Sumo-speak

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.

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

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.

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