Meaning: Sunomono vs Agemono vs Nimono vs Itamemono
If you have eaten Japanese dishes several times before, you may know the Japanese foods whose name includes the word, “Mono (物, or もの)”.
The word, Mono actually means “thing” or “stuff” in Japanese, and in Japanese cuisine, some dish names with the word Mono as a suffix stand for the generic name for some category of dishes.
The Meaning: Suno-Mono vs Age-Mono vs Ni-Mono vs Itame-Mono
Representative examples of such generic names for Japanese dishes are “Suno-Mono (酢の物)”, “Age-Mono (揚げ物)”, “Ni-Mono (煮物)”, and “Itame-Mono (炒め物)”, but what category of dishes does each of these Japanese terms stand for?
First off, “Sunomono (酢の物)” is the Japanese word for vinegared dishes. Japanese vinegared dishes or Sunomono are often made with seafood and/or seaweed and typically dressed with Sanbaizu vinegar sauce.
For example, the combinations of wakame seaweed and cucumber, and octopus and cucumber, are commonly used in Sunomono dishes. In addition, “Mozukusu (もずく酢)” is also a popular Sunomono widely enjoyed in Japan.
“Agemono (揚げ物)” is the Japanese word for deep-fried foods. As you can see in the photo above, Tempura is a quintessential Japanese dish of this category. In addition to Tempura, Karaage, Tonkatsu, and Furai are also Japanese dishes that represent Agemono.
“Nimono (煮物)” is the Japanese word for simmered foods. Basically, the ingredients of the Nimono dish are simmered in water or Dashi soup stock and seasoned mainly with soy sauce or miso soybean paste. Representative Japanese Nimono dishes include Oden, Niku-Jaga, and Furofuki Daikon.
“Itamemono (炒め物)” is the Japanese word for stir-fried foods. The combination of meat and vegetables is typically used for Japanese Itamemono dishes. For example, “Moyashi-Itame (もやし炒め)” from pork belly and bean sprouts, and “Rebanira-Itame (レバニラ炒め)” from pork liver and Chinese chives. In addition, the noodle dish, Yakisoba is actually also categorized as an Itamemono.