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UNIQUE JAPANESE FOOD


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Last update July 27, 2011




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食べ物  Food Tabemono [tah-beh-moh-noh]
*: Kanji representation of the food name seldom used in modern day Japan.
 kabayaki   かばやき, 蒲焼き
 Pronunciation  [kah・bah・yah・key]
Fish Fillet Barbecue  or a sauce-barbecued fish fillet

kabayaki Kabayaki refers to the cooking technique in which fishes are sliced into fillets, deboned, and grilled with sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake. The most popular fish cooked this way is the eel; however, other species such as sea eels, daggertooth pike congers are also used. The origin of the name Kabayaki is probably derived from the appearance of the cooked food, which looks like a piece of birch bark (kaba: birch) or a cattail ear (the kanji representing this plant).
(Photo: Kabayaki of an eel.)

 kaiware daikon   かいわれだいこん, 穎割れ*大根
 Pronunciation  [kah・ee・wah・reh・dah・ee・koh・n]
Radish Sprouts 

kaiware daikon Kaiware daikon refers to radish (daikon) sprouts with seed leaves, usually water cultured and collected in groups. Featuring a refreshingly pungent taste, it's popularly used as an condiment for dip sauces, ingredient for soups or consumed as salad with soy sauce or other dressing.
(Photo: Kaiware daikon served with sashimi.)

 kakiage   かきあげ, 掻き揚げ
 Pronunciation  [kah・key・ah・ghe]
Tempura Jumble  or ingredients-mixed tempura

A kind of tempura of minute vegetable strips (e.g. carrots and gobo), small shrimps and seafood, or other small ingredients mixed and bundled together with batter and fried as one piece. Often used as a topping for udon or soba, as well as for tempura (or kakiage) donburi.

 kamaboko   かまぼこ, 蒲鉾*
 Pronunciation  [kah・mah・boh・koh]
Fish Cake Aboard  or a boiled fish paste cake on a board

kamaboko A fish paste product made from white fish flesh. The fish paste is usually formed into a half-circular cylinder and placed on a square wooden plate for steam-boiling. For its simple taste and slippery texture, it can be enjoyed like sashimi by slicing it into thin pieces, and eaten with soy sauce and wasabi. It's also combined with other ingredients for various dishes. There are beautifully colored types often used for osechi ryori (New Year's dishes), a crab-flesh like type called kani kamaboko (kani: crab), and cheeze kamaboko (stick type) mixed with cheeze.
(Photo: Kamaboko served like sashimi.)

 kanten   かんてん, 寒天
 Pronunciation  [kah・n・teh・n]
Seaweed Jelly  or agar(-agar)

kanten The Kanten is a jelly-like substance made from a kind of red algae through freezing process. Widely used as an ingredient for Japanese sweets including yokan, mitsu mame (fruit slices and dumpling mixed in black syrup), or healthy diet food since the material contains very low calorie. Awa yuki kanten (light snow kanten) specifically refers to a type prepared by mixing beaten egg white and kanten, which features a mild sponge-like texture.
(Photo: Awayuki kanten made from beaten egg white and kanten.)

 kashiwa mochi   かしわもち, 柏餅
 Pronunciation  [kah・she・wah・moh・chee]
Oak Rice Cake  or a oak leaf wrapped rice cake

kashiwamochi Sweet mochi with an inside, wrapped in a leaf (not edible) of kashiwa (Japanese oak tree often called Daimyo oak). This species of oak is known for retaining its leaves until the new sprouts coming out: analogy meaning that parents never die before children are born (one's family conitnues forever). Based on this idea, kashiwa mochi is popularly eaten on the Children's Day (May 5) in Japan. The sweet was introduced throughout Japan in the Edo Period (1603 - 1867), through the practice of daimyo's sankin kotai (mandatory living in the capital and territory by turn).

 kasutera   カステラ
 Pronunciation  [kah・sue・teh・rah]
Castilla Cake  or a Japanese sponge cake

kasutera A Japanese sponge cake made of eggs, wheat flour, sugar or mizu ame (starch syrup). Compared with ordinary sponge cakes, its texture is wet and thick, giving the teeth a comfortable elastic feeling. The name kasutera can be traced back to the Portuguese word "Castela" (Castilla: a kingdom in the Middle Age Spain). Ones produced in Nagasaki prefecture is especially famous.

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