The Meaning of SunoMono, AgeMono, NiMono, and ItameMono
If you have had Japanese cuisine several times before, you may know the Japanese dishes whose names include the word, “Mono (物, or もの)”. The Japanese word, “Mono” actually has a meaning of “things” and “stuff”. Hence, in Japanese cuisine, many dish names whose suffix is “Mono” stand for a generic name for some category of dishes.
The Meaning of Sunomono, Agemono, Nimono, and Itamemono
Typical examples of such Japanese dish names include “SunoMono (酢の物)”, “AgeMono (揚げ物)”, “NiMono (煮物)”, and “ItameMono (炒め物)”. Then, what categories of dishes do these Japanese words stand for?
The Japanese word, Sunomono is the generic name of vinegared dishes. Japanese vinegared dishes are often made with seafood, and typically dressed with Sanbaizu vinegar sauce. For example, the combination of wakame seaweed and cucumber and the food combo of octopus and cucumber are commonly used as ingredients for Sunomono dishes. Other than these, “Mozukusu (もずく酢)” is a popular Sunomono widely enjoyed in Japan.
The Japanese word, Agemono refers to deep-fried foods. As you can see from the above photo, Tempura is the quintessential Japanese dish of the category, Agemono. In addition to Tempura, Karaage, Tonkatsu, and Furai are Japanese dishes well-known as Agemono. Japanese deep-fried dishes feature having a crispy coating like Tempura. The coating is basically made by deep-frying the batter made from wheat flour and eggs in vegetable oil.
The Japanese word, Nimono is the generic name for simmered foods. Generally, Japanese Nimono is made by simmering ingredients in water or soup stock, then seasoning mainly with soy sauce or miso soybean paste. Typical Japanese Nimono dishes include Oden, Niku-Jaga, and Furofuki Daikon.
The Japanese word, Itamemono refers to stir-fried dishes. The food combo of meat and vegetables are typically used as ingredients for Japanese stir-fried dishes. For example, “Moyashi-Itame (もやし炒め)” made with the combination of pork belly and bean sprouts and “Rebanira-Itame (レバニラ炒め)” using the food combo of pork liver and Chinese chives are popular Japanese Itamemono dishes. Other than these, the Japanese noodle dish, Yakisoba is also included in Itamemono.