Soy sauce

Needless to say, soy sauce is an indispensable condiment in Japanese cuisine. There are five different types of soy sauce as follows:

  1. Shiro shoyu (white soy sauce)

    However it has a pale colour, white soy sauce has the highest salinity. The main ingredient is wheat.
    Salinity: approximately 18 %.

  2. Usukuchi shoyu (usukuchi soy sauce)

    Standard soy sauce in Kansai area. Although it has a paler colour than koikuchi soy sauce, it has the highest salinity.
    Salinity: approximately 18 ~ 19 %

  3. Koikuchi shoyu (koikuchi soy sauce)

    A standard type which accounts for approximately 80 % of soy sauce made in Japan. Koikuchi soy sauce originates from Kanto area, characterized by an excellent balance of scent, colour and taste.
    Salinity: approximately 16 %

  4. Saishikomi shoyu (saishikomi soy sauce)

    Normally, soy sauce is fermented by adding koji and saline. But sashikomi soy sauce is fermented by adding unheated soy sauce, which is called ‘nama-age soy sauce’. It uses twice as much material as koikuchi soy sauce which makes it flavour stronger and richer.
    Salinity: approximately 16 %

  5. Tamari shoyu (tamari soy sauce)

    A rich soy sauce, made in the Chubu region mainly. It is made almost entirely of soybeans and fermented and aged for about one year.
    Salinity: approximately 16 %

Cooking Sake

In Japanese cuisine, we use cooking sake for these reasons as follows;

  1. Removal the smell of fish and meat

  2. Saving cooking time

    The taste becomes easy to penetrate ingredients.

  3. Preservation of food

    Adding alcohol sterilises ingredients.

If you don’t find any cooking sake in your pantry, white wine can be a good substitute.
In case, choose cheaper and less sour wine.


Mirin is a type of rice wine similar to sake, with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. In case you don’t have mirin at home, a mixture of cooking sake and sugar (3:1) can substitute mirin. For example, 1 tablespoon of mirin can be substituted by 1 tablespoon of cooking sake and 1 teaspoon of sugar. If you don’t have cooking sake, white wine is also a substitute for cooking sake.


Miso, fermented soybeans paste, has various types depending on regions. There are distinctive tastes and usages of miso for each area. I was trying to introduce every type of miso but gave up.  Too many to mention!


  1. Grain Vinegar

    I usually use grain vinegar, but sometimes we use rice vinegar depending on what I want to achieve.

  2. Rice Vinegar

    Rice vinegar is made from rice. It is sweeter, milder, and less sour. Generally speaking, rice vinegar is best for sushi rice. White wine vinegar/ cider vinegar adding a little sugar (and water maybe) can be alternative.