Assembling a Basic Pantry
Although some of the recipes on this site contain nothing more exotic than soy sauce – which has become somewhat of a regular American condiment – it should be noted that buying the basic pantry items will involve a bit of an investment. However, most of these items have a long shelf life, and are very versatile. I’ve put together a basic pantry list that will help you get started. For any unfamiliar items, please go to the ingredient section for explanations and photographs:
Japanese rice wine vinegar
Miso paste (awase miso is the most versatile kind)
White sesame seeds
When you decide Japanese cooking is for you, you will want to expand your larder with:
Black sesame seeds
Yuzu juice in a bottle
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Don’t let this list discourage you. Once you're equipped, you can usually buy fresh produce and fish at the better western supermarkets, and you will be well on your way to creating healthy, delicious and elegant meals.
Before you go to the market, be sure to read my shopping hints.