Agar Agar– A gelatin processed from a sea vegetable used in making kanten and vegetable aspics.

Amasake – A sweet, creamy beverage or sweetener made from fermented sweet rice.

Arame – A thin, wiry black sea vegetable.

Azuki Bean – A small, dark red bean originally from Japan but now grown in the West.

Bancha Tea – The twigs, stems and leaves from mature Japanese tea bushes, also known as kukicha.

Barley – A whole cereal grain; the traditional staple of the Middle East and Southern Europe.

Boiled Salad – A salad whose ingredients are lightly boiled or dipped (blanched) in hot water before serving.

Bok Choy – A leafy green and white vegetable popular in Chinese cooking.

Bonito Flakes – Flakes shaved from dried bonito fish. Used in soup stocks or as a garnish.

Brown Rice – Whole unpolished rice. Come in three main varieties: short, medium and long grain. Brown rice contains an ideal balance of nutrients and is the principal staple in macrobiotic cooking.

Burdock – A hardy wild plant that grows throughout the United States and abroad. The long, dark root is valued in cooking for its strengthening qualities.

Daikon – A long white radish that is used in vegetable cooking, condiments and pickling.

Flame Deflector – A round metal disc that is placed under a pot or pressure cooker to distribute heat evenly and prevent burning.

Ginger – A spicy, pungent golden colored root used in cooking and for medicinal purposes.

Gomashio – Sesame seed salt made from dry roasting and grinding sea salt and sesame seeds and crushing in a mortar.

Hato Mugi or Pearl Barley – This is not the so called “pearled” barley, a kind of refined barley. It is not really a barley at all. It is a pearl shaped seed of wild grass, also known as “Job’s tears”.

Hiziki – A dark brown sea vegetable that turns black when dried.

Hokkaido Pumpkin – A round dark green or orange squash that is very sweet and harvested in the fall. Native to New England, it was introduced to Japan and named after the island of Hokkaido.

Kanten – A jelled fruit dessert made from agar agar.

Kinpira – A style of cooking root vegetables first by sautéing, then adding a little water, and seasoning with tamari/soy sauce at the end of cooking.

Kombu – A wide, thick, dark green sea vegetable.

Kuzu – A white starch made from the root of a prolific vine. Used as a thickener for soups, stews, desserts. Also known as kudzu.

Lotus Root – Root of the water lily. Brown-skinned with a hollow, chambered off-white inside. Lotus root is used in many dishes and for medicinal preparations.

Millet – A small yellow grain that can be prepared whole, added to soups, salads and vegetable dishes, or baked. A staple in China and Africa.

Mirin – A sweet cooking wine made from sweet rice.

Miso – A fermented pate made from soybeans, sea salt and usually rice or barley. Used in soup, stews and as seasoning.

Mochi – A cake made from cooked, pounded sweet rice.

Nabe – A traditional Japanese one-dish meal, prepared and served in colorful casserole dishes and accompanied with a dipping sauce or broth made of tamari/soy sauce or miso and various garnishes.

Natto – Soybeans that have been cooked and mixed with beneficial enzymes and fermented for 24 hours. A sticky dish with long strands and a strong odor. Good for improving digestion.

Nishime – Long, slow style of boiling in which vegetables or other ingredients cook primarily in their own juices. Gives strong, peaceful energy.

Nori – Thin sheets of dried sea vegetable. Black or dark purple, they turn green when roasted over a flame. Used as a garnish, to wrap rice balls, in making sushi, or cooked with tamari/soy sauce as a condiment.

Pressed Salad – Salad prepared by pressing sliced vegetables and sea salt in a small pickle press or with an improvised weight.

Pressure cooker – An airtight metal pot that cooks food quickly by steaming under pressure at a high temperature. Used primarily in macrobiotic cooking for whole grains and occasionally for beans and vegetables.

Rice Syrup – A natural sweetener made from malted brown rice.

Sea Salt – Unrefined salt obtained from the ocean.

Seitan – A whole wheat product cooked in shoyu, kombu and water. Used for stews, croquettes, etc. Also known as wheat gluten or wheat meat.

Shiitake – A mushroom native to Japan but now cultivated in the United States as well. Used widely, dried or fresh, in cooking, for soups and stews and in medicinal preparations.

Shoyu – Naturally made soy sauce.

Soba – Noodles made from buckwheat flour or buckwheat combined with whole wheat.

Suribachi – A serrated, glazed clay bowl or mortar. Used with a pestle, called a surikogi, for grinding and pureeing food.

Tamari – “Genuine” or “real tamari” is a soy sauce like seasoning that is a by-product of the miso making process. It is stronger than regular shoyu or natural soy sauce, which is sometimes confusingly labelled “tamari soy sauce.”

Tempeh – A high protein soy product made from split soybeans, water and a special bacteria. Used in soups, stews, sandwiches and many other dishes.

Tekka – Condiment made from matcho miso, sesame oil, burdock, lotus root, carrot and ginger root. It cooks down to a black powder when sautéed on a low heat for several hours.

Tofu – Soybean curd made from soybeans and nigari (crystallized residue from sea salt). High in protein and usually prepared in the form of cakes that may be sliced and cooked in soups, vegetable dishes, salads, sauces, dressings and other styles.

Udon – Japanese style whole wheat noodles.

Umeboshi – A salted pickled plum usually aged for several years. Used as a seasoning, in sauces, and as a condiment.

Umeboshi Vinegar – Also known as ume-su. The liquid that umeboshi plums are aged in. Used for sauces, dressings, seasoning and making pickles.

Wakame – A long, thin green sea vegetable used in making miso soup, salads and vegetable dishes.