Thick Japanese noodles made from wheat flour. They are available fresh or dried and are known for their chewy texture.


Considered the fifth “basic taste,” Umami is a pleasant, savory and earthy taste. Umami is present in many vegetables and in seafood, as well as some meats. It has a subtle flavor that blends well with other tastes and often goes unrecognized. For more information on umami, click here.


Uni is the gonads of a sea urchin. It is harvested all over the world, with green sea urchins more prominent in northern climates, and red sea urchins more common in more southern climates. Uni is most often used in sushi; however, it can also be served in tempura, custard, or hors d’oeuvres.


Unsweetened chocolate has no sugar or milk solids added to it. It must have at least 50% cocoa butter content and is used for cooking where a chocolate flavor is desired without sweetness. Unsweetened chocolate has a variety of names including baking chocolate, and plain chocolate.


Urad dal is an ingredient made from split black lentils. It is used extensively throughout India and South Asia. It is a good source of plant protein, making it a popular substitute in many vegetarian dishes.


Urfa Biber (no, not related to Justin) is a Turkish red pepper from the region of Urfa. It is a dark purple or maroon and is surprisingly soft: it looks and feels a bit like ground raisins. They are available from Kalustyan’s online and at many other large spice purveyors. These peppers have been increasing in popularity and can be found at high-end specialty markets and health food stores.