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About My Japanese Pantry

I am building My Japanese Pantry page as of November 21, 2009.  The pantry includes foods in my cold and dry pantries, classic Japanese dishes, tools and utencils.  They will be listed in alphabetical order, either in Japanese or English, whichever is more common. The Japanese names will appear in all caps.  For example, ABURA-AGE (or AGE) is more commonly used in the U.S. and Canada than Deep-fried Tofu Pouches, so you will find this ingredient under A - ABURA-AGE (or AGE).  I will also accompany the corresponding Japanese and Chinese characters, photographs and recipe links for each entry.  

ABURA-AGE (or AGE) - Deep fried Tofu Pouches  油揚げ

Abura-age is deep-fried siced tofu.It is made by deep frying thinly sliced tofu. It is the key ingredient for making Inari-zushi.   It is also called AGE, or USU-AGE.  They are mostly sold in packages of four.  Some Abura-age are sold in larger pieces of two, and may need to be cut in half to make two pouches.

  ABURA-AGE in packages of four inari size pouches.

 ABURA-AGE paired with daikon radish and scallions to make miso  soup. 

Suggestions for cooking:  To remove excess fat, blanch the abura-age with hot water before use.

Recipes: Abura-age is used to make Inari zushiMiso soups, Nabe, Udon noodles and braised dishes.

Storage:  Fresh, they keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator.  Or store in the freezer and defrost it as needed.    

 

 

Burdock - GOBO - ごぼう

 

My Japanese Pantry - Gobo- Burdock Root

Posted at 09:31 PM on December 03, 2009Delete delete   Overlays edit   Comments comments (0)

 

Gobo - Burdock

 

 

The Burdock root can grow to 3 feet (1 meter) long.   

 

 

Burdock tastes like a cross between a potato and an artichoke. It is particularly enjoyed for its crunchy texture. Burdock has a naturally brown color like a potato and the good earthy flavor is all in the skin, so don't shave or peel the skin all off. Gently scrub to remove the dirt and hairy roots.

 

 

These Burdock roots, GOBO, in the picture measure nearly 3 feet long. How can they grow so long? And for me the frequently raised question is how do I get these home from the market? It's always a challenge with the longer ones. You can buy water packed, peeled and shaven burdock but the flavor is inferior to fresh burdock, and contain additives, so I don't recommend them. When I get home, I cut the Burdock root in half, wrap it in a wet day old newspaper (Not the FOOD section!)  and plastic to keep them fresh in the fridge. When Burdock roots are old, they get pulpy, shriveled, and tough.  Make sure you find one that feels thick, firm and flexible. The fresher they are, the crispier the texture. You can eat them raw when they are very very fresh.  Burdock improves digestion and is full of fiber.


 


Ginger - SHOGA 生姜

 

 

Ginger is a tuberous root which is used as spice for noodles, tofu, and vegetables. It brightens the flavor of grilled meats and seafood.  Grated ginger is an essential condiment for sashimi, particularly for silvery skin fish like mackerel and bonito, and for octopus and squid.  Brewed as tea, Ginger has a warming effect to the body; it  is a folk medicine that used to cure colds.  Look for ginger root that is firm, with large shiny knobs.  

 

Suggestions for cooking: To make slicing and grating easier,  peel the skin of the ginger, and soak it in water for a few minutes.  

 

   Grated ginger.  The juice is precious.

 

 

   Peeled ginger

 


 

Storage: Wrap ginger in plastic and keep in the fridge.   

 

KIZAMI KONBU - Dried Cut Konbu - 刻み昆布

 

My Japanese Pantry - Kizami Kombu - Cut Kombu

Posted at 02:21 PM on December 08, 2009


       Dried Cut Konbu - Kizami Konbu

Konbu is prepared from a variety of kelp. Most of the konbu is found in the northern islands of Hokkaido.   Kizami-konbu, is a dried sliced variety. Konbu in all forms is an excellent source for seasoning foods. It contains glutamic acid, an amino acid that is responsible for Umami -a Japanese word used to describe savoriness.  Kizami-konbu can be used in salads, pickles, sauteed with meat, seafood and vegetables.

Suggestions for cooking  Briefly rinse the cut kizami konbu in water to remove any impurities. Hydrate for 10 minutes to soften.  Drain water and use for cooking. The texture is slimy. 

Hydrated Cut Konbu - Kizami Konbu

Nutritional value:  good source for minearls such as iodine, potassium, iron, calcium.  Also vitamins B1 and B2, carotene and dietary fiber. 

