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Japanese Food Glossary P - Q - R - S

Check back often for new entries to this growing list!

Pan. Japanese bread. Japan bread has a higher gluten content for a chewier texture.
Panko. Dried, coarse bread crumbs made from Japan bread. It is coarser and crispier than pulverized fine crumbs.
Ponzu. A citrus-soy dipping sauce or salad dressing.


Ramen. Egg noodles. May be served in soup or pan-fried.
Renkon. Japanese name for lotus root. See Lotus Root.
Rakkyo. Small, sweet pickled scallions. Only the white bulb ends are pickled as rakkyo. The green tops are reserved for other uses.
Rayu. Red chili oil. See Chili Oil.
Rice (gohan). The Japanese use several types of rice in cooking. Sweet glutinous rice for mochi and sweets; brown rice for healthier eating; and polished white rice for sushi and general eating. The Japanese are particular about the brands of each, preferring cultivars that come from specific regions in Japan.
Rice vinegar. Su or vinegar made from fermented rice results in a lighter flavor than the more acidic white vinegar. Some rice vinegars are sold as gseasonedh and includes salt and/or sugar.

Saba. Mackarel.
Sake. A type of rice wine served chilled or heated. Sake should be sipped from special cups.
Satsuma imo. Sweet potato.
Senbei. Japanese crackers made from flour. May be sweet or savory.
Shabu shabu. This means literally gswish-swishh which is the sound made from swishing bits of meat back and forth into hot broth for cooking. It is a fondue-type meal where guests sit around a communal pot of simmering broth or hot oil to cook slices of meat, seafood or vegetables.
Shakushi. A cooking ladle with a wire or mesh bottom.
Shamoji. Flat paddle, a kitchen utensil, for turning and serving rice.
Shichimi. A popular table condiment made from seven spices including red chili powder, black hemp seeds, white sesame seeds, orange peel, Sichuan pepper, nori flakes and poppy seeds. Sometimes referred to togarashi or shichimi togarashi.
Shiitake. Black mushrooms. Thick and meaty. They are distributed canned or dried. Most chefs prefer the dried version as the canned variety absorbs too much water. The dried mushrooms can be reconstituted briefly and then cooked in broth or sauce and will absorb those flavors well.
Shiso. The perilla or beefsteak plant. Its leaves are prized for color and flavor. They may be eaten fresh and raw, plain or wrapped around other foods or as an addition to a pickled dish.
Shoyu or Soy Sauce. Salty black liquid ingredient made from soybeans. Essential to Japanese cooking, shoyu now comes in a light version with less sodium. Japanese shoyu differs slightly from Chinese varieties of which there are several.
Shouga. Pickled ginger.
Soba. Buckwheat noodles. May be eaten cold or hot.
Somen. Thin white noodles made from wheat.
Su. Rice vinegar. Usually seasoned with sugar and sake to make sushi rice.
Suribachi. Mortar-type bowl used for grinding spices, seeds and herbs. The inside of the bowl has rough ridges.
Sushi-oke. Wooden bowl for making sushi rice.

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