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SEASONAL DELIGHTS (Fall 2020) - Kyushu (九州): Relax - Rejuvenate - Recover

SEASONED NORI (SEAWEED)

SEASONED NORI (SEAWEED)
(味海苔)

Producer: Marukawa Nori
Prefecture: Fukuoka

Often called the “City of Water” and the “Venice of Kyushu,” the canals of Yanagawa City in Fukuoka Prefecture are filled with water from the Ariake Sea. With tides that can drop as much as six meters, the mineral-rich waters produce nutrient-dense, umami-filled nori (seaweed). The Marukawa family have made this place their home and use a natural drying process to enhance the flavours of their seaweed while adding a unique combination of seasonings from the sea.

Ingredients: Dried seaweed, kelp, shrimp, skipjack extract, soy sauce (includes soybeans and wheat), sake, mirin, sugar, salt, chili pepper
Suggested uses: Eat with freshly cooked rice. Cut into thin strips and use to season noodles, stir fried vegetables, or freshly tossed salads. Or enjoy as is, as a snack.
Nutritional information: N/A

 

LOCAL SPECIALTY: FLYING FISH

Tobiuo, or flying fish, are a specialty food of Kyushu. The fish have brilliant silver undersides, dark blue backs, and translucent wings on either side of their bodies. By wiggling their tails, the fish can be seen “flying” above the water. They can be served raw as sashimi, salted and cured, or deep fried whole and eaten from its head to its wings!

SHIITAKE MUSHROOM SOUP WITH FLYING FISH DASHI

SHIITAKE MUSHROOM SOUP WITH FLYING FISH DASHI
(あごだししいたけお吸い物)

Producer: Matsuoka Shiitake Production
Prefecture: Oita

This soup includes dashi (or stock) made from flying fish. Compared to other fish, flying fish have less fat and more protein, resulting in a less fishy yet still flavorful broth.

Another premium ingredient is traditionally cultivated shiitake mushrooms. The majority of shiitake mushrooms come from Japan where they are revered for their deep umami flavor and numerous health benefits. Matsuoka Shiitake Production has been specializing in natural mushroom cultivation for over 100 years, growing their mushrooms on kunugi (Japanese chestnut oak) logs, which give these mushrooms a distinct sweet flavor. After being picked, the mushrooms are dried naturally in the sun which further concentrates their juicy flavors.

Ingredients: Shiitake mushroom (produced in Oita), soy sauce (includes soybeans and wheat), starch, parsley, powdered shiitake mushroom extract, shaved dried skipjack extract, salt, sesame seeds, kelp extract, powdered grilled flying fish, sugar, yeast extract
Suggested uses: Add 160ml of hot water, stir and enjoy.
Nutritional information: N/A

FLYING FISH BROTH  (あごつゆ)
FLYING FISH BROTH
(あごつゆ)

Producer: Nagasaki Goto Udon
Prefecture: Nagasaki

This concentrated flying fish broth from Nagasaki Goto Udon includes a regional dashi which combines kelp and bonito flakes with flying fish. The flying fish are roasted on skewers over a charcoal fire, before being dried in the sun. The process concentrates the umami flavors from the ocean, resulting in a dashi that is more refined and crisp.

Ingredients: Soy sauce (including wheat and soybeans), mirin, sugar, salt, grilled flying fish powder, yeast extract, bonito flakes, kelp extract, fish and shellfish extract
Suggested uses: Dilute 4 parts water to 1 part broth. Use as a broth for udon noodles (try with the Goto Udon included in this Care Package) or when simmering vegetables.
Nutritional information: N/A

GOTO UDON
GOTO UDON
(五島手延うどん)

Producer: Nagasaki Goto Udon
Prefecture: Nagasaki

The camellia japonica plant grows along streams in the mountains of Japan. These tall, dark-leafed plants bloom deep pink flowers with bright yellow centers. Camellia oil is the secret behind the silky yet chewy texture of one of Japan’s rarest udon noodle: goto udon. Goto udon comes from the Goto islands, one of the westernmost islands of Japan. Even many Japanese have not tasted these noodles!

