All posts filed under: This Month’s Ingredient

5 kinds of Japanese Shoyu 醤油

Plays an enormous part in Japanese food tradition and culture – from Sushi to Ramen, soya sauce has never been left out. I once heard from a Japanese old man said, “without soya sauce, nothing tastes right”. Although I found it rather subjective, it was actually not too difficult to understand his sentiments. Besides adding flavour to our food, soya sauce itself is said to be a good food to our bodies. Since it goes through an unique fermentation process, healthy bacteria are produced along the way which help us to improve digestion and appetite. To Choose There are 5 kinds of soya sauce which cater to each and every specific needs. Here are their differences.– 濃口醤油 Koikuchi Dark Soya Sauce The most common type of soya sauce found in Japan. In a bright dark red-brown colour, it contains at least 16% of salt content. Besides tastes relatively salty, it also gives out a strong flavour of unmami with a mellow tinge of sweetness, sourness and bitterness. Uses Besides adding fragance and taste to your cooking, it can be used alone …

Japanese Radish, Daikon 大根

Best available from November to March, though Daikon can be easily found all across Japan almost anytime. They are rich in folic acid, Vitamin C and anthocyanins and said to be an effective cancer-fighting food source. Also relatively low in calories, cholesterol, fat and high in roughage and water content, is an excellent food choice those who on weight control and diet programme.

Quintessence of a perfect Dashi, Katsuo-bushi かつお節

“Mummy, look! The Katsuo-bushi is dancing on top of the rice.” June would always say whenever I serve her rice with Katsuo-bushi. What is Katsuo-Bushi? Katsuo-bushi かつお節, also being known as Bonito flakes is a smoked fermented fillet of skipjack tuna. It is an essential ingredient widely used in Japanese cuisine to enhance the umami taste of Kombu 昆布 – hence both of them are often being paired up together to make Japanese Dashi. However, Katsuo-bushi alone can produce flavourful dashi as well. 

Superfood: Japanese Miso 味噌

I always have this readily in my refrigerator. A must-have, I would say if you’re into Japanese cooking. What is Miso 味噌 みそand how do we use it? A simple way to explain, Miso is fermented soya bean paste. Typically being processed together with salt, Miso tastes salty undoubtedly. However, different regions use different ingredients and fermentation processes, their taste and aroma, hence differ accordingly. There are mainly 3 kinds of Miso paste – rice miso, soya bean miso and wheat miso. Here’s a rough idea of what made up the miso paste: Rice Miso               soya beans, rice and salt. Soya bean Miso    soya beans and salt only. Wheat miso           soya beans, wheat and salt. Rice Miso (kome-miso 米みそ) Most commonly found and popular in Japan. 80-90% of the miso paste you see in the supermakets are rice miso paste. There are red miso (aka-miso 赤味噌), white miso (shiro-miso 白味噌) and light miso (tanshoku-miso 淡色味噌). Aka-miso has a pungent salty taste. Eg.  Sendai Miso (仙台みそ). Tanshoku-miso  gives a sweeter taste without overpowering …