Glossary

  • A

    AMASAKE
    a naturally sweet cream, delicious eaten on its own as a dessert, or with the addition of fruit, fruit compote, or hazelnut or almond paste. The cream can also be used to prepare excellent puddings and sweets. It is produced by traditional methods of fermenting cereals; in fact its is made by simply adding Koii, a natural fermenter which transforms cooked rice into this delicious cream, without the need for artificial enzymes. The fermentation turns starches into sweet maltose, resulting in an exquisite sweet cream which is rich in all the nutrients of the whole grain.

    ARBI

    a ready-to-use mixture of taro (dried and pulverised taro root). Used for compresses and poultices.

    AZUKI HOKKAIDO

    red soya beans cultivated in Japan, extremely high in protein and very digestible.

  • B

    BURDOCK
    grown for many centuries by Japanese farmers, the root of this plant is one of the most commonly-used winter vegetables in Japan. Our bardana is produced by the traditional conservation method: the root is sliced thinly and left to dry in the winter sun.

    BIFUN

    noodles made of rice flour - as fine as the Chinese variety, but produced with Japanese attention to quality and tradition.

  • D

    DAIKON
    giant white radish. The flavour is similar to the ordinary radish, and it can be used sliced or grated, or pickled in brine. The root is excellent in soups, stews, sauces and salads.

    DENTIE
    a preparation consisting of salt and powdered carbonised aubergine, used for dental care.

  • F

    FU
    this is an excellent food, rich in wheat protein, for use in soups (it cooks in a few minutes), vegetable and seaweed stews (after soaking in cold water) or coated in breadcrumbs and grilled with garlic, rosemary and shoyu.

  • G

    GENMAICHA
    Genmaicha is a particular type of green tea with toasted wholegrain rice. It has a unique and very special flavour and a delicate and mild fruity aroma, and it is also excellent cold.

    GOMASIO
    in Japanese, GOMA means sesame, and SHIO means salt. Gomashio is the original name of this tasty condiment to be used directly on food, made with toasted sesame seeds and sea salt.

  • H

    HOJICHA (bancha)
    a mild-flavoured tea, delicate and without bitterness. To make hojicha, the oldest leaves are harvested from the tea plant, steamed to soften them, then oven-dried at a low, even temperature to halt any fermentation. The leaves are then left to rest for a year, and only then gently toasted.

  • I

    INSALATINI (PICKLES)
    verdure fermentate con il sale. La fermentazione può durare da qualche giorno a qualche mese. Ne esistono vari tipi: insalatini di Daikon, di Zenzero, di Cetriolo. Gli insalatini giapponesi sono veramente saporiti e bastano da soli, senza altro condimento, a ravvivare un piatto di cereali. Sono anche un graditissimo antipasto, stuzzichino o aperitivo.

  • K

    KUKICHA
    a mixture of twigs and a small amount of leaves from the tea plant. Part of the twigs are harvested every three years, part every ten years. After picking, the twigs are dried for a week and then left to rest for a year, during which they acquire their full flavour. Finally they are toasted to create this delicious mild-flavoured beverage.

    KUZU
    starch from a wild root (Pueraria lobata), used as a thickener in sauces, puddings and special beverages. Dissolve a tablespoon of kuzu in a glass of water and add to vegetables or fruit at the end of cooking. Stir until the mixture thickens and becomes transparent.

  • L

    LOTUS
    pulverised lotus root and ginger.

  • M

    MAITAKE
    a delicious mushroom, excellent in soups, sauces and stews.

    MIRIN
    a sweet rice liqueur, used for cooking or as a drink. In the kitchen, a few drops of mirin when cooking seitan or tofu, or when making sauces, give a delicious aroma and a rounded flavour that makes any dish complete.

    MISO
    a savoury fermented condiment based on soya, salt and cereals (usually rice or barley). Used instead of stock cubes in the preparation of soups and stews or in sauces. Barley miso is lighter, paler and milder in flavour, ideal in any season. Rice miso is slightly stronger and saltier, and is particularly good in winter. Hatcho miso is lower in salt and higher in protein; it is matured at high pressure and is excellent in the colder months.

    MOCHI
    made from the rice variety known as "sweet", cooked and ground until it becomes a sticky paste, then packaged in bars which are cooked for a few minutes in the oven or frying pan: it swells, becoming crispy and delicious.

    MU 16
    a beverage made from a mixture of 16 herbs. Warming and fortifying.

  • N

    NIGARI
    a natural rennet for the preparation of tofu, made from an extract of sea salt.

  • O

    OOLONG
    Oolong tea has a distinctive aromatic flavour, thanks to a process of light fermentation.

  • P

    PICKLES
    vegetables fermented with salt. Fermentation can last from several days to several months. There are various types of pickles: Daikon, Ginger, Cucumber. Japanese pickles are truly tasty and can liven up a cereal dish on their own, without other condiments. They also make delicious appetisers, snacks or aperitifs.

  • R

    RICE VINEGAR
    a delicately-flavoured condiment obtained from the fermentation of rice. Used on vegetables instead of traditional vinegar, to flavour jellies or for mild preserves.

  • S

    SEITAN
    a food rich in wheat protein, similar in consistency to meat. It is important that the seitan is prepared carefully, so that the product is soft and springy: in this case the shoyu and the mineral salts of the Kombu with which it is cooked can penetrate the wheat proteins. Excellent in stews, stuffings, coated in breadcrumbs and pan-fried etc.

