Pantry Essentials for Japanese Home Cooking – Part 2

A pack of Korean konbu.

In the previous post Pantry Essentials for Japanese Home Cooking – Part 1, I explained the traditional fundamental seasonings of Japanese cooking – sugar, salt, vinegar, soy sauce, and miso (SaShiSuSeSo). Here in Part 2, I listed the remaining essential pantry items that will make your Japanese dishes more authentic.

I also included nice-to-have items that I sometimes use in my recipes. In the section Wrapping Up at the very end of this post, I listed all the pantry items that I included in both part 1 and Part 2 of Pantry Essentials for Japanese Home Cooking. Each item has a hyperlink so that you can jump to the article of the item easily.

Today’s post is quite long but I hope the contents are useful to everyone.

Japanese rice

Rice is the staple crop of Japan. It is a short grain rice that’s stickier than most, with a subtly sweet taste. That stickiness makes it ideal for scooping up with chopsticks, for bento (Japanese lunch boxes), and for shaping into Onigiri (Japanese Rice Ball).

There are many types of rice available in Japan, and the majority of Japanese people eat two types of rice.

Uruchimai (粳米) – this is the normal Japanese short grain rice that people eat every day or use to make vinegared rice for sushi. Japanese people simply call it ‘okome’ (お米), which means rice.

Mochigome (餅米) – sticky rice or glutenous rice that is used to make Rice with Azuki Beans (Osekihan), mixed rice (takikomi gohan) and rice cake (omochi). Mochigome grain is whiter than that of uruchimai (see the middle and right photos below comparing the difference).

…continue reading