Tsukudani is the umbrella term for seafood, meat, seaweed, or vegetables that have been simmered in soy sauce and mirin. First invented during the Edo period, the tsukudani cooking method uses salt and sugar to preserve ingredients, transforming them into a storable side dish. Accordingly, konbu tsukudani is made from kelp that has been simmered in a salty, sweet, and umami sauce.As it reintroduces flavor to boiled ingredients and prevents food waste at the same time, preparing tsukudani is a popular way to reuse ingredients that are leftover from making dashi stock.
In our recipe, we use konbu from the producer Nagaike Konbu located in Osaka prefecture. Nagaike Konbu sources their kelp from the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, where mineral-rich, ice-cold water flowing down from Siberia provides a nutrient-dense environment for some of the world’s best konbu to grow. They use native, not farm-raised, ma-konbu (“true kelp”) given its high quality, refined flavor, and deep aroma.
To make konbu tsukudani, simply cut boiled konbu into thin, bite-sized strips. Then, simmer it in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, and vinegar until well coated. The konbu will absorb the flavors of the sauce and take on a tender texture. Once plated, sprinkle katsuoboshi (bonito flakes) on top as a garnish.
Konbu tsukudani can be enjoyed hot, or refrigerated and served chilled at a later time. Try serving it as a topping for steamed rice, as a side dish for teishoku (set meal), or simply on its own.
- 35g leftover konbu from making dashi
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp vinegar
- Pinch of katsuobushi
- Cut the kombu into thin 1-3cm strips.
- Quickly fry in a pan on medium heat with soy sauce, mirin and vinegar. When coated, add the katsuobushi.
- Store in the fridge and serve as is or with rice.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.
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