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Macrobiotic Glossary of Terms

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Macrobiotic Glossary of Terms

Courtesy Karen Luchesi

Adzuki or Aduki: small red beans which are very strengthening for the kidneys.

Agar Agar: a sea vegetable sold in flakes. Agar is a vegan gelatin used in aspic and kanten.

Amasake: a drink made from fermented sweet rice. Amasake is like a macrobiotic smoothie.

Arrowroot: a calcium rich thickener for sauces and puddings.

Bancha: common Japanese Green Tea.

Barley Malt: sweetener made from barley and used in desserts, beverages and beans.

Brown Rice Vinegar: a very mild vinegar made from fermented brown rice.

Burdock Root: a tough, bark covered root which is used in soups, and stews. Burdock is a potent blood purifier and helps eliminate fat.

Carob: a pod which is powdered and used as a chocolate substitute and flavoring agent.

Daikon: a long, white radish eaten raw and cooked. Daikon is excellent for dissolving fat and mucus deposits in the body.

Forbidden Black Rice: black rice is an iron and fiber rich heirloom rice. It has a rich, nutty flavor and is strengthening for the kidneys.

Gomasio: sesame salt. It is made of toasted sesame seeds and sea salt, and is rich in calcium and iron.

Job's Tears: sometimes labeled pearl barley, eaten alone or in combination with other grains. Job�s Tears are considered an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory food, and are good at removing old fats from the body.

Kukicha: Japanese twig tea. Kukicha is very low in caffeine, and high in antioxidants.

Kuzu or Kudzu: a thickener similar to arrowroot.

Lotus Root: a thick, tuberous root with hollow chambers. Lotus is used in vegetable dishes, soba noodles, and medicinal remedies. It is healing for the lungs.

Millet: a small, seed-like grain. Millet is alkaline, rich in B-vitamins, and gluten-free.

Mirin: a Japanese sherry-like cooking wine made from brown rice.

Miso: a paste made of fermented soybeans and grains such as barley, or white or brown rice. Miso is used as a soup base and flavoring agent for stews, sauces, vegetable and grain dishes, dips and fish. It has a high salt content and should be used judiciously.

Mochi: a sticky rice cake made from glutinous rice pounded into a paste. Mochi can be eaten steamed, roasted, or in soups.

Pressure Cooker: a stainless steel pot with a rubber seal and valve on top. Pressure cooking concentrates nutrients and reduces cooking time.

Quinoa: an ancient, protein and vitamin rich staple food. While strictly speaking it is a seed, quinoa is eaten as a grain. It has an exceptional amino acid profile and the highest protein content of all grains, along with amaranth.

Rice Syrup: a sweetener mad from fermented brown rice.

Sea Salt: evaporated sea water. Sea salt contains no chemicals.

Sea Vegetables: Arame, Dulse, Hijiki, Kombu, Kelp, Irish Moss, Nori, and Wakame. Every seaweed has its own profile, but they share certain characteristics. They are detoxifying, cleanse the lymphatic system, stimulate stagnant liver energy, alkalize the blood, and are beneficial to the thyroid. Seaweeds are rich in calcium, iron and minerals, and should be consumed in small quantities because of their concentrated nutrient profile.

Seitan: wheat gluten cooked in broth. Seitan is used as a meat substitute and is exceptional in stews.

Shiitake: this mushroom is most commonly used in its dry form, in soups, stews, and healing remedies. Shiitakes purportedly induce immune response against cancer, and viral diseases, and help discharge excess animal fats.

Shoyu/Tamari: two types of soy sauce. Shoyu is made with soybeans, wheat, and sea salt; tamari is made with soybeans alone and sea salt. Both are used as seasoning.

Soba: buckwheat noodles. Used in soups, salads, and with vegetables, soba are good cold or hot, and are relaxing for the liver.

Suribachi and Surikogi: a Japanese mortar and pestle, with the distinction that the bowl is ceramic with serrated interior.

Tahini: sesame paste used for seasoning, sauces, dressings and baking.

Tekka: a slow cooked, intensely flavored condiment made from miso, burdock, lotus root, carrot and ginger. Usually purchased rather than made at home.

Tempeh: fermented soybean cake used as a protein. Tempeh can be stewed, marinated, broiled, fried and baked.

Tofu: soybean curd, used in soups, vegetable dishes, dressings, and sweets.

Udon: Japanese wheat noodles. Udon are commonly served in broth, or with vegetables.

Umeboshi: plums pickled with salt. Umeboshi alkalize the blood and both stimulate the appetite, and treat indigestion.

Umeboshi Vinegar: a by-product of pickling the plums, the vinegar is salty and sour. It is used in dressings and vegetable dishes.

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