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Japanese Cooking Utensils

An overview of common Japanese household cooking utensils.

Article by: Barbara Bowman

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Suribachi (Mortar and Pestle)

Suribachi and Surikogi
The Suribachi is the Japanese version of the mortar and pestle.  It consists of an earthenware bowl glazed on the outside.  The inside of the bowl has a ridged pattern to facilitate grinding. It is used with a wooden pestle called "surikogi".  Wood is used to keep the pestle from wearing down the ridges in the mortar.  In Japanese cooking the suribachi is used to crush sesame seed as well as for various pastes. (Read more about the history and uses of the suribachi)


Seasme Seed Utensils

Sesame seeds are widely used in Japanese cooking from sushi to dressings and sauces.  The sesame seeds are so frequently used that there are a couple of specialized tools designed for the little seeds.

sesame seed toasterSesame Seed Toaster (Roasting Pan)

Sesame seeds tend to pop and fly out of the pan when heated. This special little pan has a wooden handle that stays cool and a lid that keeps the sesame seeds in the pan where they can toast evenly.  Do not overheat or the seeds will burn.





sesame seed grinderSesame Seed Grinder

This simple little gadget holds about 1/2 cup of sesame seeds and uses an rotary knob to grind the seeds to the proper size for use on sushi or to top steamed or sauteed vegetables.

Cooking Chopsticks

Cooking Chopsticks
Special long chopsticks are used as a very simple and effective cooking tool.  These chopsticks are about 13 - 14" long. Use for stirring, food arranging and pan frying.


Fish Grill

Fish Grills
These specialized pans are constructed with long handles and a grill that sits atop a pan that catches the drippings. You can cook fish right on your stove top or use the unit over your barbecue.

Grater (Oroshi-gane)

ginger grater, aluminumGrater (Oroshi-gane)
Ginger can be used sliced or finely chopped but to extract the most flavor it should be grated. Because ginger is so fibrous a normal kitchen grate is not up to the task.  There are two common types of ginger grater which are porcelain and aluminum. The porcelain is pretty but the most universal is the aluminum grater.
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