Japanese condiments, 薬味

We call condiments "yakumi(薬味)" and have Japanese have some traditional and peculiar condiments.

The most famous one is Wasabi(山葵), Japanese horseradish. It has an extremely strong flavor, but indispensable to sushi and sashimi, fresh raw seafood sliced into thin pieces.  Wasabi leaf is edible, but generally it is sold as a root and necessary to be grated very finely before use. And it is possible to get ready-to-use paste in tube like a toothpaste tube. If you wanna get sushi without wasabi, you might as well saying "Sabinukide" to a sushi chef, which means "no wasabi, please".

The condiment on the left pic is Myōga (茗荷).  It is  flavorful edible flower buds available during the rainy season and native to Japan and a part of Korea.  I often put sliced Myoga on Hiyayakko(冷奴), chilled tofu with toppings and soba(蕎麦), a noodle made from buckwheat.

The most favorite one is Shiso(紫蘇), green Perilla. I often put thin-sliced fresh Shiso on Hiyayakko. It gets along so well with Umeboshi that I dress sliced Shiso and Umeboshi paste with pasta and Udon noodle and fry them rolled with sliced pork. In the rainy season, red Shiso(赤紫蘇) arrives on the market. It is indispensable to color Umeboshi red and to make a shiso cordial syrup. I make some cordials from red Shiso, unripe Ume and gingers every year and my daughter mix it with soda water to drink.

2 commentaires:

  1. Wow, these are very interesting, I knew only wasabi (and I love it). We have horseradish too ("torma"). The root is rather white/beige, and looks like parsnip.
    Does shiso really tastes like basil or rather minty?

  2. I don't think shiso taste like basil and mint, but if I were to say, it does like rather mint. We have many original condiments. SOme of them are used in China and Korea, but their way of using is different from us.