Chez Yusuke shopping list

By popular demand, here are some of the staple items in Yusuke’s cooking arsenal.

Absolutely essential:

  • Rice
    It seems that with authentic Japanese rice, you get what you pay for. We are currently buying hikari rice from our neighbourhood Korean grocery store, which falls into the mid-range quality scale. In the absence of proper Japanese rice, any medium grain white rice will suffice. Specially packaged “sushi rice” in grocery stores is overpriced and not necessarily good.
  • Miso paste
    I can’t pretend to be a miso expert, but it comes in many different varieties. We generally buy white miso (shiromiso). We primarily use miso for soup (almost every day), but it can also be used in stir fries and other dishes.
  • Soy sauce
    Kikkoman is fine, but we usually buy other Japanese brands. I don’t really know how to distinguish decent brands, but “reduced sodium” or any other modifications don’t quite taste right. If the salt is reduced, you just end up adding more!
  • Silken tofu
    Soft, smooth tofu (絹漉し豆腐). For some reason, we have a terrible time finding silken tofu in Montreal. Halifax grocery stores had a much better selection! We generally shop at a small, rather sketchy local grocery store and a slightly odd fruit market, but we have to make special trips to get tofu. The Korean stores don’t even have that great of a selection. We usually go to Provigo, which is the same as Loblaws, which is the same as Atlantic Superstore, and get as many packages of President’s Choice silken tofu as we can. Denver Tofu is also incredibly yummy, for those that live in that part of the world.

Veggies always kept on hand:

  • Baby carrots
  • Green onions
  • White onions
  • Potatoes
  • Bean sprouts
  • Baby spinach, although I just discovered mâche a.k.a. corn salad, and I think I might convert

Other favourite veggies (roughly in order of frequency of use):

  • Leafy veggies: bok choy, cabbage, napa
  • Mushrooms! Button, crimini, shitake, enoki, portobello…
  • Green pepper
  • Italian eggplants (the small ones)
  • Zucchini
  • Avocado
  • Bamboo shoots (canned)
  • Tomatoes: fresh and canned
  • Okra
  • Broccoli (usually frozen)
  • Corn (usually frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potato

Special Japanese cooking products:

These are items that we buy at Japanese or Korean grocery stores. Google them to find out more!

  • Dashi—Powdered cooking stock that is essential for miso soup (and other stuff). You can buy miso with dashi already included.
  • Garlic—minced in a jar. We can sometimes find this at other grocery stores
  • Ginger—minced in a jar. Yusuke tries to avoid products from China, but it’s hard to find ginger from other countries
  • Bonito flakes—shaved fish flakes
  • Cooking sake (rice liquor)
  • Mirin—another type of rice wine
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Oyster sauce—for stir fries
  • Ajinomoto MSG seasoning
  • Tobanjan—spicy chili sauce
  • Tenmenjan—sweet bean paste
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Potato starch called Katakuriko (different from standard Western potato starch)
  • Wakame—dried pieces of seaweed for soup
  • Nori—dried seaweed sheets
  • Abura-age—deep-fried tofu sheets
  • Yakifu—a dried wheat protein thingy for soup
  • Instant curry cubes
  • Natto—the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted. Many Japanese dislike it, too. But Yusuke likes it.

Miscellaneous items that we use often:

  • Eggs
  • Firm tofu
  • Shrimp (frozen)
  • Pork
  • Canned tuna
  • White kidney beans
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Fish: salmon, tuna, trout

1 Comment

  1. […] soy milk, especially in combination with a spicy sauce. Really, a good amount of the stuff on our shopping list can go into miso […]

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