Glossary of Japanese food terms

Not sure what all those Japanese Food names are… following is a glossary of Japanese Food terms to help you choose your dishes

[ a ]
abura = oil
aburaage = puffed thinly fried tofu slices
aemono = cooked salad or foods in vinegar dressing or sauces
age = fried
agedashi tofu = tofu blocks, lightly dusted with potatoe starch, deep fried till golden brown, served in a hot tentsuyu broth made of dashi mirin and shoyu, topped with finely chopped negi, grated daikon and sometimes grated ginger
agemono = fried foods
aji no moto = MSG a.k.a monosodium glutamate
aka miso = red soy bean paste
asa gohan = breakfast
azuki = small red bean

[ b ]
beni shoga = red pickled ginger finely chopped
bento – traditional lunch box you take with you
biru = beer
bonito = english word for katsuo, is a type of fish
buta = pork

[ c ]
chazuke = rice with various toppings and green tea is poured over

[ d ]
daikon = a giant long white, carrot shaped Japanese radish
dango = dumplings
dashi = a soup stock made from kelp and fish – very basic to Japanese cooking
dengaku = tofu or konnyaku broiled with sweet miso
donburi = dishes that are cooked and on rice

[ e ]
ebi = cooked shrimp or prawn
edamame = green soy beans with skin on, served cold in summer, warm in winter
enoki = long, thin, white mushrooms

[ f ]
fugu = blowfish requires a licence for preparation as it is poisonous if prepared incorrectly
fuki = a fibrous vegetable often simmered in broth
futomaki = large sushi roll, often inside out sushi

[ g ]
genmai = brown rice
geta = awooden block used at a sushi bar as a plate
gohan = formal word for rice, also means a ‘meal’
goma = sesame seeds
gyoza = a dumpling – pan-fried, sautéed and/or steamed
gyu = beef a.k.a gyudon, gyu tataki

[ h ]
harusame = thin, semi transparent bean gelatine noodles, same or similar to vermicelli noodles
hashi = chopsticks
hijiki = a variety of black seaweed in tiny threads seaweed
hiru gohan = lunch
hiya yakko = blocks of cold tofu
hiyashi = cold
hiyashi bachi = served chilled in a bowl with ice and cold water
hocho = general term for knives
horenso = spinach
hotatagai = scallops

[ i ]
iidako = small octopus
ika = Squid
ikura = salmon roe
inari sushi = aburage (see above) stuffed with sushi rice
iwashi = sardine

[ j ]
ji chan = grandpa (nothing to do with food unless jichan is cooking)

[ k ]
karaage = chicken marinated in shoyu, ginger and garlic, lightly dusted in potato starch and deep fried, served on shredded cabbage with a slice of lemon and a dab of mayo
kai = a generic term for shellfish
kaiseki ryori = elaborate Kyoto style cuisine
kajiki = swordfish
kani = crab
katsu = cutlet, usually pork cutlet
kareh katsu = curry sauce poured over pork cutlet
katsuo = bonito fish
katsuobushi = dried bonito fish to make dashi
kinako = parched soya bean flour
kinoko = generic term for mushrooms
kissaten = coffee shop
kohi = coffee
koi = Saltwater carp
kombu = Kelp, possibly dried
konbu = kelp (used in making dashi)
kuro goma = black sesame seeds
kurodai = snapper
kyuri = Japanese cucumber

[ l ]
there is no ‘l’ in japanese.
‘l’ and ‘r’ are consolidated in to the 1 sound ‘ra-ri-ru-re-ro’

[ m ]
maguro = tuna
manju = sweet bun filled with azuki
masu = trout
mirin = sweetened cooking sake
miso = a fermented paste of soya beans and either barley or rice, with salt – basic to Japanese cookery and especially miso soup. miso is highly flavored and rich in protein
mizu = water
mochi = sweet glutinous rice cakes
momo = peach
mori soba = cold buckwheat noodles served on a bamboo screen
moyashi = bean sprouts
mushimono = steamed foods

[ n ]
nabemono = dishes that are hearty wintertime specialties, fish, various other seafood, chicken, meat and/or vegetables in a bubbling pot right at your table. serving trays piled high with raw ingredients arrive at the table, then everyone pitches in with the cooking, finally eating together out of the communal pot
nama = a prefix meaning raw food or draught beer
nasu = an Eggplant or Aubergine
natto = fermented soy bean
negi = a Japanese onion, a.k.a spring onion
nigiri(sushi) = hand-made sushi where the fish is cut and layed over a small bed of rice
nihonshu = a type of sake rice wine (being consumed at the time of writing this)
niku = beef
niku udon = a simple dish, thinly sliced caremlised beef strips with thick udon noodles
in a hot sweet soup broth
nimono = simmered or boiled foods
ninja = a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan who specialized in unorthodox warfare
nori = purple laver seaweed pressed and toasted as thin sheets

