Japanese-English Glossary
Eggs, Bean Products

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Tofu cut into thin slices, drained, and then deep-fried. Abura-age puffs up, giving the tofu a spongy texture.

akamiso (red miso)

Reddish-brown miso made from fermented soybeans and rice. With a salt content of 13%, it is saltier than regular miso.


Thoroughly drained and deep-fried tofu. Also called nama-age. Atsuage is browned on the outside, but retains the texture of tofu on the inside.

awase miso (blended miso)

A blend of several types of miso.


Immature green soybeans. Usually boiled in the pod before shelling. Often eaten in the summer in Japan.


A tofu fritter made by mixing tofu with vegetables such as carrots and onions before being shaped into patties and deep fried. Historically, eaten as a meat substitute.


From the Nagoya area, hatchomiso is made with soybeans, koji mold, salt and water. It has a coffee brown color and very firm consistency because the miso is aged in cedar vats under heavy rocks for over two years. Hatchomiso has a salinity of about 11%.

kinako (kinako powder)

Roasted soybeans ground into a powder.


Soft, silken tofu that has the texture of custard. It can be eaten hot or cold.


Freeze-dried tofu. When rehydrated it has a meat-like texture and absorbs flavors like a sponge.

kuzuko (kuzuko arrowroot powder)

Made from the roots of kudzu (Japanese arrowroot). High-quality starch used as a thickener.


A seasoning paste made with soybeans that are steamed, crushed and fermented with koji mold and salt. The hundreds of miso varieties throughout Japan can be categorized into rice miso, barley miso or soybean miso. They can also be divided into red, white, and blended miso. The salinity, sweetness and flavor can vary greatly depending on ingredients, production methods and fermentation time.

misodoko (miso pickling bed)

Miso paste mixed with sugar and sake or mirin to make pickles.


Tofu that has been pressed and drained to remove excess moisture. Its firm texture makes it ideal for cooking.


Steamed soybeans fermented with natto mold. Natto has a strong, distinctive odor and flavor. It has a sticky, mucilaginous texture that's intensified by stirring the beans.


Soy pulp that remains after soy milk has been pressed out of pureed and cooked soybeans. Contains a lot of calcium and fiber.

onsen tamago

Eggs slowly cooked between 62-66 degrees C. This loosely sets the yolk, while the white has a soft jelly-like consistency.

ponzu shoyu (ponzu soy sauce)

A condiment made with soy sauce, vinegar and the juice of several varieties of Japanese citrus fruit.

sasage (sasage beans)

Small reddish-brown dried bean.

shiromiso (white miso)

Golden yellow in color, shiromiso is a specialty of the Kyoto region. It is made with twice the rice koji and one third of the salt of most miso, giving it a salinity of about 6%. This imparts a noticeable sweetness when compared to other types of miso. It is often used in aemono dressed dishes and miso pickles. Also known as Saikyo miso.

shoyu (soy sauce)

A liquid seasoning made from boiled soybeans, wheat, and salt fermented with koji mold. Salt content is about 16%. Used to season foods as well as impart umami and flavor.

tamarijoyu (tamari soy sauce)

A thick, dark soy sauce made without the addition of wheat, this is a specialty of the Chubu region and is often served with sashimi.

usukuchi shoyu (usukuchi soy sauce)

Popular soy sauce originating in the Kansai region. Although it has a lighter color than regular soy sauce, it is more salty. This makes it appropriate for seasoning food without turning it brown.


Fresh tofu that has not been pressed into a mold. It is characterized by a soft custard-like texture, and is often spooned rather than sliced.