I wanted to put together a reference for those who may not yet be familiar with Japanese cuisine and some of the ingredients commonly used to prepare it.
I’ve listed some of the basics below, but if you have an ingredient or dish that you have questions on, please ask me about it via the form at the bottom!
Kikkoman Soy Sauce, 33.8 oz Soy sauce (shoyu in Japanese). There are many different types of soy sauce, but if you want an all purpose, this is the brand that I use and would recommend. If you can’t find this brand, make sure you check the back of the label for the ingredients. Water and soybeans should be the main ingredients.Do not try to substitute any other Asian types of soy sauce when cooking Japanese cuisine, it will not come out the way you expect it to.
Mirin – 1 bottle – 25.4 fl oz This is used in all kinds of dishes from vegetables to hot-pot to stew and stir-frys. Again if you don’t get this exact one, make sure to check the ingredients on the mirin you buy.The real thing (honmirin) is made with glutinous rice and koji. If it doesn’t include those ingredients it’s not the real thing. However, if that’s all you can find it will work as a substitute.
Marukan Rice Vinegar 12 OunceI most often use rice vinegar when eating gyoza (dumplings) or if I was going to make my own sushi vinegar from scratch. Another thing to keep in mind is the ingredients. Some vinegar is made with high fructose corn syrup. You don’t want that in your food!This brand uses sugar and so this is what I use.
Hon-Dashi (Bonito Fish Soup Stock) – 2.29 oz. Dashi is an important part of Japanese cuisine. It is used for all kinds of dishes including vegetables, soups, and hot pot among other things. If you want to make this yourself, you will need a dried piece of katsuobushi fish, a kezuriki (shaver for the fish), and konbu. This little jar takes all the work out of making dashi and allows you to just add hot water.Doesn’t get easier than that!!
JFC Katsuobushi, 0.88-OunceThese are katsuobushi flakes. I mostly use these as a topping on okonomiyaki, hot rice, or stir fried noodles. The cool thing is watching these flakes move when put on hot food.It makes it come alive!
1 Year Aged True Japanese Rishiri Kombu for Dashi Broth, Medium Size Cut, 2.8ozThis is Japanese konbu (dried seaweed). The most common use for this is to add a bit of umami to your food, for example when making dashi broth. Konbu naturally has compounds called glutamates that help to enhance the flavor of food.
JFC Katakuriko Potato Starch, 12 OunceThis is used in various savory dishes to thicken the sauce of a stir fry or to coat your tofu when making agedashi tofu for example. If you don’t have this, you can always substitute with corn starch.If you don’t have this, you can always substitute with corn starch.
This is the brand that I use when I don’t want to make my mentsuyu (noodle soup base) from scratch.
All you have to do is dilute with a bit of water and it’s ready to go!
There’s two ways that you can make sushi rice. One is with liquid vinegar/sugar and the other is with this powder.
With sushinoko, you make your white rice as usual and then when it’s done, you mix this in. Instant sushi rice!
This is a blend of 7 seasonings to create a spicy pepper mix. It is multi-purpose and can be used on anything that you want to add a little spicy kick to.
It is multi-purpose and can be used on anything that you want to add a little spicy kick to.
There is another pepper called “ichimi” which means one flavor and that only has red pepper in it.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend a specific brand of sake.
I will say, though, that you should steer clear of any ‘cooking sake’ since generally, those have salt added. You don’t need extra salt.
Miso paste is a cornerstone of Japanese cuisine. It can be served as soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But it has many uses beyond soup including marinades for meat, soups, noodles, and vegetables.
But it has many uses beyond soup including marinades for meat and seafood, noodles, and vegetables.
The most common miso that you may find at the market is white or brown miso.
Depending on how well stocked your market is, they may have other types including red and miso with grains or miso with/without dashi.
If your miso does not have dashi in it “dashi-iri” （出汁入り）
you’ll need to add dashi or there won’t be enough flavor.
I was surprised to find Amazon carrying some of the rice I buy at the local Japanese market. I never thought there was a different between cheap, mid-range and expensive rice, but there is. The texture and flavor varies noticeably. I don’t buy Cal-rose anymore, which is all I used to eat. Anything in the $18+ range for a 15lb bag should be good quality and is what I would recommend.
Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice, 15-Pound
Nozomi Super Premium Short Grain Rice, 15-Pound
Here is a link to what I have posted on the Japanese recipes page!
If you have any comments or questions on these products or any other Japanese products, let me know and I’ll be happy to help you out.