In Japanese cuisine, the traditional type of wheat gluten is called fu (lit. "gluten"). In Japan, the two main types of fu are most widely used in Buddhist vegetarian cooking (Shojin ryori) and tea ceremony cuisine (Kaiseki ryori).
There are two main forms of fu, the raw nama-fu, and the dry yaki-fu:
1.Raw (nama-fu: Solid gluten is mixed with glutinous rice flour and millet and steamed in large blocks. It may be shaped and colored in a variety of ways, using ingredients such as mugwort. Popular shapes include autumn-colored maple leaves, bunnies, and other generally "cute" forms. Such shapes and colors enhance the attractiveness of the cooked product since steamed gluten has an unappealing grey tone. Nama-fu is an important ingredient in Sh˘jin-ry˘ri, the Buddhist vegetarian cuisine of Japan. It may also be used as an ingredient in wagashi, Japanese confectionery. Fu-manju is a type of manju made from nama-fu. Solid gluten is sweetened and filled with various sweet fillings such as red bean paste. They are then wrapped in leaves and steamed in a manner similar to that used to prepare Chinese zongzi.
2.Dry baked (yaki-fu or sukiyaki-fu): The gluten is leavened with baking powder and baked into long bread-like sticks. It is often sold in cut form, as hard dry discs resembling croutons or bread rusk. Yaki-fu is typically added to miso soup and sukiyaki, where it absorbs some of the broth and acquires a fine texture that is lighter and fluffier than its Chinese equivalent. It is the most commonly available type of fu in Japanese supermarkets.
In Japan, seitan, initially a rather salty macrobiotic seasoning that gradually evolved into a food, is not well known or widely available, despite the macrobiotic diet's Japanese origins. When used, the terms for this food are rendered in katakana as (Romanized "gurutenmţto," from the English "gluten meat"), or, rarely, Seitan. Outside macrobiotic circles, these terms are virtually unknown in Japan, and they do not typically appear in Japanese dictionaries.