What’s in My Kitchen ~Asian Staples Edition~

Hello everyone and welcome back to another blog post on ~Foodie with a Passion~! It’s Thursday so we’re almost to the weekend and thank goodness! Today I’m sharing what I like to have as staples in my kitchen but it’s with a twist. These are all Asian (specifically and mostly Japanese) staples in my kitchen. But before we get started remember to click that subscribe button so you don’t miss another Foodie Fun 🤩

Alrighty! So, I went through my fridge, freezer and pantry and pulled out everything I have so I can share what I use it for. Let’s get started!

  • Sake – this is rice wine, which is the foundation for a lot of Japanese cooking. Also good for cooking veggies faster because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water
  • Mirin – this is the sweetened version of sake and adds more depth to any sauce when you’re blending your own. I make teriyaki sauce with sake, mirin and soy sauce all the time. It’s all about the ratio
  • Bulldog Sauce – this sauce is popular for panko-breaded and fried foods or stir fry noodles like yakisoba
  • Soy Sauce – a classic Asian staple that gives flavor to everything (aside from MSG). My mom always told me I consume enough soy sauce I don’t need salt on my McDonald French fries 🙄 boy I grew up with bland flavors. Also there was a time I ran out of soy sauce…I was very much ashamed of myself for letting the house run out of soy sauce 🤦‍♀️
  • Okonomiyaki Sauce – the special savory sauce for the Okonomiyaki or Japanese savory pancakes. I use the mix (you’ll see it in the pantry list), add my veggies and meat and top it with this sauce, bonito flakes, Mayo and crushed seaweed
  • Hoisin Sauce – I probably use this in stir frys a lot except I haven’t made stir fry lately…I might make a stir fry this week.
  • Ajipon (Citrus Soy Sauce) – this was my favorite condiment growing up. I would dip potstickers and pan-fried beef, use it as an extra sauce for soup or stir fry…the possibilities were endless. Again my mom would say that I consume enough sodium with various soy sauce varieties that we don’t need to use salt in any of our cooking 🙄 can also use this as a marinade for meats, salads, etc.
  • Mayonnaise – the Japanese Mayo is more of a creamy dressing than the dollop of American Mayo you find from major brands such as Best Foods and Hellman’s. The closest I found to the Japanese Mayo in the states is none other than Duke’s Mayo, which is like a southern thing. I made sure to bring one home from vacation last year and hoping my husbands parents would send me a care package of Dukes Mayo. I use the Japanese Mayo on sandwiches, as a dressing, can also use to sauté and as a topping to broil along with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. It gets really crispy!
  • Bonito Flakes – these are dried fish shavings. Can be used to make broth but I hate wasting it so I cheat and just use the Konbu seaweed as broth. Anyhow, this is mostly used as a topping or mixed in with blanched spinach or mustard greens and soy sauce. One of my cats Mochi loves these fish shavings with soy sauce and rice, a common “Cat Rice” treat that can be made at home and served to your kitty friend
  • Konbu Seaweed – this one is a super dry tough seaweed used for broth. Once rehydrated, can be cooked down til it’s really soft and eat as well. Plenty of fiber so my mom made me eat it all the time growing up. She also said it was good for your hair. Well, any seaweed is good for your hair.
  • Wakame Seaweed – this is the seaweed you would find at a restaurant in miso soup or salad. And that’s exactly what I use it for. There’s another type of shredded seaweed that also exists but I don’t have it right now.
  • Tofu – I always have a tofu on hand. I mix it pin my potstickers or use it for miso soup or other mixed soups. If you grind ground chicken into tofu with your usual burger ingredients, you can make chicken tofu patties and they make the patty really soft and juice.
  • Miso – Mostly used for miso soup but I made a miso glazed salmon last month where I made a marinade to rub onto the salmon and baked it in the air fryer
  • Nori Seaweed – this is the seaweed you would find wrapped on sushi. Can also be put on rice balls or as a topping once it’s crushed up
  • Crushed Seaweed – if you don’t feel like crushing up your seaweed, have no fear such product exists. This is what normally goes on stuff with the savory sauce and Mayo for the Okonomiyaki and yakisoba dishes.
  • Crushed Sesame Seeds – this is used when you make Goma-Ae or “mixed with sesame”. Mix crushed sesame, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Then blanch some spinach and toss together.
  • Furikake (Rice Seasoning) – this is rice seasoning. A lot of dishes in Japan can be eaten over rice with sauce but sometimes there’s no sauce so you want some rice seasoning to eat your rice. Now old wives tale that you must chew every bite of rice to taste the natural sweetness and to not leave a single rice grain in your bowl, or else it is disrespectful for our ancestors who figured out how to cultivate and grow rice over the years.
