My blog is an outlet for me to share and record the dishes and recipes that I have a deep and emotional connection to. Because of this, I realize that there are a lot of dishes and terms that I use that are specific to my background. And, I frequently forget to explain these – so I figure, why not create a list of definitions and descriptions. It’s a running list. Leave in the comment terms I forget to define or need to define. Enjoy.
- Hon Dashi – Or “bonito broth” powder is essentially a fish bouillon made with the Bonito fish. Can be found in many Japanese and Asian supermarkets. If you cannot find Hon Dashi, then you may use Katsuoboshi, skipjack tuna flakes, and simmering on low heat for at least 15 minutes. Used in: Zaru Noodles
- Katsuoboshi – Dried skipjack tuna used primarily for flavoring on dishes to provide a subtle fishy flavor. Sold originally in block form, but commercially pre shaved in individual packages. If you cannot find Katsuoboshi, you may substitute Hon Dashi or bonito broth. When I was little I liked putting this on top of hot dishes, the flakes move because of the temperature. It was pretty awesome. Used in: Zaru Noodles
- Kombu – A type of seaweed that is commonly found in East Asian dishes as a broth base. Most commonly found in the Asian markets in it’s dried form, it is used for it’s flavoring to make broths. At some specialty stores you can find it in powder form, which can also be used. Used in: Zaru Noodles
- Mirin – A Japanese sweet rice wine. It’s similar to sake but lower in alcohol content and usually almost half sugar. It provides an additional flavor profile beyond just the sweetness you would get from sugar. Used in: Brussel Sprouts, Zaru Noodles
- Nori – the Japanese name for various types of seaweed. Just think the stuff you eat with sushi. You can find it in many forms in the Asian grocery store from flavored (for snacking) to large sheets (for sushi) to pre-cut (for topping). For most dishes, make sure you get the un-seasoned kind. For snacking, definitely get the seasoned kind. Used in: Zaru Noodles
- Poaching – Process of cooking something on very low heat in liquid (broth, water, moonshine). As opposed to boiling (high heat) or braising (little liquid), poaching uses enough liquid to submerge something and a low heat. It’s perfect for soft or fragile foods. Stuff that would normally fall apart or dry out from too high of a heat or too violent of a boil.
- Roux – A thickening agent usually made with flour and some sort of fat. I usually use butter, but having a new affinity towards lard. It’s very common in cream sauces and gravies. To make, just heat the oil/fat and then add the flour and stir. Cook the mixture until the flour is cooked through (a couple of minutes) and then add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Example: Mac and Cheese
- Shichimi Togarashi – A Japanese chili pepper that is commonly used for udon soup dishes. The peppers contain chili flakes, ginger, orange peel, sesame seeds, and other ingredients. You can commonly find it at your local Asian supermarket. I love it on everything. Used in: Cold Somen Salad