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Japanese vocabulary: ponzu, dashi, mochi, foretake and other terms and dishes

There are thousands of cafes with rolls and sushi in Moscow. Did you know that rolls are an American invention and you can hardly find them in Japan? In the wake of the resurgence of Japanese cuisine, this time for real, Afisha Daily publishes a guide to the main words you need to know before going to a restaurant.

Algae: kombu, wakame and noriF

The most popular used for food

Kombu seaweed sheets are large and thick, they are added to soups and salads, seasoned with rice. Kombu is known in Russia as seaweed. It is dried, pickled, ground into powder and eaten raw. Wakame is a thin, slightly sweet seaweed with a silky texture. Most often it is added to miso soup and salads. Dried nori resembles thin sheets of green paper. Rolls and onigiri are wrapped in nori.


Japanese green horseradish, companion of sushi and sashimi

A plant related to horseradish. A spicy green paste is made from its stem. The most valuable are the stems of wasabi, growing in cool running water – they are more fragrant and spicy.

Plantations are located on the slope of the mountain, along which spring water continuously flows. Such wasabi is not crushed into a paste, but rubbed directly into a plate before serving. They differ in a shade of color from bright green to almost pure yellow and nuances of taste.


Pickled ginger for sushi

Pickled ginger is part of the world of tsukemono, Japanese pickled vegetables. Gary are slices of thinly sliced ​​young pink or white ginger marinated in vinegar and sugar. We saw them every time we ordered rolls or sushi. And as with wasabi, here you need to understand: the quality of ginger can be very different.

There is another type of pickled ginger called Beni shogi. If garb is used to reset the taste between different types of sushi, then Beni shogi is just a part of many dishes, such ginger is cut thicker and marinated differently.

Dashi / dasi

The most famous Japanese broth

Broth based on kombu seaweed and katsuobushi – dried tuna. Pure minds. The most famous dashi dish is miso soup.

You’ve seen the word “dashi” in Aisha Daily articles for many years, even if they don’t talk about Japanese restaurants. The fact is that this broth is liked by many chefs – French, British, Italian or Russian, it does not matter – who prepare their own cuisine, combining quotes from any cuisine in the world.


Literally – “little balls”

The dessert is easily recognizable by the emoji depicting three multi-colored balls put on a thin bamboo stick – these are mochi balls. The dessert also has an infinite number of variations, however, unlike daikyu, the filling, in this case sauce or powder.

is not a surprise, but is always generously applied to the dessert on top. It can also be served warm: it is caramelized on the grill, baked and boiled in a hot soup with a very rich broth based on dashi, kombu and soy sauce (as you understand, this will no longer be a dessert) – the components responsible for umami.


Name and technique for both dessert and sticky rice dough

A viscous rice dough that is the basis for perhaps the most popular and recognizable dessert both in Japan and abroad – the sweet rice cake of the same name. Mochi is made from special glutinous mechanome rice, which is first boiled and kneaded to a smooth porridge, and then beaten for a long time with a heavy wooden hammer.

Mochi making is an ancient technique that has hardly changed over the ages, and is always a fun impromptu spectacle that attracts a large number of tourists and onlookers (see the video above). One of the two harvesters continuously wields a hammer.

making two blows per second with it. The role of the second harvester is to moisten the tight sweetish mass with water in a matter of seconds between hammer blows and turn it over or fold it to the center of the mortar, forming an elastic ball. At the end of this action, the dough is divided into small pieces, laid out in wax paper envelopes and distributed to the audience.

The most famous and textbook examples of mochi-based desserts are daikyu and dingo sweets. Daifuku (literally “big luck”) are small semi-circular cakes about ½ the size of a chicken egg, with a sweet red adzuki bean paste inside. In addition to sweet paste.

they also hide whole and grated fruits, sweet cream with matcher, chocolate chips, mango, melon, and all types of ice cream. And in terms of the number of variations in taste, color and texture of the fillings, they can be compared to French pasta cakes.


Soybean paste is the basis of many dishes, including soups

Thick fermented soybean paste. The process is similar to the production of soy sauce: fermentation occurs with the help of the fungus Aspergillus with barley, rice or other cereals. But unlike soy sauce for miso, beans ferment faster – from a few days, but up to several years as well. Mainly pasta is a condiment for soups, glazes for grilling and more.


Literally, “a handful [of rice]”

It is believed that the first mention of onigiri dates back to the end of the Heian era, the heyday of Japanese culture, where the author of the most significant classic Japanese novel in one of his diaries mentions rice balls that aristocrats enjoyed during picnics in nature.

Now onigiri is sold and eaten literally everywhere, and they are always put in a lunch box brought from home. However, since the 11th century, they have undergone a number of positive changes, ceasing to be just rice balls. Now they come in different shapes.

More common are balls, triangles and various animals: hares, pandas and so on. In other words, when Instagram shows you another cute video about Japanese food, where the characters are zoomorphic characters made of rice, you can be sure: this is onigiri.

Almost everything in the world can be wrapped in this “handful of rice” – umeboshi plum, kimchi, bulgogi pork, crab salad with kyai mayonnaise, sea urchin caviar, vegetables, chikenkatsu (the same as ton katsu, only with chicken), shrimp, parmesan and an infinite number of other equally tasty ingredients.

Onigiri is pan-fried, seared with a gas burner, wrapped in a pickled sesame leaf, rolled in foretake or dried tuna shavings, wrapped in nori leaves, and even served neat, cold or hot, like the aristocrats of the Heian era.

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