Japanese-English Glossary
Rice, Noodles, Flour, Powders

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agedama (tempura bits)

Bits of fried tempura batter.


A paste made from flour, gluten and water is poured into a cylindrical mold and steamed.


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.

genmai (brown rice)

Unpolished rice with the husks removed.

hakurikiko (low-gluten flour)

Soft wheat flour that's most comparable to cake flour, with a gluten content of 8.5%.


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

hoto (hoto noodles)

Local dish from the area around Yamanashi Prefecture. Roughly cut wheat-flour noodles cooked with vegetables and miso.

inaniwa udon (inaniwa udon noodles)

A specialty udon of Akita in northeast Japan. The noodles are thin and resemble linguine.

katakuriko (potato starch)

Used as a thickener or batter.

kinako (kinako powder)

Roasted soybeans ground into a powder.

kishimen (kishimen noodles)

Wide, flat noodles from the Nagoya region. Known for a firm, chewy texture.

kome (rice)

A grain harvested from Oryza sativa (Asian rice), it is the staple food in Japan. Brown rice has only the husk removed. White rice refers to milled rice.

komugiko (flour)

Wheat flour. Categorized into hard (high-gluten bread flour), all-purpose, or soft (low-gluten cake flour). The gluten content is key. Unless specified, flour usually refers to soft wheat flour.

kuzuko (kuzuko arrowroot powder)

Made from the roots of kudzu (Japanese arrowroot). High-quality starch used as a thickener.

kyorikiko (high-gluten flour)

Hard wheat flour. High gluten content.


Tea leaves cultivated in the shade, then ground into a fine vibrant green powder. Matcha is traditionally used by whisking it with hot water to make tea during tea ceremonies, but it can also be used to add color and flavor to foods.

mochi (rice cake)

Steamed glutinous rice, pounded and formed into cakes. When fresh they are very soft and chewy, but they become very hard shortly after being prepared and are typically grilled or added to soups.

mochigome (glutinous rice)

The seeds of a short-grained rice (Oryza sativa glutinosa). Sticky when steamed, this rice has a glutinous texture but does not contain gluten. Used for making festive red bean rice and rice cakes.

nama fu (raw wheat gluten)

Steamed wheat gluten mixed with rice flour. Often used in hot pots, or eaten with soy sauce, wasabi, or mustard.

panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Japanese-style breadcrumbs. Each crumb is big, yet light. Recommended for using in lighter-finish deep frying.

ramen (ramen noodles)

Noodles made from wheat flour and kansui, an alkaline solution that turns the noodles yellow, while giving them a firm springy texture. In Japan, they're mostly used in noodle soup or for yakisoba.


Milled glutinous rice that has been soaked in water and then ground into a fine flour.

soba (soba noodles)

Grayish noodles made from buckwheat flour. They have a distinctive texture and slightly nutty flavor. Highly nutritious.

somen (somen noodles)

Thin, dried noodles made from wheat flour, salt, oil and water. The dough is pulled to make very fine strands, which are then dried and cut.

udon (udon noodles)

Thick white noodles made by vigorously kneading and rolling dough made from wheat flour, water and salt. Served hot or cold, and eaten in every season.

yakisoba (yakisoba noodles)

Cooked ramen noodles that have been coated in oil. Yakisoba noodles are usually stir-fried with meat, seafood and vegetables and flavored with a special sauce. A popular food at festival stalls.