IT WOULD be very hard to replicate most of the creations of Chef Koyama in a British home; even if you were to buy a a set of four hocho knives (at £120 a time) it might be some years, even under expert tuition, before you could start to work his magic. However, not all Japanese knives (and Chinese wide-bladed chopping knives) cost a fortune, and they repay experimentation in the kitchen. It would also be hard to replicate many of the ingredients used by a Japanese Kaiseki chef. However, here is a short vocabulary of basic kitchen ingredients available in most Japanese stores - and Chinese ones, too.

DAIKON Giant white radish (also known as mouli). Peeled and grated into long threads, it is almost an essential garnish for thinly sliced raw fish, along with the classic ingredients soy sauce and wasabi.

SOY SAUCE (SHOYU) The predominant seasoning in all Japanese cooking, the liquid resulting from fermenting soy beans and roasted wheat. Kikkoman is the big Japanese name - and big it really is, since the company now exports to 94 countries. A consistent product, fermented for six months by traditional methods, aided more than somewhat by super-modern technology.

WASABI A kind of green horseradish usually available as a paste in tubes or in powder form like mustard. A small blob, no bigger than a thumbnail, is served to tear-jerking effect with raw fish.

SAKE A rice wine. Recipe books often give it as an alternative to dry sherry, but sake's flavour is milder.

MIRIN A sweet yellow rice wine used only in cooking.

RICE VINEGAR Gentle and sweet, more like balsamic vinegar.

BAMBOO SHOOTS A crunchy addition to any Japanese or Chinese dish. Available in tins.

LOTUS ROOT A crunchy, visually appealing vegetable used in many dishes. It is the root of a type of water lily. Sliced into rounds it gives the appearance of the chamber of a six-shooter (it actually has seven, not six holes).

TEA Green tea is drunk at any time, especially with a meal, and is like nothing we know in the UK. It is made from green, unfermented leaves, and infused with hot, not boiling, water. It is not left to steep. The finest grade, a powder, is used in the tea ceremony.

PICKLES Every meal ends with rice, eaten plain, with an assortment of pickled vegetables. We're not talking of mustard pickles or astringent English pickled onions but a wide range of virtually instant, home-made pickles with infinite flavours and textures.

BONITO FLAKES Dried bonito (a kind of tuna) which is infused to make stock. Some Japanese families buy it by the small block, as wein the West might buy parmesan cheese, and grate it as needed. It is also bought loose in packets.

KOMBU This is a dried seaweed (we know it as kelp) which is cooked with bonito and soy sauce to make stock, giving it a smoky, bitter note. Other seaweeds are very popular in Japan, especially the expensive nori (known as "laver" in Wales) which is processed, dried, and then pressed into squares as thin as black tissue paper. It is used to wrap some types of sushi rice roll, and is also an essential flavouring in many Japanese savoury biscuits.

DASHI Many Japanese foods, including the everyday dish of miso soup, depend on a stock called dashi. It is made with three of the ingredients mentioned above - soy sauce, kombu (a dried seaweed), and dried bonito flakes. Full-strength dashi is called primary stock, and is strained and used for soup. When the dregs are boiled up again, it is called secondary stock and is used as a cooking medium for meat, fish or vegetables.


For use in soups

2 pints/1.2 litres water

6in length of dried kombu

12oz/15g dried bonito flakes

Heat the water with the kombu seaweed in it, removing before the water boils (kombu releases bitter flavours the longer it is cooked). Skim. Bring the water to the boil and then add the bonito flakes. Remove from heat immediately. When the bonito flakes have settled at the bottom of the pan, strain. Reserve the kombu and bonito flakes to be boiled up again for secondary stock.

MISO A salty, yeasty paste made from fermented soy beans, varying in colour and strength according to age. Miso soup is made by dissolving a blob in hot dashi stock (see above), adding garnishes to taste, prawns, thinly shaved pieces of pork, some chopped spring onions, some grated ginger and so on.


Serves 4-6

2 pints dashi stock (above)

4oz red miso paste

optional garnishes:

1 spring onion, sliced into thin rounds

1in piece of daikon radish, cut into matchstick pieces, blanched in boiling water, mopped dry

6oz tofu, cut into dice

12 teaspoon wasabi or mustard made into paste

Heat up the dashi stock. Rub the miso paste into it through a sieve. When it comes to simmering point, serve the miso soup with garnishes.

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
‘The Late Late Show’ presenter James Corden is joined by Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks for his first night as host
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss