8 Essential Ingredients for a Japanese Kitchen
Have you heard about Asafoetida powder? It’s called “Heeng” in local Indian language.This herb is widely used in nearly every Indian savory cuisine and is said to have qualities that improves and helps the digestive system. It has a distinct smell and flavor and you can easily recognize Indian cuisine if you have ever smelt Heeng. Similarly Chinese cuisine gets its unique flavor from the use Ajinomoto or “Chinese salt” as people call it. Singaporean cuisine is distinguishable by the use of grated coconut and coconut milk. When it comes to Japanese food, there is not one, but several ingredients. The mix of these beautiful seasonings gives you a delicious Japanese dish. Here is a list of some of the most important ingredients you will always find in a Japanese kitchen.
1. Japanese Rice
Only use Japanese rice to cook Japanese food because they are grown to suit Japanese style of cuisine. They are scentless and sticky which makes them easy to make Sushi. The Japanese rice from USA is the best and much cheaper.
2. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is one very essential ingredient in Japanese food. There are many brands but Kikkoman is the best of all and offer two types; one is the dark black and the other is lighter in color but saltier. People usually prefer the dark black one.
3. Fish Stock Powder
This powder is made from swordfish. Its use is similar to that of chicken powder or chick stock cube in western cuisine. It is used in soups, noodles and often as a marinade.
4. Japanese Mayonnaise
Japanese mayonnaise is so different in flavor and not even near to the flavor of western egg mayonnaise. It is used in salads, curries, sauces, pasta and the famous Ebi mayo.
5. Rice Vinegar
This is another important element of Japanese dishes. Mainly used in salads and sauces. Make sure to use only Japanese rice vinegar and no other rice vinegar for Japanese recipes.
This is a citrus based sauce used in salad dressing and Korean pancakes as well as hamburger seasoning.
7. Potato Starch
Often used to thicken sauce, potato starch is also used for the marinade or sauce to stick to the meat when frying and also used to make the meat crispy when deep frying.
8. Pan Ko
Belonging to the bread crumb family, these crumbs are softer and fluffier. They give fried dishes a light and beautiful crispy look. If you don’t find it, which is unlikely, you can shred white bread and use it instead.