6 Must Have Japanese Ingredients You’ll Want to Keep Stocked

6 Must Have Japanese Ingredients You'll Want to Keep Stocked

Check out our recommendation for six must have Japanese ingredients, what to use them for and just why there are so many different types!

Soy Sauce

Essential for sushi, sauces, dressings and more! Soy sauce is made from fermented soy beans. Be careful when you’re looking at recipes, all regular Japanese soy sauce is ‘light’ style compared with different Asian soy sauces. ‘Light’ or ‘white’ Japanese soy sauce is usually just lighter in colour, rather than flavour, so can be easy to go overboard.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce in Dispenser

Clearspring Organic Shoyu Soy Sauce

Yamashin White Soy Sauce

Kikkoman Soy Sauce in Dispenser
Clearspring Organic Shoyu Soy Sauce Yamashin White Soy Sauce

Mirin

This fortified alcohol used to be drunk as a medicinal treat, but these days you’re much more likely to find it in your nikujaga stew than your cocktail. Mirin helps to give a subtle sweetness to dishes and create the lovely glossy shine you see in dishes like teriyaki. If you prefer to avoid alcohol in your cooking, there are also low-alcohol or mirin-style alcohol free seasonings available.

Takara Hon Mirin

Mizkan Sweet Cooking Seasoning Mirin Style

Yutaka Japanese Mirin

Takara Hon Mirin
Mizkan Sweet Cooking Seasoning Mirin Style Yutaka Japanese Mirin

Sake

Sake adds flavour, helps to stop strong tastes from meat, to keep the dish well balanced. Regular cooking sake usually has a little bit of salt added so it can be sold without alcohol tax or a license in Japan, so if you are watching your sodium intake, this is something to check before you cook.

Takara Cooking Sake

Yutaka Cooking Sake

Gekkeikan Moon Seishu Sake Cup

Takara Cooking Sake
Yutaka Cooking Sake Gekkeikan Moon Seishu Sake Cup

Miso

Miso is made from fermented soy beans, but can have a very different flavour or style depending on how it’s prepared or what ingredients are used. There are three major kinds of miso: white miso, red miso and awase miso (which is a blend of both!)

Hikari White Miso Medium Sweet

Japan Centre Red Miso

Masuyamiso Yuuki Barley And Rice Awase Miso

Hikari White Miso Medium Sweet
Japan Centre Red Miso Masuyamiso Yuuki Barley And Rice Awase Miso

Rice

It may seem obvious to say, but rice is a very important part of Japanese cooking! Some dishes such as onigiri rice balls or sushi have to be made with Japanese style short grain rice in order to get the right texture. Those really into their rice have preferred strains or growing areas. Here are some popular ones…

Shinmei Hokkaido Nanatsuboshi Rice

Shinmei Toyama Prefecture Koshihikari Rice

Shinmei Akafuji Akitakomachi Rice

Shinmei Hokkaido Nanatsuboshi Rice
Shinmei Toyama Prefecture Koshihikari Rice Shinmei Akafuji Akitakomachi Rice

 

Rice Vinegar

An essential ingredient for getting just the right tang in sushi rice, rice vinegar is also important for vegetable side dishes, dressings and making pickles! Rice vinegar has a very mild flavour compared to traditional malt or cider vinegar, making an indispensable addition to anyone’s kitchen!

Uchibori Yuuki Rice Vinegar

Mizkan Rice Vinegar

Mizkan Brown Rice Vinegar

Uchibori Yuuki Rice Vinegar
Mizkan Rice Vinegar Mizkan Brown Rice Vinegar

 

Want to get stocked up? Japan Centre has everything you need to kit out an authentic Japanese kitchen, including essential ingredients, cooking utensils and more!

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