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AGE - Fried tofu that comes in both thick and thin types. Used in stir frying, grilling, stews and soups and absorbs flavors beautifully.

DAIKON - Long, white radish used in many dishes and sometimes grated raw. Very often pickled.

DASHI - Broth or stock. I use konbu or shiitake dashi or sometimes a combination of both.

FU - Small lightweight pieces of dried gluten used in soups as a garnish. Come in a variety of shapes and colors.

GOMA - Sesame seeds. Both white and black. Very high in calcium. Often toasted and ground to use as a healthy garnish on vegetable dishes.

HARUSAME - Clear noodles made of potato starch.

HASHI - Chopsticks

HIJIKI - One of the many seaweeds often used in Japanese cuisine. Very nutritious with a rich flavor. Usually black in color.

KATAKURIKO - Potato starch made from a mountain potato (see nagaimo). Used as a thickening agent in Asian cuisine. Cornstarch, arrowroot or kuzu can be substituted but none will give quite the same consistency as katakuriko will.

KONBU - A thick seaweed purchased dried and often used to make dashi.

MIRIN - Sweet rice wine used extensively in Japanese cooking. Does not have to be refrigerated. A substitution would be sake and sugar (or honey).

MISO - Fermented soy bean paste used in the preparation of soup and dressings. Comes in many shades and strengths. Typically not refrigerated Aisia as the salt content is so high.

MOCHI - Glutenous rice is pounded into cakes sold in vacuum sealed pouches. Before eating, mochi is put into a broiler or toaster/oven to puff up.

NAGAIMO - Glutenous mountain potato that is about three feet long. It has a wonderful crunchy texture but a very mild taste.

NORI - thin seaweed pressed into sheets and most often used as the wrap around sushi. Best when it’s crispy, but can be ‘refreshed’ by fanning over a stove top flame or electric burner.

SAKE - Rice wine usually served warm, although there are specific types that are meant to be chilled.

SHAMOJI - Rice paddle traditionally made of bamboo although plastic is often seen these days. Always wet before using as hot rice is very sticky.

SHICHIMI - Japanese seven spice mix. The base is red chili pepper with numerous spices. Used to give a colorful kick to many rice and vegetable dishes.

SHIITAKE - Large flavorful mushrooms which can be purchased dried or fresh. Dried shiitake are used in soups as the flavor is very full-bodied.

SHISO - Beefsteak leaf. A very fragrant large leaf used in sushi or chopped finely and used as a garnish. Comes in both red and green. The red shiso is used in the coloring of umeboshi.

SUDARE - Bamboo rolling mat used mostly for rolling sushi.

SHOYU - The Japanese word for soy sauce. Typically brewed from soy beans and wheat. The most common type is ‘koikuchi’ and used in marinades and for dipping sushi and such. ‘Usukuchi’ is used exclusively for cooking and has the wonderful quality of not discoloring the food when added.

SOBA - Buckwheat noodles. The most wonderful kind of soba noodles are the ones that say “with yam” or “with jyagaimo” on the package as the glutinous yam makes a very silky noodle indeed.

SOMEN - Very thin white noodles made of wheat and served iced in the summer.

SU - Rice vinegar. The first syllable in the word sushi.

SURIBACHI - Japanese mortar and pestle made of ceramic with a wooden stick. They come in many sizes.

SUSHI - Vinegared rice with any number of accompaniments.

TOFU - Soy bean curd available in a variety of textures. The most common is ‘momen’ or cotton tofu which is often called firm in the U.S. Also common is ‘kinugoshi’ or silken tofu which contains far less water and does not have to be pressed as the water content is less than momen. Tofu is high in protein and calcium and highly perishable. If not all used, the leftover tofu should be packed in fresh water and the water changed daily.

UDON - Thick white noodles made of wheat and used in soups and stews.

UMEBOSHI - Dried and very salty plums that are colored with a shiso leaf to a lovely pink. The are very alkaline and go well with rice.

WAKAME - Green seaweed used in salads and miso soups. It is sold fresh or dried and can easily be reconstituted in water.

WASABI - Fragrant Japanese horseradish used most often with sushi. Comes in powdered form and in tubes.


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