Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Four Essential Japanese Ingredients

There are three things which I need to have to create Japanese taste. They are Soy sauce, Sake Rice Vinegar and Miso (soy bean paste) . I am happy to find all of them can be at major grocery stores such as Safeway, QFC and Albertsons around Seattle.
Soy sauce may be in kitchens of most North American houses and they came from various countries and some from US. I used soy sauce made in China and it tasted different than Japanese one. So I usually go to Japanese grocery to buy low salt soy sauce for my Japanese recipe. If I find the soy sauce produced by small company is for sale, I buy it rather than one from large producer.
Sake or Rice wine seems to be one of popular Alcoholic drinks and it can be found at wine section in most grocer stores around Seattle. I don’t buy Cooking wine made with Sake because it contains too much salt. I buy inexpensive Sake for cooking. Also cheap Sake is good to drink warm. I heat it up to be warm and serve it on cold night with my Japanese food.
Rice vinegar is useful to make Japanese flavored salad dressings and add sugar and salt to make Sushi vinegar. I often add a bit of Rice vinegar with soy sauce to pour fresh or cooked vegetables instead of soy sauce only.
We make Miso soup using Miso or soy bean paste. Miso can be used instead of soy sauce most of the recipe.
With these four ingredients, I can create Japanese full meals which are accompanied with cooked white rice.
Itadakimasu.( This is the phrase we Japanese say before eating our meal like a prayer.)

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