wasabi: A very popular seasoning that goes well with seafood.
It is always eaten with sushi and sashimi. Vividly green,
wasabi has a strong scent and spicy taste. The proper way to grate
wasabi is on sharkskin. If unavailable, use a finely tooth grater
in order enhance flavor. Wasabi grows very slowly in clean streams
thus it is expensive raw. Wasabi is sold in powder or in tubes of
Yakidofu is firm tofu lightly browned on both sides by
broiling. It is much more savory than soft tofu. It's firmness makes
it an ideal ingredient in nabe dishes. In the Kanto region, yakidofu
is cooked sweet in soy sauce, called nishime. Nishime is a
popular dish eaten at New Years in japan.
Yakitori Sauce: It is a stew of various vegetables, seasonings
and spices as Japanese style barbeque sauce.it has a strong flavor. Sweet
flavored for yakitori (chicken), there are variety for yakiniku
(broiled or barbequed beef) and Hamburger. Experiement by mixing bottled
sauces together or add some seasonnig and spices to find your favorite flavor.
Sauces can be used in various ways. Use your imagination.
Yakianago: see anago
Yamaimo: Starchy, sticky yam/root. Ginengyo is wild yamaimo.
nagaimo and yamaimo are culivatated. Grinded yamaimo
with dashijiu is tororo. Put tororo on wheat rice,
raw tuna or soba noodles. To prevent itching on hands and lips, soak
yamaimo in vinegar and water before grinding. Add water to dried
yamaimo in use as sticky starch.
Yomogi: A kind of wild mugwort grown all over Japan. Its buds
are edible in spring to early summer. Akunuki is necessary because
of its strong harshness. Use for tempura , cooked with rice or mochi
(Kusamochi). Yomogi is also a medicine, dried and used for
Yuzu: Citron peel, not the flesh, is used to garnish soups. It
has a distinctive scent. Peel yuzu very thinly. Add ground yuzu
peel and juice to miso to create yuzu miso. Kabosu, sudachi
is simular to yuzu but green in color. In winter, many Japanese add
a few yuzu to bath water for it's citric aroma boost.
[ Index ]