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Mochi

Mochi

Mochi or omochi is made from pounded sweet rice. Sweet rice is also called glutinous rice, sticky rice, or waxy rice. If you intend to make mochi on your own, you have to find Japanese sweet rice, which is short grain sweet rice. Traditionally, steamed sweet rice is pounded in a wooden motar with one […]

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Ayu (fish)

Ayu (fish)

Ayu lives in streams in Japan, and it is considered to be a summer treat in mountain villages. Even though they are not endangered, the fishing is banned from fall to spring in order to protect the resources. From early summer to fall, many people enjoy fishing and eating ayu. Actually, I am not familiar […]

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Salmon Flakes

Salmon Flakes

You might have seen bottled salmon flakes at a refrigerated section in a Japanese grocery store. It is cooked, flavored, deboned, and flaked salmon. It’s one of the popular convenient item in Japan, as you can eat it right out of the bottle. I rarely buy it in Japan, where fresh cut of salted salmon […]

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Aonori

Aonori

Aonori is a type of seaweed. I used to think that when sheet type nori is crushed, it becomes confetti like green aonori flakes. But two seaweed actually belong to two different family. Aonori is often used as garnish, on top of okonomiyaki, yakisoba, yakiudon, takoyaki, etc. Sometimes, it’s mixed in tempura batter, so that […]

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Aburaage

Aburaage

Aburaage is one of the soy products. It is thinly sliced and deep fried tofu in short. It’s puffy and has a pocket inside, just like a pita bread. Inarizushi and kitsune udon cannot be made without it. Thinly sliced aburaage is often used as one of the miso soup ingredients. Japanese vegetarians use it […]

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Kabukiage

Kabukiage

I don’t like senbei, a type of Japanese rice crackers. I would eat it if someone offered it to me, but I don’t buy it for my own consumption. There is only one exception, kabukiage. My son also loves it. I think the snack has something to appeal to Americans. Unlike regular senbei, kabukiage is […]

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Ramune

Ramune is Japanese soda drink in an old-fashioned Codd-neck bottle, which seems to be widely used in many parts of the world at the end of the 18th century. Soon, the particular type of bottles became out of favor in many countries, because many bottles were destroyed by kids who wanted to get marbles trapped […]

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Kuromame Beans and Black Turtle Beans

Kuromame Beans and Black Turtle Beans

Kuromame beans are one of the important osechi ryori, Japanese new years food items. Just like many other cooked beans in Japan, they are sweet. However, unlike adzuki beans, kuromame beans are handled more carefully. Properly cooked kuromame beans are big, plump, shiny, black, soft, unbroken without wrinkles. Americans may not be familiar with kuromame […]

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Doburoku

Doburoku

One of my Japanese friends who loves to make many wonderful things gave me a cup of handmade sake to try! Unlike store bought sake, it’s cloudy, but it’s definitely sake. This type of unrefined homemade sake is called doburoku, but both sake and doburoku can be drank or used in the same way. Many […]

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Koji

Koji

Koji is a culture which is made up of multiple complex organisms, including mold, bacteria among others. In humid Japan, koji occurs naturally. It generates an enzyme, which causes fermentation that brews the sake, soy sauce, shochu (Japanese distilled liquor), vinegar, and creates miso and pickles. In order to make koji, rice, barley, soy beans […]

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Sesame Oil

Sesame Oil

Japanese sesame oil comes in dark or clear. Common cooking oil is the dark one (the picture above). It is made from roasted sesame seeds and has distinctive toasty aroma and flavor. When a Japanese recipe calls for sesame oil, usually referring to this dark one. Clear one is called taihaku-yu. Because it’s made from […]

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Somen

Somen

There are several noodle categories in Japan. Udon, soba and ramen noodles are well known. But there are others called somen and hiyamugi. Somen and hiyamugi are both dried, straight, and thin noodles, which are made from flour, water and salt. Many people including myself don’t really know the difference of somen and hiyamugi. I […]

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