 

Recipes: 

Storage: Keep in a container or bag with a seal, and store in a dry cool place,

Categories: Vegetable and Seaweed Dishes

 

SHIRATAKI-Yam Noodles-白滝


 

 

Shirataki are sold water packed in plastic bags or plastic containers

 

 

 

Shirataki noodles are thin, chewy, and translucent noodles made of yam.  They are flavorless in nature but used in combination with other foods such as stews, hot pots like sukiyaki, Chanko nabe, and sauteed dishes. They are low in calories and carbohydrates so they make a nice subsitute for wheat noodles but Japanese people don't eat shirataki to go on a diet. They like to eat them for their texture and high fiber content.

 

Blanch Shirataki before you use them. It has a slight odor

but this will go away when you blanch them.  

 

To use Shirataki:  Take the shirataki out of the package and drain water.  In a medium size pot, add water and shirataki and bring it to a boil. Cook shirataki for a few minutes.  Drain water. Shirataki noodles are ready to be used. Cut them in half of thirds before using them.

 

Storage: Store in the fridge. Check packages for expiration date.

 

RecipeSukiyaki

 

 

 

SHIN SHOGA - Young Fresh Ginger -新生姜

SHIN SHOGA is young ginger.  It provide the freshest taste.  The outer skin is creamy white, with blushing rhizomes.  You can occasionally find them in the Asian markets.   

Suggestions for cooking: Use fresh ginger like you would regular ginger.  You can make pickled sushi ginger with fresh ginger.

 

 

  Fresh ginger

 MAITAKE - Hen of the Woods  舞茸   

 

        

MAITAKE means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  These mushrooms are commonly known as Hen of the Woods or Sheep's Head.  Maitake has a very appealing earthy fragrance, with nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms for making mushroom rice and nabe dishes. Maitake are also appreciated for their medicinal properties - to aid in enhancing the immune system, regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  They are rich in minerals and vitamins.

 

 

We are still having good beach weather in Southern California, with temperatures in the high 80s, even 90s.  My neighbor Ellen had a big party last night that went late but she didn't  miss her Sunday walk with me on the Santa Monica boardwalk. People were on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, jogging,rollerblading, etc. When I got home, I had lots of things I wanted to do; one of them was dehydrating mushrooms.

 

Dehydrating vegetables intensifies their flavor, alter, and often improve their texture. Like dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Maitake mushrooms make a great vegan broth. I decided to make some for my breakfast miso soup.  More miso soup?  You bet.  I am on a breakfast miso soup roll.

 

Maitake means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  They are as beautiful and elegant as its name and prized in Japan and China for its medicinal properties.  I love their earthy fragrance, and the nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms in my mushroom donabe rice recipe but for my vegan miso soup, I infuse the dried mushrooms to make the broth.

 

I am leaving these Maitake mushrooms in the sun for 2-3 days, until they are completely dry and flakey. I hope to get another sunny day, otherwise, these guys will go moldy on me and I will have to wait until next summer.  But who knows, LA might be in for an endless summer.

 

Day 2

 

 

We are still having good beach weather in Southern California, with temperatures in the high 80s, even 90s.  My neighbor Ellen had a big party last night that went late but she didn't  miss her Sunday walk with me on the Santa Monica boardwalk. People were on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, jogging,rollerblading, etc. When I got home, I had lots of things I wanted to do; one of them was dehydrating mushrooms.

 

Dehydrating vegetables intensifies their flavor, alter, and often improve their texture. Like dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Maitake mushrooms make a great vegan broth. I decided to make some for my breakfast miso soup.  More miso soup?  You bet.  I am on a breakfast miso soup roll.

 

Maitake means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  They are as beautiful and elegant as its name and prized in Japan and China for its medicinal properties.  I love their earthy fragrance, and the nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms in my mushroom donabe rice recipe but for my vegan miso soup, I infuse the dried mushrooms to make the broth.

 

I am leaving these Maitake mushrooms in the sun for 2-3 days, until they are completely dry and flakey. I hope to get another sunny day, otherwise, these guys will go moldy on me and I will have to wait until next summer.  But who knows, LA might be in for an endless summer.

 

Day 2

 

 

We are still having good beach weather in Southern California, with temperatures in the high 80s, even 90s.  My neighbor Ellen had a big party last night that went late but she didn't  miss her Sunday walk with me on the Santa Monica boardwalk. People were on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, jogging,rollerblading, etc. When I got home, I had lots of things I wanted to do; one of them was dehydrating mushrooms.

 

Dehydrating vegetables intensifies their flavor, alter, and often improve their texture. Like dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Maitake mushrooms make a great vegan broth. I decided to make some for my breakfast miso soup.  More miso soup?  You bet.  I am on a breakfast miso soup roll.

 

Maitake means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  They are as beautiful and elegant as its name and prized in Japan and China for its medicinal properties.  I love their earthy fragrance, and the nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms in my mushroom donabe rice recipe but for my vegan miso soup, I infuse the dried mushrooms to make the broth.

