NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (March 2023) - Kyushu: Regional Southern Specialties (九州)
(PICKLED DAIKON WITH BONITO FLAKES)
Tsukemono (lit. “pickled things”) are a staple in Japanese cuisine and are found in almost every Japanese meal. Originally a way to preserve local seasonal ingredients, they add flavor and a crunchy texture while cleansing one’s palate and aiding in digestion. Tsubozuke (lit. “tsubo pickles”) are a local, traditional pickle originally from Kagoshima that have been passed down for 400 years. They get their name from the large ceramic pots, known as tsubo, that are used to store ingredients as they pickle and/or ferment. Tsubo can be seen in fields across Kagoshima and the resulting tsubozuke have a milder flavor and aroma when compared to other pickles.
These tsubozuke from Fujisaki Shoji won the prestigious Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award at the 8th Agricultural Festival Pickles Promotion Exhibition in 1969. They are made from daikon (Japanese radish) grown on Sakurajima (lit. “cherry blossom island”), which is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and a symbol of Kagoshima. Sakurajima daikon are soft-fleshed and were recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest daikon. Fujisaki Shoji makes their tsubozuke by cutting Sakurajima daikon into 4 cm thick slices, pickling them in salt in tsubo for at least 6 months, fermenting them, and then soaking them in sake-kasu (sake lees) to remove the salt content. After about one month, the sake lees becomes salty, so it is pickled again with new sake lees. This process is repeated three times, and when the saltiness is reduced, the sake lees is seasoned with sugar and seasonings, and then soaked for another two months. This process produces beautiful amber-colored, shiny pickles which are also flavored with katsuo (bonito flakes) from Makurazaki. Makurazaki is located at the southernmost tip of the Satsuma Hanto peninsula in Kagoshima and is the largest producer of katsuo in Japan. In fact, Makurazaki has been nicknamed “katsuo town”.
Ingredients:Dried daikon (Japanese radish), bonito flakes, chili pepper, pickle syrup (sweetener (starch syrup, sugar), seafood extract, soy sauce, fermented seasoning, salt, vinegar) (includes wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses:Serve with rice, as fukujinzuke (a type of pickle served with Japanese curry rice), or as a snack. Try it in theChirashizushi with Pickles and Curry Fried Rice with Katsu Tsubozuke Pickles and Minced Pork recipes provided.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible.
KYUSHU VEGETABLE PANCAKE
These artisanal sweet and savory pancakes capture the everyday tastes of Kyushu using only local ingredients. The pancake mix is made with wheat from Oita Prefecture, brown rice grown without pesticides in Aya Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, glutinous millet from Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture, germinated pressed barley from Saga Prefecture, ancient black rice and red rice from Kumamoto and Fukuoka Prefectures, Uruchi rice grown in the fertile lands of Kagoshima Prefecture, and sugar from Okinawa and Kagoshima Prefectures. Five kinds of vegetables from Kyushu are then added to the mix, including carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, and komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach).
Kyushu Table works with local producers to develop products that are rooted in the regional climate, and in doing so, connect the agricultural land to their consumers.
Ingredients:Wheat flour (produced in Kyushu), sugar, glutinous millet flour, carrot powder, germinated pressed barley flour, black rice powder, germinated brown rice powder, red rice powder, salt, Uruchi rice powder, sweet potato powder, broccoli powder, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) powder, baking powder (contains some wheat)
Suggested uses:To make the pancakes (7 pancakes, ~12cm in diameter), beat an egg with 200ml of milk. Separately, pour the full package of the Kyushu Vegetable Pancake mix into a large bowl. Add the egg and milk mixture a little bit at a time while mixing well but leave a bit of the naturally lumpy texture of the batter (the lumpy texture is due to the seven different types of grains in the mix). Pour 1/7 of the batter into a frying pan on low heat with a little oil or butter. When you see bubbles form on the pancake, flip it over. Cook each side only once until golden brown (about 2 mins per side). Repeat until you’ve made 7 pancakes.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening. If the batter is left for a long time before cooking, the baking powder will react with moisture which may cause the pigment of the black rice to turn green. This is not harmful but we recommend cooking the batter promptly once made.
KYUSHU-STYLE VEGAN YAKINIKU SAUCE
Yakiniku (lit. "grilled meat") is a type of Japanese BBQ that typically consists of grilling bite-sized pieces of meat, chicken, seafood and/or vegetables over an open flame. In Japan, you can visit yakiniku restaurants where plates of raw ingredients are ordered and cooked by the guests on a communal grill built into the table. Once cooked, the ingredients are dipped into a special sweet and spicy yakiniku sauce and enjoyed hot off the grill.
