Japanese-English Glossary
Dried Foods

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bo kanten (agar sticks)

Agar is extracted from algae and gets its gelling abilty from the polysaccharide agarose. Agar is freeze-dried to produce sticks, which can be boiled and then chilled to form a firm, opaque gel that is vegetarian friendly.

chirimenjako (dried baby Japanese anchovies)

Anchovy fry boiled in salt water, then dried.


Dashi is a Japanese soup stock, a basic ingredient in many Japanese dishes. It can be made with a variety of dried fish, seaweed and mushrooms, but it is most commonly made with katsuobushi (flakes of smoked, dried and fermented skipjack tuna) and konbu (kelp).


Wheat gluten mixed with a leavening agent, shaped and baked. The shape depends on which part of Japan it comes from. It is soaked in water to soften, then excess moisture is squeezed out. It is added to soups or other dishes.


Also known as glass noodles or cellophane noodles, these transparent noodles are made from starch and water, then dried.

hoshishiitake no modoshijiru (shiitake mushroom soaking liquid)

Water with a flavor acquired from soaking dry shiitake mushrooms. Often used as seasoning.

kanpyo (dried kanpyo gourd strips)

Dried shavings of calabash, a type of gourd. Rub with salt, then wash and boil for 3-5 min before use.

kanten (agar)

Agar (kanten) is extracted from algae and gets its gelling ability from the polysaccharide agarose. It is sold dried in sticks, or powdered, and is used in a similar manner to gelatin, producing a firm, opaque gel that's vegetarian friendly.


A seafood product made by smoking, fermenting and drying boiled or steamed skipjack tuna. A block of katsuobushi looks like a piece of wood, but it's very fragrant and is loaded with inosine monophosphate, a compound that produces the taste of umami. Thinly shaved, it can be used to make dashi stock, or it can be used directly as a condiment.

kezuribushi (skipjack shavings)

Thin shavings of katsuobushi flakes, and other similarly processed fish products. Also referred to as okaka.

kikurage (kikurage wood ear mushroom)

This mushroom contains a lot of fiber. Rehydrate in lukewarm water before use.

kiriboshi daikon

Shredded dried daikon radish. Rinsed, then soaked in warm water to rehydrate before use.


Konbu that is thinly sliced, then dried.

kona kanten (agar powder)

Made from frozen and dried mucilage of seaweed, such as tengusa (agar weed) and ogonori (Chinese moss), then powdered.

konbu (konbu kelp)

A type of kelp. Often used in simmered dishes and for making dashi. Contains glutamic acid, a source of umami. Usually sold dried and cut into easy-to-use pieces.

kongo kezuribushi (mixed dried fish shavings)

Dried skipjack tuna, mackerel, and sardine shavings combined together.


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

musubi konbu (konbu knots)

Thinly sliced konbu tied in a knot.


Small Japanese anchovies, boiled then dried.


One of the most widely eaten seaweeds in Japan. Sometimes sold fresh, it is usually chopped and then processed into crisp, dry sheets.

sakura ebi (sakura shrimp)

3-4 cm shrimp with a color like that of cherry blossoms (sakura). Often used dried in cooking.

shirasuboshi (dried shirasu)

Shirasu whitebait. Baby Japanese anchovies, boiled in lightly salted water and then partially dried.

tororo konbu

Compressed konbu shredded into fine filaments. It is most commonly used as a condiment for soups.

wakame (wakame seaweed)

A mildly sweet seaweed familiar to people in Japan from ancient times. Usually sold either dried or salted, it needs to be rehydrated appropriately before use. Most commonly used in miso soup and salads.