和える(あえる/aeru) is a Japanese verb to mean “to dress [main ingredient] (with {a sauce})” and it’s often used in the pattern, [vegetable] の {Sause} 和え(あえ).

For example, the dish in the photo is ホウレン草の胡麻和え(ほうれんそうのごまあえ/hourensou_no_goma_ae), which is spinach dressed with sesame.

Often the main ingredient is called 具(ぐ/gu) and the sauce is called 衣(ころも/koromo).

Depending on the main ingredient in 衣, the dishes are called:

  • 胡麻和え(ごまあえ/goma_ae): sesame
  • 白和え(しらあえ/shira_ae): drained tofu (soybean curd) and white miso
  • 酢味噌和え(すみそあえ/sumiso_ae) : vinegar and miso
  • 辛し和え(からしあえ/Karashi_ae): mustard

Each of these 衣 will of course be seasoned with other ingredients like salt, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, etc.

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