 

I am leaving these Maitake mushrooms in the sun for 2-3 days, until they are completely dry and flakey. I hope to get another sunny day, otherwise, these guys will go moldy on me and I will have to wait until next summer.  But who knows, LA might be in for an endless summer.

 

Day 2

 

 

We are still having good beach weather in Southern California, with temperatures in the high 80s, even 90s.  My neighbor Ellen had a big party last night that went late but she didn't  miss her Sunday walk with me on the Santa Monica boardwalk. People were on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, jogging,rollerblading, etc. When I got home, I had lots of things I wanted to do; one of them was dehydrating mushrooms.

 

Dehydrating vegetables intensifies their flavor, alter, and often improve their texture. Like dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Maitake mushrooms make a great vegan broth. I decided to make some for my breakfast miso soup.  More miso soup?  You bet.  I am on a breakfast miso soup roll.

 

Maitake means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  They are as beautiful and elegant as its name and prized in Japan and China for its medicinal properties.  I love their earthy fragrance, and the nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms in my mushroom donabe rice recipe but for my vegan miso soup, I infuse the dried mushrooms to make the broth.

 

I am leaving these Maitake mushrooms in the sun for 2-3 days, until they are completely dry and flakey. I hope to get another sunny day, otherwise, these guys will go moldy on me and I will have to wait until next summer.  But who knows, LA might be in for an endless summer.

 

Day 2

 

 

We are still having good beach weather in Southern California, with temperatures in the high 80s, even 90s.  My neighbor Ellen had a big party last night that went late but she didn't  miss her Sunday walk with me on the Santa Monica boardwalk. People were on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, jogging,rollerblading, etc. When I got home, I had lots of things I wanted to do; one of them was dehydrating mushrooms.

 

Dehydrating vegetables intensifies their flavor, alter, and often improve their texture. Like dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Maitake mushrooms make a great vegan broth. I decided to make some for my breakfast miso soup.  More miso soup?  You bet.  I am on a breakfast miso soup roll.

 

Maitake means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  They are as beautiful and elegant as its name and prized in Japan and China for its medicinal properties.  I love their earthy fragrance, and the nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms in my mushroom donabe rice recipe but for my vegan miso soup, I infuse the dried mushrooms to make the broth.

 

I am leaving these Maitake mushrooms in the sun for 2-3 days, until they are completely dry and flakey. I hope to get another sunny day, otherwise, these guys will go moldy on me and I will have to wait until next summer.  But who knows, LA might be in for an endless summer.

 

Day 2

 

 

We are still having good beach weather in Southern California, with temperatures in the high 80s, even 90s.  My neighbor Ellen had a big party last night that went late but she didn't  miss her Sunday walk with me on the Santa Monica boardwalk. People were on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, jogging,rollerblading, etc. When I got home, I had lots of things I wanted to do; one of them was dehydrating mushrooms.

 

Dehydrating vegetables intensifies their flavor, alter, and often improve their texture. Like dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Maitake mushrooms make a great vegan broth. I decided to make some for my breakfast miso soup.  More miso soup?  You bet.  I am on a breakfast miso soup roll.

 

Maitake means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  They are as beautiful and elegant as its name and prized in Japan and China for its medicinal properties.  I love their earthy fragrance, and the nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms in my mushroom donabe rice recipe but for my vegan miso soup, I infuse the dried mushrooms to make the broth.

 

I am leaving these Maitake mushrooms in the sun for 2-3 days, until they are completely dry and flakey. I hope to get another sunny day, otherwise, these guys will go moldy on me and I will have to wait until next summer.  But who knows, LA might be in for an endless summer.

 

Day 2

 

 

We are still having good beach weather in Southern California, with temperatures in the high 80s, even 90s.  My neighbor Ellen had a big party last night that went late but she didn't  miss her Sunday walk with me on the Santa Monica boardwalk. People were on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, jogging,rollerblading, etc. When I got home, I had lots of things I wanted to do; one of them was dehydrating mushrooms.

 

Dehydrating vegetables intensifies their flavor, alter, and often improve their texture. Like dried Shitake mushrooms, dried Maitake mushrooms make a great vegan broth. I decided to make some for my breakfast miso soup.  More miso soup?  You bet.  I am on a breakfast miso soup roll.

 

Maitake means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese.  They are as beautiful and elegant as its name and prized in Japan and China for its medicinal properties.  I love their earthy fragrance, and the nutty and smoky flavors.  I use fresh Maitake mushrooms in my mushroom donabe rice recipe but for my vegan miso soup, I infuse the dried mushrooms to make the broth.

 

I am leaving these Maitake mushrooms in the sun for 2-3 days, until they are completely dry and flakey. I hope to get another sunny day, otherwise, these guys will go moldy on me and I will have to wait until next summer.  But who knows, LA might be in for an endless summer.

