I’m working under the assumption that most folks do not speak Japanese, so here are the English translations for various ingredients, tools, and techniques in Japanese cuisine.

This page is a work in progress; as I think about it, I will update it.

Abura-Age: deep fried tofu. It is sold in blocks like regular tofu, or in thin sheets that open like a pita.

Buta: pork.

Daikon: Japanese radish. There are two varieties that I know of – one looks like a big white carrot, the other resembles a giant, mutant, albino radish. They taste exactly the same. Daikon is also sold pickled, which smells BAAAAAAAAAAAAD.

Dashi: soup stock, or a liquid used for braising.

Enoki: long, thin mushroom that look like white stalks of straw and grow in clusters.

Genmaicha: green tea with roasted rice.

Gobo: Burdock root.

Ichimi togarashi: Japanese dried red chili flakes.

Katsuobushi: dried, smoked bonito (skipjack tuna) that is shaved and used to prepare dashi or as a garnish.

Konbu: a type of dried kelp. Used to add flavor; don’t try to eat it.

Kurobuta: literally, “black pig”. Berkshire pork, far superior in flavor than plain ol’ buta.

Makizushi: seasoned rice wrapped in nori, and filled with a variety of ingredients

Mirin: sweet cooking “wine”.

Miso: fermented soy bean paste. There are hundreds of varieties in Japan, but in North America, the most common varieties are aka (red), shiro (white), and awase (mixed – red & white).

Nori: dried sheets of seaweed used to wrap makizushi.

Panko: Japanese bread crumbs.

Sake: rice “wine”, an alcoholic beverage produced in a manner similar to beer. Drink warm.

Sansho: Japanese pepper seedpods.

Shichimi togarashi: seven spice blend containing red chili powder, nori, sesame seed, hemp seed, citrus peel (usually orange), powdered ginger, and sansho.

Shoga: ginger

Shoyu: Japanese soy sauce. If you’re trying any of the recipes I post, make sure you only use Japanese soy sauce; Chinese or other Asian varieties will give the dishes an odd flavor that I take no responsibility for.

Tare: sauce, usually made with shoyu and sugar.

Tobanjan: red paste fermented from soybeans and chilies. Damned bloody hot.