Japanese Cooking Utensils


Suribachi (Mortar and Pestle)

suribachi with surikogiSuribachi 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)

Sesame 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 Toaster (Roasting Pan) Sesame Seed Grinder
 sesame toaster sesame seed grinder  
 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 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.

Small Kitchen Tools

Cooking Chop Sticks Ginger Grater Oroshi-gane Wasabi Grater
 cooking chop sticks  aluminum grater  sharkskin wasabi grater
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. 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. A traditional wasabi grater made from shark skin.  The highly abrasive grater is used with fresh wasabi root.  This type of grater can also be made from aluminum if you prefer a man made material.

Fish Grill

japanese fish grillThese 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.


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.