  • Konnyaku (Yam Cake) – this gets used in a lot of nimono or braised dishes. I sometimes use it in soups too. If you can get over the chewy texture, you’re an expert in Japanese food 😂 also very high in fiber and low in carbs and calories.
  • Shirataki (Yam Noodles) – this is the noodle version of konnyaku. Very low in carbs and high fiber. Yet made out of yam…
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – I actually have both Panko and regular breadcrumbs in the pantry. This one gives a way better texture when I make anything breaded and fried. Still comes out great in the air fryer too.
  • Oyster Sauce – this is also used in stir frys. My favorite is pork, fried tofu and Bok choy
  • Rice Vinegar – this is my dipping sauce for potstickers. You can also mix soy sauce and make the potsticker dipping sauce but I prefer just the potstickers. This can also be used to make sushi rice. It’s all in the ratio.
  • Somen Noodles – this is what I call summer noodles. Can still be eaten with a hot broth but this is a very thin noodle that you can slurp right up in a cold broth in the summer. If you’re not very hungry or tired, somen is the perfect noodle
  • Soba Noodles – this is also known as buckwheat noodles. This is also good cold but this is what I have left from New Years since that is traditional.
  • Koya Tofu (Dehydrated Tofu with Seasoning Packet) – just as I explained, this is literally a box of dehydrated tofu that comes with seasoning packets. You add the seasoning and water and cook it (or can microwave) until the tofu is dehydrated. I prefer the smaller ones with cartoon characters in it 😂 I’m still such a child.
  • Roasted White Sesame Seeds – this is literally a topping/garnish for almost everything I cook that is Asian. Otherwise my go-to is parsley.
  • Okonomiyaki Mix – this is the mix I use for the savory pancake. Just add egg, water, any veggies and meat and cook in a frying pan. Or tabletop cooking. Okonomi means anything you like and yaki is to pan fry.
  • Dried Shiitake – these mushrooms have a distinct smell and flavor so it’s an acquired taste. And since Hubby seemed to like it, I’ve started to incorporate it more and have it stocked in the pantry.
  • Curry Roux Mix – I’m such a weak sauce for spicy foods so I have to get the mild one. This is what I get for curry, usually with pork or beef. Chicken is also good as well.
  • Dried Daikon Radish – this is rehydrated and then braised with the fried tofu curds (see below) and carrots with the blend of soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar
  • Matcha Green Tea Powder – I bought this to make matcha cheesecake for my best friend, which I missed on the Tuesday post to wish her a very special birthday (it was on Monday). I might make soy matcha lattes if we ever buy an espresso machine for our house
  • Pancake Mix – this is the fluffy pancakes I grew up eating, except in Japan it’s called Hot Cakes. Just add water and egg to the mix and you get pancake batter.
  • Sesame Oil (not pictured) – I kinda forgot since this was on the counter and not the actual pantry. This is my go-to oil if I’m cooking Asian. It is so fragrant I love it.
  • Brown and White Rice (not pictured) – also was on the counter so I forgot too. Shame on me. We normally eat brown but for things like spam musubi and sushi, always white rice. Sorry Uncle Roger, I make fried rice with brown rice. But don’t worry, I don’t use a colander for my rice. Except he would kill because I don’t have MSG on this list.
  • Fried Tofu Curds – this is what I mix in for the dried daikon radish. You can also cook this in teriyaki sauce and put it over soba or udon noodles. I also like to cut them in small pieces and put it in miso soup or mixed rice
  • Frozen Udon Noodles – these are the thick noodles that I loved since I was a baby. If I buy the dried udon noodles they are the thin kind but I get nostalgic and have to get thick noodles sometimes.
  • Edamame – I got the ones in the shells this time since they can easily be a side dish. Plus it’s just an extra step if I want to just put them on a salad or anything.
  • Natto (Fermented Soy Beans) – this one is also an acquired taste and an acquired smell since the soy beans are fermented. You can also fill the tofu curds and pan fry with a drizzle of soy sauce, mix them as a filler for pasta, or just over hot rice with a fried egg and a splash of soy sauce.
  • Gyoza Wrappers – I finally found the wrappers my mom always used so I would buy it and freeze it like this. Last time I had to use won ton wrappers 🤦‍♀️ I better make more because we used the last batch that I made.
  • Chikuwa (Fish Cakes) – I have the tubular kind this time but normally I have some sort of fish cakes. I might have Kamaboko (half moon shape) for New Years or noodles, Naruto (white fish cake with pink swirls) for ramen. This tubular one, you can stuff with cheese and make appetizers or slice them to put in noodles or braised seaweed (hijiki)

And that’s a wrap! Boy I had a lot of items to go through….let me know in the comments below if you have any cultural items in your pantry but until then…signing off!


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