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Japanese Seasonings


Hiroyuki
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First the basics:

Do you know what sashisuseso means in Japanese cuisine?

It means the proper order of putting the five basic Japanese seasonings when making a dish:

sa: sugar (sato)

shi: salt (shio)

su: vinegar (su)

se: soy sauce (shoyu, formerly written as seiyu)

so: miso

Salt:

I use two types of salt, refined salt (left) and more expensive nigari shio (or jio or en) (right):

gallery_16375_5_73461.jpg

This 1-kg nigari shio bag was 207 yen.

I use the latter whenever I feel it is called for, for example, when making shio nigiri (onigiri with salt on their surface).

My seasoning containers (bought at the 100-yen shops :raz: ):

gallery_16375_5_66910.jpg

Top left: Nigari shio

Top right: Instant dashi powder

Bottom left: Sugar (shiro zato)

Bottom right: Refined salt

Do you have anything to add about Japanese seasonings?

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Sugar

There is a thread on Japanese sugars in the Japan Forum.

One drawback of shirozatou (白砂糖), white sugar, is that it is hard to make caramel with it because it contains invert sugar.

Shirozatou is also called jouhakutou (上白糖).

I also have san'ontou (三温糖) in my kitchen, which is yellowish because it contains mollasses. It's often used to make simmered dishes (nimono 煮物).

Edited to add this photo:

gallery_16375_5_78040.jpg

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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I also have san'ontou (???) in my kitchen, which is yellowish because it contains mollasses.  It's often used to make simmered dishes (nimono ??).

Interesting -- by taste, I chose to use an unrefined sugar called sucanat. The molasses combines well with the soy and its "bitterness" adds something to the mirin (at least the stuff I use...) When I used regular sugar or even raw sugar, the taste was very flat.

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Black sugar has the same slight sharpness and bitterness, Cheeko. I use it in simmered dishes, and also to fry or grill things fake-kabayaki style. Goes wonderfully with strong flavors like fresh sardine!

Sweeteners - if I could afford it, I'd probably use mirin instead of sugar even more often than I do now. I find it much lighter and less obtrusive for sweetening delicate flavors.

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Here in Kansai, "sauce" (and I guess, mayonnaise) are also rather popular seasonings. Folks like their sauce sweet or amakuchi. I can't stand salty, or karakuchi sauce. Its hideous :wacko: I think my favorite is probably Otafuku or Oliver sauce.

Also is it just me or does anyone else here like good old American mayonnaise -- like Hellmans -- better than Kewpie? American mayo has a lighter, fluffier, and less intrusive taste, like Kewpie tastes eggy and oily.

Black sugar has the same slight sharpness and bitterness, Cheeko. I use it in simmered dishes, and also to fry or grill things fake-kabayaki style. Goes wonderfully with strong flavors like fresh sardine!

Sweeteners - if I could afford it, I'd probably use mirin instead of sugar even more often than I do now. I find it much lighter and less obtrusive for sweetening delicate flavors.

Mirin is also good in that it contains amino-carbonyls that produce umami savoriness that enhances the foods more than regular sugar. The alcohol content in mirin will pull out the flavors of many foods and mirin is awesome for creating teri or shininess.

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Here in Kansai, "sauce" (and I guess, mayonnaise) are also rather popular seasonings.  Folks like their sauce sweet or amakuchi.  I can't stand salty, or karakuchi sauce.  Its hideous :wacko:  I think my favorite is probably Otafuku or Oliver sauce.

I know. My sister's husband is an Osaka man. He eats tempura with "sauce".

kinkistyle, you must have so much to contribute to the Kanto vs. Kansai thread. :smile:

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Here in Kansai, "sauce" (and I guess, mayonnaise) are also rather popular seasonings.  Folks like their sauce sweet or amakuchi.  I can't stand salty, or karakuchi sauce.  Its hideous :wacko:  I think my favorite is probably Otafuku or Oliver sauce.

Also is it just me or does anyone else here like good old American mayonnaise -- like Hellmans -- better than Kewpie?  American mayo has a lighter, fluffier, and less intrusive taste, like Kewpie tastes eggy and oily.

Black sugar has the same slight sharpness and bitterness, Cheeko. I use it in simmered dishes, and also to fry or grill things fake-kabayaki style. Goes wonderfully with strong flavors like fresh sardine!

Sweeteners - if I could afford it, I'd probably use mirin instead of sugar even more often than I do now. I find it much lighter and less obtrusive for sweetening delicate flavors.

Mirin is also good in that it contains amino-carbonyls that produce umami savoriness that enhances the foods more than regular sugar. The alcohol content in mirin will pull out the flavors of many foods and mirin is awesome for creating teri or shininess.

kinkistyle,

you will find there are a lot of of who prefer Hellman's (we get it as Best Foods brand here) over Kewpie in the mayonnaise thread.

It was just in the last couple years that I started really using a variety of sugars/mirin and it is amazing how they can really alter the taste of a dish. I really love the Japanese black raw sugar (kurozatou/kokutou), it even has its own thread.

I guess I have been in Kanto too long but I love the karakuchi taste....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Question: Where do sake and mirin fit in the sashisuseso order?

Answer: Sake usually comes first, before sa (= sugar).

There are two possible answers for mirin.

1. Used together with sugar (for sweetening purposes).

2. Comes last, after miso (for glazing purposes).

The sashisuseso order is merely a rough guide, but it's good to know the general order, right?

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