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UNIQUE JAPANESE FOOD


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Last update July 27, 2011




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Hiragana and Katakana List
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Japanese Proverbs


食べ物  Food Tabemono [tah-beh-moh-noh]
*: Kanji representation of the food name seldom used in modern day Japan.
 sansho   さんしょう, 山椒
 Pronunciation  [sah・n・shoh--]
Sansho Pepper  or Japanese prickly ash condiment

The sansho or Japanese prickly ash is a shrub plant, whose young leaves and fruits are eaten in various ways. The young leaves, for its vivid green color and bracing, inspiriting aroma, are often added to grilled food or nimono as an embellishment; or to suimono (clear soup) as a suikuchi (garnish to add flavor and aroma). Sansho young green fruits are used for tsukudani or mixed with chirimen jako, while ripen fruits are dried and pulverized into powder and used as pepper for kabayaki.

 sashimi   さしみ, 刺(し)身
 Pronunciation  [sah・she・me]
Fish Slices  or fresh fish flesh slices

sashimi A typical Japanese cuisine prepared from fresh-from-water fish without using any heat-involved process: a sophisticated way to enjoy the delicacy and subtlety of a natural, pristine savor of fish to its best. Served in sharp-cut slices, and eaten lightly dipped in wasabi-blended soy sauce. The taste and chewing feeling differ depending on the species and sizes. Usually decorated with tsuma (garnish for sashimi) such as thin threads of radish, oba or seaweeds.

 sato imo   さといも, 里芋
 Pronunciation  [sah・toh・ee・moh]
Japanese Taro 

satoimo Mostly cooked as nimono, sato imo is a kind of taro, featuring the soft and mildly sticky texture like mochi. One of simple but tasty recipes is salt or soy sauce-based ni korogashi (boiling until the broth is well-absorbed and almost vaporized). Nimono cooked together with squid tastes nice, too. Ton jiru (pork miso soup) or Kasu jiru (sake kasu soup) are popular soup cuisines in winter with sato imo.
(Photo: Satoimo cooked in nimono.)

 satsuma age   さつまあげ, 薩摩揚げ
 Pronunciation  [sah・two・mah・ah・gheh]
Fried Patty  or fried fish paste mixed with flour and ingredients

satsumaage Roughly speaking, satsuma age is a fried kamaboko. But it's more elaborated: a fried patty of ground fish flesh mixed with wheat flour and minutely-cut vegetables or other ingredients such as gobo, negi, onions, beni shoga and so on. Tasting mildly sweet, it's eaten sprinkled with soy sauce and grated ginger, or Japanese mustard. Also a popular item for oden. Named after the ancient county of Satsuma (presently the east region of Kagoshima prefecture). It's sometimes called tempura.

 sekihan   せきはん, 赤飯
 Pronunciation  [seh・key・hah・n]
Red Bean Rice  or glutinous rice cooked with adzuki beans

Sekihan literally means "red rice" and specifically refers to glutinous rice steamed together with adzuki beans. Often prepared at a festive occasion to celebrate something, and served with salt and black sesami sprinkles. Also called okowa. Depending on the region, other kind of beans may be used in place of adzuki, or consumed as a funereal cuisine.

 sembei   せんべい, 煎餅
 Pronunciation  [seh・m・beh・ee]
Hard Rice Cracker  or a hard baked cereal cracker

sembei Sembei is a thin, round-shaped, hard baked cracker made from cereals, mostly rice or wheat. There are many kinds depending on the material, ingredient and seasoning: soy sauce or salt seasoned; nori sheet topped; Japanese chili pepper mixed; zarame (sugar grain) covered; fried; salad oil spread, and so on. Soka sembei is the local sembei product made of rice in Soka city, Saitama prefecture. Nure sembei (wet type sembei) is a unique product featuring its soft, mochi-like texture. Tansan sembei (added with hot spring water containing carbonic acid) is wheat-based, and a specialty of a hot spring spot in Hyogo prefecture; yatsu hashi flavored with nikki (Japanese cinnamon) is a local delicacy in Kyoto, both of which have a mildly sweet taste.
(Photo: Soy sauce flavored nure sembei.)

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