[ o ]
oocha = green tea
ochazuke = rice and tea soup
oishi = tastes goooood! like, really good! must be said loud…
okonomiyaki = Japanese savoury cabbage pancake containig a variety of ingredients, sometimes weird ingredients
onigiri = balls made with plain steamed rice with various stuffings
oshibori = moistened heated towel to wash your hands

[ p ]
sorry nothing much happening in ‘p’

[ q ]
even less in ‘q’

[ r ]
renkon = lotus roots
rice = the foundation of err… everything in all asian cuisine

[ s ]
sake = all Japanese alcohol is called sake, but you and I know it as rice wine. but its actually nothing like wine but more like a beer process, a story for another time
shochu = 25-40% spirit made from potatoes or rice
sansho = Japanese pepper
sashimi = usually slices of raw seafood, such as tuna or salmon or octopus, served on a platter with thinly sliced ginger, finely shredded radish, and wasabi and shoyu. Italians have a version called ‘carpaccio’
senbei = thin, crisp rice crackers
shirumono = Japanese term for soup
shiitake = type of Japanese mushroom
shiratake = translucent rubbery noodles
shiro goma = White sesame seeds
shiro miso = White soy bean paste
shiso = Japanese mint
shoga = Ginger root
shogayaki don = gingered pork on shredded cabbage with mayo and 7 spices
shoyu = soy sauce, mixed with the wasabi for dipping the sushi, low-salt alternative is available
soba = buckwheat noodles
somen = white, threadlike wheat noodles
soy sauce = salty sauce made from fermented soybeans
su or awaze-zu = sushi vinegar
su = rice vinegar
suimono = clear soup
sukiyaki = thin strips of beef, vegies, slowly cooked or simmered in a shallow pot at the table. before being eaten, the ingredients are usually dipped in a light ponzu sauce
sukiyaki don = same as above but cooked in a thickened sauce and put on rice
sunomon = vinegared foods
sushi = delicacies made with fish, seafood or vegetables moulded on top of vinegared moulded rice fingers
sushimeshi = rice for preparing sushi
suzuki = sea bass, or often some one’s name, and even a motorcycle

[ t ]
takenoko = bamboo shoots
tako = octopus
takoyaki = osaka style battered ball shaped things with diced octopus inside, with osaka style sauce, mayo, red ginger, nori flakes and katsuobushi flakes
takuwan = pickled daikon
tamago yaki = fried egg
tare = a thick sauce, usually soy-based and slightly sweetened
tamago = egg
tataki = grilled on the surface, then finely chopped
tazuna sushi = aka Rainbow roll – a roll with diagonal strips of food across the top
temaki = hand rolls, usually cone-shaped
tempura = seafood or vegetables, battered and deep-fried usually in a light batter. In many ways, Tempura is an archetypal Japanese food. “All the essential qualities of Japanese cuisine are reflected in its preparation: the use of absolutely fresh ingredients, the artful presentation, and the perfection of technique by a skilled chef. The result is one of the triumphs of Japanese cooking; a fried food that is light and fresh-tasting rather than heavy and greasy. It’s a cooking style in which the essence of the ingredient itself completely defines the taste
teriyaki = broiled foods marinated in a sweet soy sauce
tobiko = flying fish roe
tofu = set soya bean curd
togarashi = whole dried hot red peppers
tonkatsu = pork cutlet, breaded then fried.
tori = chicken
tsukemono = pickles

[ u ]
udon = thick, wide wheat noodles
umeboshi = small, bitter, pickled Japanese plum
unagi = grilled or smoked eel
unagi maki = eel roll
uni = sea urchin
usukuchi shoyu = light Japanese soy sauce

[ w ]
wakame = lobe-leaf seaweed, possibly dried, in strands
wasabi = Japanese horseradish style flavoring, comes in tubes or powder. maya’s bachan (grandma) has a wasabi farm on the side of a mountain and it’s very cool

[ x ]
nothing at all happening under ‘x’

[ y ]
yaki = grilled, toasted, cooked
yakimono = broiled foods
yakinori = toasted seaweed
yakitori = skewer-grilled foods
yakumi = one of several strongly flavored seasonings that are accompaniments to some dishes

[ z ]
‘z’ is dead man… ‘z’ is dead