Agar-agar: A white gelatin derived from seaweed, used in making kanten and aspics.


Amasake: A sweetener or refreshing drink made from sweet rice and koji starter that is allowed to ferment into a thick liquid.


Arame: A thin, wiry black seaweed similar to hijiki.


Arrowroot: A starch flour processed from the root of an American native plant. It is used as a thickening agent, similar to cornstarch or kuzu, for making sauces, stews, gravies, or desserts.


Aduki bean: A small, dark-red bean imported from Japan and also grown in this country. Especially good when cooked with kombu seaweed. This bean may also be referred to as azuki.


Bancha twig tea: Correctly named kukicha, bancha consists of the stems and leaves from mature Japanese tea bushes. Bancha tea aids in digestion. It contains no chemical dyes. Bancha makes an excellent after-dinner beverage.


Barley, pearl: A native of Asia, it grows easily in colder climates. It is good in stews and mixed with other grains such as rice. A particular strain of barley found in China, it is effective in breaking down animal fats in the body.


Bok choy: A leafy green vegetable.


Bonita flakes: Fish flakes shaved from dried bonita fish. Used in soup stocks or as a garnish for soup and noodle dishes.


Brown rice: Whole, unpolished rice. Comes in three main varieties short, medium, and long grain and contains an ideal balance of minerals, protein, and carbohydrates.


Buckwheat: Eaten as a staple food in many European countries, this cereal plant is eaten widely in the form of kasha, whole groats, and soba noodles.


Burdock: A wild, hardy plant that grows throughout the United States. The long, dark root is highly valuable in macrobiotic cooking for its strengthening qualities. The Japanese name is gobo.


Chirimen iriko: Very small dried fish. High in iron, calcium, and other minerals.


Cous-cous: Partially refined, cracked wheat.


Daikon: A long, white radish. Besides making a delicious side dish, daikon is a specific aid in dissolving fat and mucus deposits that have accumulated as a result of past animal food intake. Grated daikon aids in the digestion of oily foods.


Dentie: A black tooth powder made from sea salt and charred eggplant.


Dulse: A reddish-purple seaweed. Used in soups, salads, and vegetable dishes. Very high in iron.


Food mill: A special steel food mill, which is operated by a hand crank to make purees, sauces, dips, etc.


Fu: A dried and puffed form of seitan or wheat gluten, used in soups or stews.


Genmai miso: Miso made from fermented brown rice, soybeans and sea salt. Sometimes referred to as brown rice miso.


Ginger: A spicy, pungent, golden-colored root, used in cooking as a condiment or garnish, and for medicinal purposes.


Ginger root





Ginger compress: Sometimes called a ginger fomentation. A compress made from grated ginger root and very hot water. Applied hot to an affected area of the body, it serves to stimulate circulation and dissolve stagnation.


Gluten (wheat): The sticky substance that remains after the bran has been kneaded and rinsed from whole wheat flour. Used to make seitan and fu.


Gomashio: A condiment made from roasted, ground sesame seeds and sea salt.


Hatcho miso: A fermented soybean paste from soybeans and sea salt and aged for two years. Used in making condiments, soup stocks, seasoning for vegetable dishes, etc.


Hijiki: A dark, brown seaweed which, when dried, turns black. It has a wiry consistency and may be strong tasting. Hijiki is imported from Japan but also grows off the coast of Maine.


Hokkaido pumpkin: A round, dark green or orange squash, which is very sweet. It is harvested in early fall. Originated in New England and was introduced to Japan and named after the island of Hokkaido.


Iriko: Small, dried sardines used for seasoning in soups, making condiments, in salads, etc.


Ito soba: A very thin, short soba (buckwheat) noodle.


Jinenjo soba: Noodles made in Japan from jinenjo (mountain potato) flour and buckwheat flour.


Kanten: A jelled dessert made from agar-agar.


Kayu: Cereal grain that has been cooked with approximately 5–10 times as much water as grain for a long period of time. Kayu is ready when it is soft and creamy


Kinpira: A sauteed burdock or burdock and carrot dish, seasoned with tamari soy sauce.


Kombu: A wide, thick, dark green seaweed which grows in deep ocean water. Used in making soup stocks, condiments, candy, and cooked with vegetables and beans.


