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Getting Ingredients in Champaign-Urbana

The following content is the introduction of the ingredients which I have got in Champaign-Urbana or which my Japanese friends let me know. This information is obtained only in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. So, it is unknown whether the information is available nation-wide in U.S. or not. If you have new information, I would like to shere it. Please let me know it by e-mail to y_524@hotmail.com.

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寒天かんてん
Kanten /Agar-agar
Kanten This seaweed gelatin has three types, 棒寒天ぼうかんてん (Bou/Rod Kanten, the upper item in the photo), 糸寒天いとかんてん (Ito/Thread Kanten, the lower item in the photo), and 粉末寒天ふんまつかんてん (Funmatsu/Powdered Kanten). The rod type is a natural product which can make jelly with soft and elastic texture. The thread type is another natural product which has the highest transparency. Both of them must be soaked in water overnight, and the solution must be filtered to remove the impurities of the natural agar. The powder type has stable quality and does not need soaking nor filtering because it is an industrial product. When you use the powder type, please increase the amount of water about 1.5 times more than that in the case of the rod or thread type, because the coagulation force of the powder type is stronger than the natural products. These products made in Japan or China are in oriental shops in Chambana.
葛粉くずこ
Kudzu-ko /Kudzu Root Starch
Kudzu-ko This starch flour is made from Kudzu vine root, which is also used as a herbal medicine in Japan. The products are sold in natural food stores because of its rich nutrition. Please check the ingredient data of the products because some of them are mixed with potato, sweetpotato or tapioca starch flour. If you use such mixed starch flour, please control the amount in recipes because its coagulation force is different from pure Kudzu-ko.
黄名粉きなこ
Kina-ko /Soybean Flour
Kina-koSoybean Flour in grocery stores or natural food stores is usually made from unroasted soybeans. If you like aroma of roasted soybean, Kinako for Japanese dishes is better to use. You can make fresh Kinako by grinding and sieving roasted soybeans with food processor or mortar.
抹茶まっちゃ
Matcha /Powdered Green Tea
Unfortunately, there is no shop which has Matcha in Chambana, even though some oriental shops have Sencha or 麦茶むぎちゃ (Mugicha / barley tea). You can get Matcha by mail-ordering in U.S. or importing from Japan. You may also get it at Japanese grocery stores in Chicago and Indianapolis (I've not confirmed it yet).
煎茶せんちゃ
Sencha /Green Tea
Some packages of the green tea in grocery stores are flavored as like fruit taste, etc, which is not suitable for Japanese sweets. Please choose Sencha made in Japan for cooking them. Some oriental shops have it. And, the branches of Espresso Royal Cafe in Chambana have a menu of Sencha called Sea Mist, and you can purchase bags of the green leaf tea.
牛蒡ごぼう
Gobou /Burdock
Gobou This is Japanese unique cruncky vegetable which is a very long brown root and has rich dietary fibers. You can get it only at oriental shops in Chambana.
水飴みずあめ
Mizu-ame /Starch Syrup
This is Japanese starch syrup usually made from potato starch. You can substitute transparent and non-flavored corn syrup for Mizu-ame. If you use the corn syrup, please control the amount of water in recipe because Mizu-ame is stickier than corn syrup.
くり
Kuri /Chestnut
This is used to many kinds of Japanese sweets. You can get at grocery stores and oriental shops in Chambana. If you see compote of chestnuts at grocery stores, please let me know.
薩摩芋さつまいも
Satsuma Imo /Sweet Potato
Satsuma Imo ...also called 甘藷かんしょ (Kansho). This is Japanese sweet potato which is very similar form to that produced in U.S. But, the color is red-purple outside and yellow inside. American sweet potato is too sticky to make fine decoration for some Japanese sweets, such as 芋金団いもきんとん (Imo Kinton /Sweet potato paste ball). If you would like to make them, you had better get Satsuma Imo at oriental shops.
蕎麦粉そばこ
Soba-ko /Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat noodle is one of the most famous Japanese foods. This flour is sold in the natural food section of grocery stores because of its rich nutrition. Please choose as fine grain of the flour as possible for cooking 蕎麦饅頭そばまんじゅう (Soba Manju /Steamed bun with sweet vegetable paste).
