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