Kome miso: Rice miso. Usually white rice miso, made from fermented white rice, soybeans, and sea salt.


Kukicha: Usually called bancha twig tea. Older stems and leaves of a tea bush grown in Japan.


Kuzu: A white starch made from the root of the wild kuzu plant. In the United States, the plant is called "kudzu." Used in making soups, sauces, gravies, desserts and for medicinal purposes.


Lotus root: The root of the water lily, which is brown-skinned with a hollow, chambered, off-white inside. Especially good for respiratory organs.



Lotus root






Mekabu: A part of the wakame seaweed plant. Used in making soups and soup stocks. Has a very strong flavor.


Millet: This small, yellow grain, which comes in many varieties, can be eaten on a regular basis. It can be used in soups, vegetable dishes, or eaten as a cereal.


Mirin: A wine made from whole-grain sweet rice. Used primarily in vegetable dishes.


Mochi: A rice cake or dumpling made from cooked, pounded sweet rice.


Mugicha: A tea made from roasted, unhulled barley and water.


Mugi miso: Soybean paste made from fermented barley, soybeans, sea salt and water.


Mu tea: A tea made from either 9 or 16 different herbs. It has certain medicinal values, such as its ability to warm the body and strengthen weak female organs.


Natto: Soybeans that have been cooked and mixed with beneficial enzymes and allowed to ferment for 24 hours under a controlled temperature.


Nori: Thin sheets of dried seaweed. Black or dark purple when dried. Roasted over a flame until green. Used as a garnish, wrapped around rice balls, in making sushi, or cooked with tamari soy sauce and used as a condiment.


Sea salt: Salt obtained from the ocean, as opposed to land salt. It is either sun-baked or kiln-baked. High in trace minerals, it contains no chemicals or sugar.


Seitan: Wheat gluten cooked in tamari soy sauce, kombu, and water.


Shiitake: A medicinal dried mushroom, imported from Japan.


Shio kombu: Pieces of kombu cooked for a long time in tamari soy sauce and used in small amounts as a condiment.


Shio nori: Pieces of nori cooked for a long time in tamari soy sauce and water. Used as a condiment.


Soba: Noodles made from buckwheat flour or a combination of buckwheat with whole-wheat flour.


Somen: Very thin white or whole-wheat Japanese noodles. Often served during the summer.


Suribachi: A special serrated, glazed clay bowl. Used with a pestle, called a surikogi, for grinding and pureeing foods.


Surikogi: A wooden pestle used with a suribachi.  


Sushi: Rice rolled with vegetables, fish, or pickles, wrapped in nori, and sliced in rounds.


Sushi mat: A mat made from bamboo used in making sushi or as a cover for bowls.


Takuan: Daikon pickled in rice bran and sea salt. Sometimes spelled “takuwan.”


Taro: A potato with a thick, hairy skin. Often called albi. Used in making taro or albi plaster, to draw toxins from the body



Taro potato (albi)


Tamari soy sauce: Name given by George Ohsawa to traditional, naturally made soy sauce, to distinguish it from the commercial, chemically processed variety The original term tamari refers to a thick, condensed liquid that results during the process of making miso, when water comes to the top. This is poured off and called tamari.


Tekka: Condiment made from hatcho miso, sesame oil, burdock, lotus root, carrot, and ginger root. Sauteed on a low flame for several hours.


Tempeh: A food made from split soybeans, water, and a special bacteria, which is allowed to ferment for several hours. Eaten in Indonesia and Ceylon as a staple food. Available prepacked, ready to prepare, in some natural food stores.


Tofu: Soybean curd, made from soybeans and nigari, a coagulant taken from crude salt. High in protein, used in soups, vegetable dishes, dressings, etc.


Udon: Japanese noodles made from wheat, whole-wheat, or whole-wheat and unbleached white flour.


Umeboshi: A salty and sour pickled plum, traditionally used and known to be good for digestion.


Wakame: A long, thin green seaweed used in making soups, salads, vegetable dishes, etc.


White (shiro) miso: A sweet, short-time-fermented miso, made from fermented rice, soybeans and sea salt.


Yannoh: A grain coffee made from five different grains that have been roasted and ground into a fine powder.