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Glossary

Barley sweet - thick dark brown syrup made of barley. Used for making sweets, some sauces and beverages 

Fu - dry product made of wheat gluten. It is sold in form of thin sheets or thick round cakes. Rich in protein. Used in soups and other vegetable dishes. 

Kombu - wide, thick, dark green algae, rich in minerals. Often cooked with beans and vegetables or used to prepare kombu-broth ("kombu-dashi") 

Miso - fermented paste made of soy beans, rich in proteins. Apart from soy it can also contain barley and rice. It is used for making soups and seasoning other dishes. When consumed regularly, it improves blood circulation and digestion. 

Natural oil - unrefined oils, like sesame, sunflower, saffron, corn, soy, olive oil. They are obtained by a mechanical process (cold filtering), unlike commercial oils which are chemically treated (hydrogenated) 

Nigari - hard, crystallized salt, used in preparing tofu 

Okara - rough soy pulp, a by-product of making tofu. Used in vegetable dishes. Can be substituted with soy beans, soaked overnight, then grounded in a meat-grinder. 

Okra - (bamija, bamnja, bamya) is the fruit of the plant of the same name, which is grown mostly in the Balkans. It is used for food when green and just formed, and it has the shape of a crooked pod with a point at the top (which is cut off after washing). The fruit is covered with tiny hairs. It is rich in vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. Okras are exported to western Europe, mainly from Bulgaria. 

Seitan - wheat gluten cooked with tamari, kombu and water. You can make it at home or buy it ready-made in healthy food stores. Rich in proteins, an ideal substitute for meat. 
Preparing seitan: mix wheat flour (fresher the flour - more seitan) with water until the dough starts "falling from hands" (a bit softer than bread dough), around 5 minutes. Cover with warm water and leave it for 10-60 minutes.
The next step is "rinsing" - kneed the dough in water until the water turns white. Change water, alternately cold and warm. The last rinse must be in cold water. Rinse like this until the water is clear. Form gluten into balls and leave it to stand.
Bring to boil water (2 liters for 3 balls) with a pinch of sea salt, then add gluten balls, stir with a ladle. Let it boil until the balls raise to the surface. Cover with lid and cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Pour fresh warm water over the gluten balls and add tamari, kombu and grounded ginger. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from stove and let it cool covered. Drain seitan, reserve the water for pots and soups. Use the cooked seitan for recipes. It can keep in the refrigerator in a nylon sack for 7-10 days.
Instead of cooking in salted water, you can fry the gluten balls in natural oil and then cook it in tamari-kombu-ginger water. 

Tamari & tamari soy-sauce - traditionally prepared soy-sauce (as opposed to refined, chemically treated variety). The original, "real" tamari is the liquid by-product of making miso. The best tamari is made from soy, wheat and sea salt and fermented over a year. It is known as shoyu. 

Taro - a variety of potato with thick, dark brown hairy peel. Also called albi. It is used for vegetable dishes, and especially for preparing a healing plaster. 

Tempeh - a traditional product of soy beans, vinegar, water and useful bacteria, and fermented for several hours. Very popular in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Rich in proteins and vitamin B12. You can buy it ready-made in healthy food stores. 

Tofu - "soy-cheese". Made of soy-beans, nigari and water. Rich in proteins and used in soups, vegetable dishes, sauces etc. You can buy it or make it yourself. 
Preparing tofu: wash 3 cups (600g) soy beans and soak in 6 cups cold water overnight (8 hours) or until beans swell. Put beans with a little water into a blender and ground as fine as possible.
Cook in 7 l of water, constantly stirring. It mustn't boil. When it reaches the temperature of 70-80*C and foam starts to rise, sprinkle with 1 cup of cold water. Stop the boiling in this way 3 times, and don't stir the soy in the meantime.
Place a strainer on a pot, line with double gauze or thin cotton cloth. Strain the soy through that, pressing with a plate. In the pot you get soy-milk, in the cloth okara.
Put 6 teaspoons of nigari (or 1 small cup apple vinegar or lemon juice + 5 teaspoons sea salt) into the soy-milk. Wait for a minute or two and stir gently. Put in a warm place until the whey clears and the cheese starts to form.
Keep tofu in a bowl, covered with cold water. Change the water every day, and the tofu will keep for a week.

Umeboshi - salted, pickled plums. Stimulates appetite and improves digestion and helps keep the blood mildly alkaline. They are used in whole or as a paste. 

Yeast - homemade yeast is a healthy alternative to the commercial varieties. It can be prepared in several ways or substituted with cooked rice or other grains that turned slightly sour. 
Preparing yeast: mix 2 cups wheat flour and 11/2 cup water in a earthen or glass bowl. Cover with a cloth and put in a cold and dark place. Each day for 6-7 days add 1/4 cup water and 1/3 cup flour and stir well. When bubbles form in the dough and it has a sweet-sour smell - the yeast is ready. It must have a pouring consistency, but be thick enough not to run between fingers. Keep in refrigerator. Add new flour twice a week, so it won't spoil.