Soy sauce is probably the most common and inevitable ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It is used instead of salt to add savoury flavour to the meal. It is consumed as a dipping sauce as well. Made from the fermented paste of soybeans and often combined with ginger, spring onions, chilli, rice wine vinegar. Commonly used in Japanese foods with chicken, rice, and more.
Soybeans are one of the essentials of Japanese cuisine. Unfermented soybeans are used for making soy milk, tofu, and its skin. Fermented ones are used for soy sauce, paste, etc.
Wasabi is a plant and the wasabi paste is very much used in Japanese cuisine. This hot paste is often preferred with food like sushi but it can also be found in other dishes.
One of the well-known and traditional seasoning is, of course, the miso. In Japanese cuisine, the miso paste is often used for sauces, with vegetables and meat, and mixed with dashi soup stock to create the miso soup.
Dashi is one of the popular seasonings as well. Used as the base of simmering liquids such as miso soup, clear broth, noodle broth, etc. Sometimes it is mixed into grilled foods’ flour base.
A kind of seaweed, wakame is often seen in miso soup and some other soups. As the texture of it is dry, it should be softened in hot water before using.
Mirin, which is a type of rice wine, similar to sake, with a lower rate of alcohol and higher sugar content. It is generally used in Japanese food with fish to erase the smell of it. As the flavour is strong, a very small amount should be used in order to replace sugar and soy sauce.
Rice vinegar is an essential ingredient for seasoning and making the sushi rice. It can also be combined with soy sauce to make dipping and consumed with deep-fried foods.
As commonly known, sushi rice is used to fulfil the sushi, and with other Japanese foods to accompany the main ingredient like meat or fish.
Tofu (also known as bean curd) is made by clogging and then pressing the soy milk. It is a good way of consuming protein. Especially preferred by vegetarians.
Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit which looks like a grapefruit. In Japanese cuisine, it is more used for garnishing dishes (zest or juice) rather than consuming as a fruit.
Bonito flakes! Bonito is a small and kind-of-tuna fish. To be able to use it correctly, it has to be dried first and then shaved into flakes. These flakes are commonly used as the base of delicious Japanese broths.
Katsuobushi is literally dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna which is also known as bonito flakes. It is one of the main ingredients of dashi (kind of broth for soups). The other component for dashi stock is kombu - a type of seaweed but dried.
Daikon is a kind of radish which is used in many ways such as making pickles, garnishing salads and sashimi. Pickled, stir-fried, shredded and dried versions are popular. Also, the leaves of it are consumed as a green vegetable in the Japanese kitchen.
Nori is another kind of seaweed and commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is used either as a topping of ramen and soups, or a wrap for maki sushi rolls.
Other than these, there is much Japanese food with eggs. Examples can be tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), tamago kake gohan (eggs over rice), and tsukimi udon (raw eggs added to soup).
It is not acceptable not to mention Japanese food with fish. As being one of the inevitable ingredients in this cuisine, fish is both consumed as raw or cooked. There are many and many recipes that are based on fish like sushi, sashimi, miso black cod, tsukudani, and more.
Last but not least, ramen noodles. It is a Japanese dish which also has many variations with different ingredients. It is basically a noodle soup that is made from wheat-noodles and usually served in Japanese food with beef or fish-based broth.
If you are planning to make grocery shopping, do not forget to note the above ingredients to your list. Even if you are not going to use them now, these items can be stored for some time without taking much space on your kitchen cabinet.
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