What on Earth is


Your questions about those mysterious Japanese foods and cooking methods answered!

Q 1. What is Umami?

A 1. The fifth taste or the taste of tastiness,the first four being Sweet, bitter, sour, and salty.
Umami is the most important taste element in Japanese and other Oriental foods.

Q 2. So, what is Shichimitogarashi, then?

A 2. Japanese "seven spice" mix. It is a chilli-based sprinkler but more aromatic than spicy-hot. It can be bought in bottles from Japanese or Oriental shops.

Shichimi = seven flavours, Togarashi = chilli.

Seven ingredients from this list are used to make the mixture:

Dried chilli flakes
White and black sesame seeds
Sansho (Japanese pepper) peppercorns
Dried orange peel
Dried Yuzu (Japanese citrus) peel
Dried black or green seaweed flakes
Poppy seeds
Hemp seeds
Dried ginger

Shichimi Togarashi can be sprinkled on Miso soup, Yakitori (grilled chicken pieces on skewer) and Teriyaki of all sorts.

Q 3. What is Dashi stock and how to make it?

Dashi is a soup stock that is used in many many Japanese dishes, such as soup, noodle, stew.

Water is infused with sun-dried ingredients such as seaweed, small whole fish, Shiitake mushroom, shaved Katsuo (Bonito) flakes etc. All of them contains full of Umami richness therefore adds subtle complexity and depth.

Send me your Japanese food questions!