A sweetener or refreshing drink made from cooked sweet rice and koji starter that has fermented into a thick liquid. Also spelled amasake.
A genus of molds used to inoculate beans and grains to make koji. Aspergillus is the starter for many Japanese fermented foods.
A hardy plant that grows wild and is cultivated throughout the United States, as well as in Japan. The long, dark burdock root is delicious in soups, stews and vegetable dishes. It is highly valued in macrobiotic diets for its strengthening qualities. Burdock’s Japanese name is gobo.
A long, white radish which helps dissolve stagnant fat deposits that have accumulated in the body. Freshly grated raw daikon is especially helpful in the digestion of oily foods.
An all-purpose broth usually made with kombu and flavored with dried shiitake or bonito flakes.
A dried wheat-gluten product. Available in thin sheets or thick round cakes, fu is a satisfying high-protein food used in soups, stews and vegetable dishes.
Sweet rice wine traditionally made by a complex distillation and double-fermentation process. Used in cooking as a high-quality sweetener and seasoning.
A protein-rich, fermented bean paste made from soybeans, usually with the addition of barley or brown or white rice. Miso is used in soup stocks and as a seasoning.
A heavy rice cake or dumpling made from cooked, pounded sweet rice. Mochi is especially good for lactating mothers, as it promotes the production of breast milk. Mochi can be made at home or purchased ready-made.
The thick slurry of fermenting koji and other ingredients that forms during the brewing process of soy sauce, sake and mirin.
A mineral-rich herb that is dried and used as a medicinal tea. Dried, ground mugwort is also added to mochi and soba noodles.
The Japanese form of fermented soybeans, is high in Vitamin K2, which is vital for bone, cardiovascular and dental health.
The traditional Japanese tofu coagulant, nigari is extracted from dehydrated sea water.
Mochi that has been formed into small flat cakes or balls, then coated with pureed azuki beans or chestnuts, roasted and ground nuts or sesame seeds, or soybean flour.
Fermented rice wine made from koji and rice. Sake is usually served warm in small cups but can be served at room temperature or chilled. Also used as a seasoning in Asian cooking.
Cultivated medicinal mushrooms grown on hardwood logs or enriched sawdust.
A concentrated distilled alcoholic drink.
Fermented soy sauce made with cultured wheat and soybeans, water and sea salt.
A special serrated, glazed clay bowl. Used with a pestle called a surikogi, the suribachi is used for grinding and pureeing foods. An essential item in the macrobiotic kitchen, the suribachi can be used in a variety of ways to make condiments, spreads, dressings, baby foods, nut butters and medicinal preparations.
A wheat-free fermented soy sauce made with cultured soybeans, water and sea salt.
A nut butter that is obtained by grinding white sesame seeds until smooth and creamy. It is used like sesame butter.
A method of cooking in which vegetables, fish or seafood are coated with batter and deep-fried in vegetable oil. Tempura is often served with soup, rice or noodles and pickles.
Soybean curd made from soybeans and nigari. Used in soups, vegetable dishes, dressings, etc., tofu is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol-free.
Tart, salty Japanese pickled plums, which stimulate the appetite and digestion, and aid in maintaining an alkaline blood quality. Shiso leaves impart a reddish color and natural flavoring to the plums during pickling. Umeboshi can be used whole or in the form of paste.
amasake: A sweet fermented rice drink that has traditional roots in Japan.
anaerobic: This term refers to environments without oxygen. In fermentation, an anaerobic environment is necessary for breaking down carbohydrates and turning them into sugar.
brine: A saltwater solution. A brine is made for pickling or fermenting and acts on the food by drawing out the water from its cells and killing any bad bacteria that might spoil the food.
enzyme inhibitor: An enzyme inhibitor decreases the enzymes function and can interfere with one’s digestion.
incubator: Any object or supply that will help to keep your fermented food at the desired temperature during the fermentation process.
koji: A fermented starter made from cultured soybeans and rice. It is responsible for breaking down the carbohydrates and sugars in food products.
kombucha: A healing fermented drink that has its roots in Asia. It is made from a SCOBY (see below), tea, and sugar. It has a slightly tangy taste
kvass: This fermented beverage began as a Russian brewed drink made from rye bread or beets. Has a flavor that’s similar to root beer or cola.
lactic acid: This acid stops the growth of bad bacteria that might spoil your food, turning it into consumable fermented goods!
Lactobacillus: A bacteria that helps to produce lactic acid from carbohydrates. It is responsible for turning starches into sugars and acids and is essential for fermentation process.
phytic acid: These anti-nutrients are naturally occurring in some grains and can prevent healthy minerals from being absorbed by your body.
probiotics: Like lactobacillus, probiotics are micro-organisms that are healthy for our body and especially our gut! They are naturally occurring in foods.
SCOBY: Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It is an essential culture needed for kombucha making, an ancient healing fermented drink.
starter: Just another name for any pre-fermented product. Starter cultures can be purchased commercially or made at home. All starters are made up of naturally occurring microorganisms, most notably the Lactobacilli, and a combination of other food products such as water and flour or dairy product such as milk or yoghurt.
wort: In homebrewing, the name for the beverage or soda mix before you have added your starter and initiated fermentation.