Basic Japanese

By Connie McCabe

Published on November 9, 2000

Common in the kitchens of Japan, these ingredients can be found in Asian markets all over America.

**BONITO FLAKES **Pale pink shavings from dried bonito fillets; used for making dashi, the basic Japanese stock. Sold in bags.

**CHRYSANTHEMUM **An herb; both the leaves and the blossoms are used; tastes like cauliflower. Leaves sold fresh, blossoms fresh or pickled.

**KONBU **Dried kelp used for making dashi. Large greenish-brown leaves are folded into 40-60-gram packages.

KUZUA thickener, made from the root of Japan's native kuzu plant. Pebblelike pieces are sold in small packages.

MIRINA sweetened rice wine for cooking. Sold in bottles.

**MISO **Fermented soy bean paste, pale cream to deep chocolate in color, and chunky to smooth in texture. Sold in tubs, tubes, or bags.

**MITSUBA **Also known as trefoil, this cloverlike herb tastes like a cross between sorrel and celery. Sold fresh.

**MOUNTAIN POTATO **A long beige-skinned tuber prized for its mild flavor and gluey consistency. Sold fresh.

WAKAME Greenish-brown seaweed, with a tough central vein that must be removed. Found in packages, dried or salted.

YUZU A citrus fruit tasting like a cross between a tangerine and a lemon, used for its rind and acidic juice.

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