Kyushu-style yakiniku sauce is less spicy and tends to have a slightly sweeter taste. This special yakiniku sauce is also entirely vegan yet full of flavor. It's made from an umami-rich soy sauce which is seasoned with garlic, apple vinegar, ginger, lemon juice, sesame seeds, chili pepper and sweetened with apples, bananas and a touch of sugar.
Nagano selects their fruits and vegetables through their network of buyers without purchasing through wholesalers, allowing them to choose the highest quality ingredients.
Ingredients:Soy sauce (including wheat and soybeans), sugar, onion, apple, banana, garlic, apple cider vinegar, ginger, lemon juice, sesame, chili pepper
Suggested uses:Shake well before using.Use as a dipping sauce for grilled, thinly sliced beef, chicken, seafood and/or vegetables or use it to season fried rice, stir fried vegetables, boiled eggs (marinated for at least 4 hours in the fridge after boiled), or in theKaraage (Fried Chicken) with Yakiniku Sauce recipe provided.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.
MISO CANDIED SWEET POTATO
This special treat combines two local specialties from Kyushu: satsumaimo (sweet potato) from southern Kyushu and Yamauchi Honten’s own “Maboroshi Miso” (maboroshi means illusion/vision and represents the perfectly balanced flavor and sophistication of this miso which requires the skill of experienced craftsmen to create). The sweet potatoes are fried with their skin on until crispy and then baked with a mix of butter, sugar and maboroshi miso which adds a rich, umami sweetness.
Yamauchi Honten began making their miso and soy sauce over 270 years ago in 1751 in the lively town of Shinmachi on thewest side of the famous Kumamoto Castle where local merchants gathered. In 1999, in an effort to preserve the local groundwater, they installed a rainwater infiltration basin and in 2009 became the first small and medium-sized enterprise to reach an agreement with the Council for Promotion of Water Recycling Farming to recycle groundwater in the Kumamoto region by supporting the flooding of paddy fields in the Shirakawa middle basin. These efforts are expected to replenish ~120,000 tons of groundwater annually.
Ingredients:Sweet potato (from Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefecture), vegetable oil, sugar, miso (contains soybeans), butter
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is (please note the candy is quite hard so take care when chewing). Pairs well with any of the teas from our Japanese Green and Specialty Teas: “Ryu” Care Package.
HOMEMADE MATCHA KUDZU MOCHI KIT
Kudzu, also known as kuzu or Japanese arrowroot, is a climbing vine which grows native in Japan, particularly in Kagoshima, which is one of the leading production areas of kudzu in Japan. The roots are repeatedly crushed and soaked to remove the fibrous bark and any impurities, and then squeezed to extract a pure snow-white starch. The best quality starch is made by harvesting the roots in the cold of winter and has become a precious ingredient as the number of kudzu root foragers and areas where high quality kudzu can be harvested have decreased. The starch is used as a thickener to make Japanese sauces, noodles, and desserts, including a sweet jelly known as kudzu mochi. Here it’s mixed with Japan’s prized green tea, matcha, to create a perfectly balanced bitter sweet treat.
Established in 1868, Hirohachido is headquartered in the scenic castle town of Akizuki in Fukuoka Prefecture, an area which once flourished as a large producing region of hon kuzu or “real” kudzu. Their factory is now located in Kagoshima, overlooking the majestic Sakurajima (lit. “cherry blossom island), which is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and a symbol of Kagoshima. Hirohachido’s roughly 300 horiko (people who specialize in digging kudzu roots) collect the kudzu roots which are transformed into kudzu starch using the traditional “kanzarashi” method, which has been passed down for generations. This technique involves soaking the kudzu root in icy-cold water, which helps to preserve the natural and unique tastes of the local climate. In doing so, Hirohachido is able to pass on the charm of kudzu inherited from their ancestors while preserving ancient Japanese culture. They also boast the only kudzu facility that treats 800 tons of wastewater per day and is part of their commitment to protect the environment and the natural ingredients they use.
Ingredients:Sugar (domestic), hon (“true”) kudzu powder, matcha
Suggested uses:To make one serving, mix one pouch of the matcha kudzu mochi powder with 30ml of water in a heat resistant cup. Add 45ml of milk and mix well. Heat in a microwave for 1 min (600W). Remove and mix well from the bottom with a spoon. Heat in the microwave for another 30 secs (600W). You will know the mochi is ready when it starts to rise. Be careful not to spill.