白玉粉しらたまこ, 餅粉もちこ
Shiratama-ko, Mochi-ko /Sweet Rice Flour
Mochi-ko Mochi-ko is flour of sweet sticky rice which is the ingredient of もち (Mochi / Rice cake) [Link to a photo of Mochi]. Shiratama-ko is finer and whiter than Mochi-ko. The items imported from Japan are a little expensive, about $3 per 0.5 lb. at oriental shops in Chambana. You can get more reasonable Mochi-ko made in U.S. at oriental shops and grocery stores (the left item in the photo: just $1 per 1 lb.)
上新粉、米粉じょうしんこ、こめこ
Jou-Shinko, Kome-ko /Rice Flour
Kome-ko (a.k.a. 粳米粉うるちまいこ (Uruchimai-ko) ) is flour of Japonica short-grain rice (a.k.a. Sushi rice) which is sticker than long-grain rice. Jou-Shinko is finer than Kome-ko. These items may be sold only in Japanese or Korean grocery stores because the other shops usually have rice flour made from long-grain rice. The Kome-ko is good to make 団子だんご (Dango / dumpling). However, it is not suitable to use for 薯蕷饅頭じょうよまんじゅう (Jou-yo Manju) because it will be cooked too firm. In this case, you had better get 上用粉じょうようこ(Jou-you-ko /Rice flour finer than Jou-Shinko) imported from Japan.
小豆あずき
Azuki Bean
This is small grain and deep-red bean which is one of the base ingredients for Japanese sweets. You can get packages of Azuki beans at oriental shops in Chambana. The fresher item has better taste. There is another breed 大納言小豆だいなごんあずき (Dainagon Azuki), which is the best bean for Tsubu-An but is not sold in Chambana area, unfortunately. Please refer the recipe of Tsubu-An for cooking Azuki-An. [Link to a photo of Azuki Beans]
小豆餡あずきあん
Azuki An /Sweet Azuki Bean Paste
Azuki-An あん (An) is the general name of vegetable paste, but typically means bean paste, especially Azuki bean paste. 粒餡つぶあん (Tsubu-An) is boiled and sweetened whole beans. 濃し餡こしあん (Koshi-An) is made by crushing and straining the Tsubu-An. You can get packages/cans of Tsubu-An and Koshi-An at oriental shops in Chambana.
White Bean (Lima, Navy)
白濃し餡しろこしあん (Shiro Koshi-An / white sweet bean paste) is also one of the base ingredients for cooking Japanese sweets. However, there is no commercial product in stores around Chambana, unfortunately. So, You must make it by yourselves. I recommend Lima Bean or Navy Bean at grocery stores to make it. You can make Shiro Koshi-An just from white beans, sugar and water. Please refer the recipe of Shiro Koshi-An for further information.
片栗粉かたくりこ
Katakuri-ko /Potato Starch Flour
This starch flour was formerly made from Katakuri (dogtooth violet) bulb, but most of the commercial products is now made from potato. It is also used for many dishes of Japanese cuisine. You can get potato starch flour at grocery stores or oriental shops.
Colorant
Most of Japanese sweets are very colorful, especially for tea ceremony. Currently, I recommend the icing color made by Wilton for coloring 錦玉羹きんぎょくかん (Kingyoku Kan / Kanten jelly) or 練り切りねりきり (Nerikiri / soft sweet ball). Only 1/2 oz. bottles of red, yellow, blue and black icing colors may be needed to make Japanese sweets in home.
You can also use natural colorant such as Matcha, 紫蘇しそ (Shiso /Red labiate leaves in salt), sufflower and so on. Please remember that many of them discolor by heating.
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List of the Shops in Chambana Which Have Japanese Ingredients

Am-Ko Oriental Foods and Gifts
101 E. Springfield Ave., Champaign. Phone 398-2922.
A Korean grocery store located at the corner of Springfield Ave. & 1st St. General Japanese foods including vegetables such as Gobou and Satsuma Imo, flours such as Shiratama-ko and Jou-Shinko, Koshi-An and Tsubu-An, Chinese Thread-type Agar-agar, and so on. There are some cooking tools including Japanese strainer with fine mesh.
Lee's Oriental Foods
303 Cedar, Champaign. Phone 351-8949.
A Korean grocery store located next to the Jerry's IGA at 2 blocks west from the corner of Kirby Ave. & Neil St. All items of this shop is similar to Am-Ko, but some items including Sushi Rice and Azuki-An are made by different manufacturers. Japanese Rod-type Agar-agar is also available.
Strawberry Fields
306 W. Springfield Ave., Urbana. Phone 328-1655.
A natural food and item store located at one block west from the corner of Main St. & Race St. There are some Japanese seasonings and Kudzu-ko.
Others
The grocery stores such as Schunucks, County Market and so on have Mochi-ko and Soba-ko in the section of Asian foods or natural foods.
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