Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Oil. 油。

In the Japanese kitchen, this points at cooking oil (used for frying and deep-frying) or edible oil (used for dressing salads).

The following types are popular in Japan (in all cases the seeds of the plants are used):

Aburana, 油菜, made from rapeseed. The oil is called natane-abura (菜種油); in English it is called canola oil. This is the most common cooking oil in Japan. Strong against oxidation and heat.

[Natane-abura or canola oil]

Daizu, 大豆, soybeans. The cheapest type of cooking oil, usually mixed with other oils as it has a particular smell.

Tomorokoshi, トウモロコシ, corn / maize. Strong against oxidation and heat and often used in stir-frying (itamemono). Has a particular fragrance.

Himawari, ひまわり, sunflower. Has a very light taste and is often used in dressings.

Goma, ごま, sesame. In the case of cooking oil, the seeds are normally roasted before pressing. In the Kanto area popular in tempura restaurants. When used as salad oil, the seeds are not roasted, but as a result the typical sesame fragrance is missing. As sesame oil is thick and heavy, it is often blended with rapeseed oil or soybean oil before actual use.

[Goma-abura or sesame oil]

Safurawa (benibana), サフラワー / 紅花, safflower. Contains much linoleic acid and oleic acid.

Watazoku, 綿属, cotton plant. A high-class oil with a round taste.

Kome (nuka), 米 (糠), rice (rice bran). Rice bran oil has a high cooking point and is suitable for stir-frying and deep-frying. It is also rich in vitamins. This is an expensive oil.

Rakkasei, 落花生, peanuts. Used in especially the Chinese (Cantonese) kitchen, together with oyster sauce.

Oribu, オリーブ, olives. Olive oil is also produced in japan, since the early 20th c., and is used in Italian dishes and in salad dressings.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Snowpea. (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum). サヤエンドウ。

A variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. The pod is soft because it lacks inedible fiber. In France called "mangetout" (eat all).

In Japan, used whole as an ingredient in stir-fried dishes or as ingredient in for example miso soup. Sauteed, the green shoots of the snowpea are popular in Chinese cooking as well.

Sayaendo (snow peas)