 

Day 2

Maitake (Dried)  HOSHI-MAITAKE  - 干し舞茸

Dried Maitake Mushrooms are used for making vegan broths.  The flavor of dried Maitake mushrooms is milder than dried Shitake mushrooms.   I use homemade dried Maitake mushrooms, HOSHI MAITAKE to make my vegan broth.  You can find dried Maitake, HOSHI-MAITAKE in the dried mushrooms section in the Japanese grocery store.  Maitake is appreciated in Japan and China for their medicinal properties.

 Dried Maitake -HOSHI-MAITAKE 

 Storage: Keep the dried mushrooms in a sealed container.  

SHITAKE - Shitake - 椎茸

 

SHITAKE is a mushroom that has been cultivated in Asia for more than 1000 years.  It is appreciated for its flavor, fragrance and its medicinal properties -  helps  enhance the immune system, lowers cholesterol, and is said to have an anti-cancer effect.

 

  Look for the ones that have a firm shiny cap and white gills.  

Suggestions for cooking: Remove stems and slice caps.  Shitake is an all purpose ingredient that works in soups, Nabe, rice dishes, braised, grilled and sauteed dishes.  

 

Storage:  Cover Shitake with plastic or put in a Tupperware and store it in the fridge. 

TORORO KOMBU - とろろ昆布


  
 

  Tororo Kombu                                                            

                                           

Packaged Tororo Kombu

TORORO KOMBU is shaved kombu. Ochre in color. It can easily be mistaken as shreds ofcloth.  In ancient times, TORORO KOMBU used remnants of kombu that Japanese kombu growers used in enhancing soups and dishes; later TORORO KOMBU turned into a delicacy. The kombu is brushed with vinegar and shaved into fine threads. As in all kombu, it has a lot of umami, savoriness, and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibers.  The texture of hydrated TORORO KOMBU is slimy but this sliminess is a texture many Japanese people adore.  Other slimy foods are natto (fermented soybeans), okra, yamaimo potato.

 

Suggestions for cooking:  TORORO is used as an incgredient for clear soup (SUIMONO) or miso soup. Just add a couple of tablespoons of dried TORORO directly into the soup and season it with soysauce or miso.  TORORO adds a nice savory flavor to soups. 

 Storage: Keep in air tight container;

 
 
Tororo Kombu



TORORO KOMBU is shaved kombu. Ochre in color, it looks like fine shreds of
fabric. TORORO KOMBU is picked in vinegar and then dried.  It is high in vitamins and minerals, and popular diet food. 
 
How to use in your cooking:  TORORO is used as an incgredient for clear soup (SUIMONO) or miso soup. Just add a couple of tablespoons of dried TORORO directly into the soup and season it with soysauce or miso.  TORORO adds a nice savory flavor to soups.

Storage: Keep in air tight container.

Tororo Kombu



TORORO KOMBU is shaved kombu. Ochre in color, it looks like fine shreds of
fabric. TORORO KOMBU is picked in vinegar and then dried.  It is high in vitamins and minerals, and popular diet food. 
 
How to use in your cooking:  TORORO is used as an incgredient for clear soup (SUIMONO) or miso soup. Just add a couple of tablespoons of dried TORORO directly into the soup and season it with soysauce or miso.  TORORO adds a nice savory flavor to soups.

Storage: Keep in air tight container.

Tororo Kombu



TORORO KOMBU is shaved kombu. Ochre in color, it looks like fine shreds of
fabric. TORORO KOMBU is picked in vinegar and then dried.  It is high in vitamins and minerals, and popular diet food. 
 
How to use in your cooking:  TORORO is used as an incgredient for clear soup (SUIMONO) or miso soup. Just add a couple of tablespoons of dried TORORO directly into the soup and season it with soysauce or miso.  TORORO adds a nice savory flavor to soups.

Storage: Keep in air tight container.

YUZU 柚子

Yuzu is a citrus that looks like a golf size grapefruit.  It has bumpy skin and lots of seeds, and doesn't look like much, but in Japan, it is prized for its aromatic zest and tangy juice. Yuzu is used as a garnish for a variety of dishes, and to enhance flavors of dipping sauces.  In the U.S., you can find unripe green Yuzu in the fall; the ripe yellow ones come out in late November.  Both are very fragrant.  Yuzu can be found at the Japanese markets. Yuzu makes an aromatic bath water. I use left over yuzu halves and throw them into the steaming water.  The fragrance is incredibly calming. 

 

  Unripe green  yuzu 

 

 Ripe yellow yuzu

Suggestions for cooking:  Mince, chop or use slivers of the zest.  The juice makes a delicious ponzu sauce for grilled vegetables, meats and seafood. You need just a few slivers or a pinch to enhance the dish.

Recipes: Ojiya, Winter Nabe, Mushroom Rice.

Storage: Keep it wrapped in plastic and store in the refrigerator.

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