    SENCHA
    a green tea made from the shoots and young spring leaves of the tea plant, without fermentation.

    SHIITAKE
    an exquisitely-flavoured mushroom variety, ideal cooked in soups and stews. Soak for 20 minutes, then slice thinly, discarding the stalk, and cook.

    SHIRATAKI
    shirataki, certified organic, is a type of traditional oriental pasta (similar to vermicelli), with a low calorie content. It is made from koniac, the root of the Amorphophallus konjac plant, which resembles a large beetroot. Koniac is high in vegetable fibre which absorbs water, giving a satiating effect. Shirataki is easy to prepare, mild-tasting and pairs well with soy sauce and other condiments.

    SHIRO MISO
    a sweet white miso. a sweet and salty condiment which can be added when cooking vegetable dishes or used in sauces.

    SHISO
    leaves of Perilla frutescens which are left to cure before being used to prepare Umeboshi. Sour and salt, they are an excellent accompaniment for vegetable dishes, and the whole leaves can also be used to prepare rolls of tofu or cereals.

    SHOYU
    soy sauce - a savoury liquid condiment, fermented for 12 to 18 months and made from soya, wheat, water and salt. A light liquid, ideal for any purpose and particularly useful for flavouring cereals, pulses and vegetables, it is added at the end of cooking.

    SURIBACHI
    a hard terracotta mortar with a conical shape and a ridged interior surface. With a light pressure and rotation of the pestle, seeds and vegetables can be ground, tofu and other ingredients creamed, miso steeped, etc.

    SEAWEED Arame
    this seaweed is the mildest-tasting, and requires very brief cooking (soak for 10 minutes and cook for 10 minutes in water and shovu), eaten as a side dish, in salads etc.

    SEAWEED Dulse
    eaten cooked in soups, or soak for a few minutes and use raw, added to salads.

    SEAWEED Hijiki
    soak for half an hour and cook for 20 minutes in water and shovu, on its own or with thinly-sliced vegetables.

    SEAWEED Kanten
    a seaweed for set desserts and jellies, it comes in the form of a bar or in strands or flakes. On cooking, it melts in just a few minutes, and sets as it cools.

    SEAWEED Kombu
    when cooked with pulses, this seaweed reduces cooking times and makes them more digestible. It is also excellent for the preparation of delicious vegetable stock.

    SEAWEED Nori
    toasted quickly over a flame, then cut in thin strips or crumbled, this seaweed is used as a condiment for all kinds of vegetable or cereal dishes. It can also be used to prepare cereal or vegetable rolls (sushi).

    SEAWEED Wakame
    soak for 10 minutes then cook with vegetables for soups. This seaweed is also excellent eaten raw, chopped and added to salads.

    SHISO LEAVES
    leaves of Perilla frutescens. The flavour is sour and salty; these leaves are used for rolls and pickles (eg umeboshi).

  • T

    TAHINI
    a cream made from hulled sesame seeds; high in proteins, minerals and unsaturated fats. Extremely versatile, it can be used to prepare creams, sauces and desserts.

    TAKUAN
    a pickle with an intense and distinctive flavour. It is made with daikon (Japanese giant radish), fermented with rice bran and salt.

    TAMARI
    a naturally-fermented soy sauce with a rich flavour; denser than shoyu. It is particularly suited for use directly on cereal and pasta dishes or salads.

    TEKKA
    a condiment made from roots and miso, with an intense and distinctive flavour, used in small quantities on cereal and vegetable dishes.

    TEMPEH
    the richest of the vegetable proteins, tempeh is made from cooked and fermented soya. Extremely flavourful, it is used like tofu.

    TOFU
    tofu is rich in vegetable proteins and has a texture similar to fresh cheese. It is made by curdling soya milk. Extremely versatile: it can be cooked in stews, grilled, fried, used in stuffings etc.

  • U

    UME
    a concentrate of ume plums, obtained by lengthy cooking of plum juice. Dissolve small quantities in boiling water.

    UMEBOSHI
    a particular variety of plum, harvested while still sour and cured in salt with the addition of shiso leaves, which colour them pink. During the maturation, the plums develop a sour and salty flavour, excellent to accompany any vegetable dish. Umeboshi plums are good for the digestion.

  • W

    WASABI
    a root similar to our horseradish, wasabi is an essential ingredient of sushi. The powdered root is mixed with a little water and left to rest for a few minutes.

  • Z

    ZENZERO
    Radice aromatica e piccante, utilizzata come condimento.

    ZUPPE
    una buona zuppa è il miglior modo per iniziare il pasto. In particolare la zuppa di miso andrebbe consumata regolarmente, una volta al giorno.
    Zuppa di miso
    mettere in ammollo 5-8 cm di alga wakame per 5 minuti. Tagliare l'alga a strisce e metterle nella pentola con 4-5 tazze d'acqua. Fare bollire l'alga per qualche minuto, aggiungere 1 cipolla tagliata fine a mezzaluna e lasciare bollire per alcuni minutisenza coperchio. Aggiungere carote tagliate fini o altre radici e lasciare bollire per qualche minuto ancora.
    Aggiungere foglie verdi fresche (ad esempio broccoli) e cuocere per altri pochi minuti (in totale 15 minuti circa). Sciogliere 1 cucchiaio abbondante di miso in un pò di brodo prelevato dalla zuppa. Aggiungere il miso e far sobbollire per 2 minuti. Guarnire con cipollotto fresco taglaito finemente.

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