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Japanese Menu terms

Agedashidofu: literally "deep-fried tofu", but as a dish a form of broth that includes deep-fried tofu which has been sprinkled with shaved fish, grated ginger and daikon.

Amaebi: sweet shrimps.

Anago: Conger eel.

Bento: a meal served in a compartmentalised box.

Bancha: the coarsest form of green tea, it contains the stems and twigs as well as the leaves, and in restaurants is often served free with a meal. See'Hojicha'

California roll: sushi 'rice' roll, filled with crab and avocado. See 'Sushi'

Calpis/calpico: a sweet non-alcoholic drink made from milk. It is similar in taste to barley water. It is diluted and served iced.

Chawan: a tea tumbler.

Chawan mushi: a savoury egg custard served in a chawan.

Chuka: Chinese.

Daikon: the Japanese word for what we call mooli; a long white radish. In Japan, it is generally grated or cut into fine strips.

Dashi: a stock made from dried bonito (a type of tuna) and konbu (seaweed).

Dobin: a clay teapot.

Dobin mushi: a dashi-based soup, made with chopped chicken, fish, ginkgo nuts, prawns and shitake mushrooms - traditionally served in a dobin.

Dofu - see Tofu

Donburi: a bowl of boiled rice with toppings -such as beef, chicken or hard-boiled egg.

Ebi: shrimp.

Edamame: soy beans, boiled in their pods and then sprinkled with salt.

Futomaki: sushi 'rice' rolls, but larger than 'maki' See 'Maki'

Gari: pickled ginger, usually pink, and served thinly sliced. Serve with sushi, to cleanse the palate between courses.

Gohan: rice.

Gunkan: round sushi, wrapped in seaweed.

Gyoza: these have their origins in Northern China, and consist of soft rice pastry cases stuffed with minced pork and herbs. They are cooked by a combination of frying and steaming, then usually eaten as an accompaniment to ramen.

Hamachi: yellowtail tuna, commonly used for sashimi; also very good grilled.

Hashi: chopsticks.

Hirame: halibut.

Hiyashi: cold.

Hiyashi chuka: literally "cold Chinese". These are ramen served cold in tsuyu, sprinkled with mixed chopped ham, chicken, cucumber, beansprouts and the like.

Hiyashi somen: somen noodles, served cold with a dipping sauce.

Hojicha: Bancha tea that has been freshly roasted. See Bancha.

Ikura: salmon roe, often used for sashimi.

Japonica: The fruit of the Japonica tree - rather like an ornamental quince.

Kaiseki ryori: a multi-course meal of Japanese haute cuisine that traditionally followed the tea ceremony.

Katakuriko: a type of wheat flour.

Kaiso: seaweed salad.

Kaiten zushi: sushi revolving on a conveyor belt.

Katsu: breaded and deep-fried meat.

Konbu: kelp (seaweed).

Maki: (pronounced 'mok-ee') meaning "roll" - so the style of small sushi where the rice and filling is rolled inside a nori wrapper. See 'Futomaki'

Mirin: sweetened rice wine.

Miso: a thick paste made from fermented soy beans. This comes in various styles ranging from sweet to salty, and is used to flavour soups and dressings.

Miso shiru: soup made from miso, and generally containing tofu and wakame.

Mugicha: barley tea, generally served iced in summer.

Nabemono: a type of dish cooked at the table, and served directly from the cooking vessel.

Natto: fermented soy beans, these have a gluey quality.

Nigri sushi: a slice of fish or other topping on top of a block of vinegared rice.

Noodles: these come in various forms the most common being -

Ramen: Chinese-style noodles.

Udon: thick, white, wheat-flour noodles.

Soba: thin, white, wheat-flour noodles

Nori: sheets of dried seaweed, used to wrap sushi.

Okonomiyaki: a stuffed "omelette", usually cooked in from of diners on a teppan.

Ponzu joyu: a mixture of citrus fruit juice and soy sauce, which is used as a dip.

Ramen: a popular form of noodle.

Robatayaki: grilled food, cooked in front of the customer, from a selection on display.

Saké: strong rice wine, being a minimum of 15% alcohol, which is usually served warm.

Sashimi: raw fish, served on its own.

Shabu shabu: a form of cooking at the table, whereby small pieces of food are dipped into a central casserole of heated stock. The cooking broth is finally shared out between the guests to finish the meal. The dish has peasant rather than restaurant origins.

Shiso: a member of the mint family, which is sometimes served with sashimi.

Shitake: a form of mushrooms, popular in Japan and the Far East, and now available in British supermarkets. See Shitake.

Shochu: a form of vodka-like spirit. This is generally distilled from potatoes, rice or wheat.

Shoyu: the Japanese name for soy sauce.

Sukiyaki: a form of cooking at the table, whereby thinly sliced beef and vegetables are cooked by boiling them over a portable stove. The cooked food is then dipped in beaten raw egg, which forms a coating on the hot food.

Sunomono: vegetables or seafood marinated for a short time in rice vinegar.

Sushi: a way of eating thin slices of raw fish and/or vegetables whereby they are decoratively served with vinegared rice - often in the shape of a roll held together with nori (a very thin sheet of dried seaweed).

Tako: octopus

Tare: a soy-based marinade, then used for the final cooking.

Teishoku: set meal.

Tekka maki: a sushi 'rice' roll, filled with tuna.

Tempura: vegetables, fish or shellfish, dipped in a very light batter and deep-fried.

Teppan: hotplate for cooking.

Teppanyaki: method of cooking thin slithers of food on a teppan in front of diners.

Teriyaki: a sauce, often used as a marinade, made with shoyu (soy), sake, sugar and spice.

Tofu: beancurd made from soy beans, this comes in either soft or firm varieties.

Tonkatsu - see Katsu.

Tsuyu: a general term for mirin soya sauce dips.

Unagi: freshwater eel.

Wakame: a type of seaweed often used in miso and in kaiso (seaweed salad).

Wasabi: a form of fiery green "horseradish" actually made from the root of an aquatic plant. It is traditionally served with sushi (when it is often used as an ingredient) and sashimi.

Yakitori: grilled chicken (this generally includes the giblets) served on skewers.

Yakimono: grilled food.

Zensai: appetisers.

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