The shape and texture comes from hand-twisting the noodles into strands and then repeatedly pulling the noodles. Camellia oil is added to smooth the surface of the dry noodles in a process called migaki (literally “polishing”). This technique, which has been passed down over centuries, results in the remarkable smoothness of goto udon. Even after boiling, you can taste the faint aroma of camellia oil from the wooded streams of Goto Islands.

Ingredients: Wheat flour (from Japan), salt, camellia (tea seed) oil
Suggested uses: To cook, slowly add the noodles to 2L of boiling water. Adjust the heat to keep a gentle boil and cook for 7 mins. Drain and rinse under cool water. On the Goto Islands, goto udon are typically eaten with a soy based dipping sauce combined with a raw egg. We recommend using the Flying Fish Broth included in this Care Package. The noodles can also be enjoyed with a light, tomato-based sauce or added to soup.
Nutritional information: N/A 

YUUKOU PONZU

YUUKOU PONZU
(龍の泪(ゆうこう))

Producer: Kappo Toshi
Prefecture: Nagasaki

While many Japanese food aficionados may be familiar with the citrus fruit yuzu, few have heard of yuukou, which is found only in Nagasaki Prefecture. It is believed that only 100 trees of this unique citrus fruit are still growing naturally today. The fruit is so rare that it has been designated a world heritage food in the “Ark of Taste,” a global effort which seeks to protect local regional food diversity.

The flesh is juicy and soft, and the peel has a bright yellow color. It carries subtle sour undertones and a strong sweetness. Kappo Toshi uses the natural sweetness of yuukou to create this ponzu without mirin (sweet rice wine) or added sugar. The flavor of the ponzu blossoms from Kappo Toshi’s trade secret on how it is aged. 

Ingredients: Vinegar, soy sauce, sake, yuukou juice (produced in Nagasaki), shaved dried skipjack, kelp (includes soybeans and wheat)
Suggested uses: Use to season vegetables such as thinly sliced cucumbers or as a dipping sauce for noodles or grilled fish or chicken.
Nutritional information: N/A

 

PRODUCER: Fujisaki Shoji

Fujisaki Shoji is a specialty producer of pickled vegetables known as tsukemono. Tsukemono help to harmonize the flavors of a meal, adding zest to rich foods, saltiness to plain rice, and bright colors to delight the eye. For their pickles, Fujisaki Shoji uses local vegetables grown and harvested in Kyushu. 

TAKANA (MUSTARD GREENS)
TAKANA (MUSTARD GREENS)
(味高菜)

Producer: Fujisaki Shoji
Prefecture: Kagoshima

Takana, or pickled mustard greens, are made from the peppery-tasting leaves of the mustard plant. Pickling the greens helps to retain its flavor while reducing its natural bitterness. The resulting pickle is mildly spicy, satisfyingly crunchy and extremely versatile.

Ingredients: Takana (mustard greens), sesame seeds, kelp, red pepper, ginger, pickling ingredients (glucose syrup, soy sauce, mirin, fermented seasoning, turmeric, salt, vinegar) (includes wheat and soybeans)

Suggested uses: Enjoy as is or cut into pieces and add to pasta or pizza sauces, omelettes, risotto, as a filling for rice balls or in the Takana Fried Rice recipe included.
Nutritional information: N/A

BLACK VINEGAR AND BROWN SUGAR DAIKON TSUKEMONO

BLACK VINEGAR AND BROWN SUGAR DAIKON TSUKEMONO
(黒酢黒糖壺漬け)

Producer: Fujisaki Shoji
Prefecture: Kagoshima

If you travel to Kagoshima, you’ll stumble across fields of knee high black ceramic pots known as tsubo. Inside, three simple ingredients - steamed rice, water, and koji (Aspergillus oryzae fungus) - are slowly fermenting to create Japan’s prized kurozu (or black vinegar). Japanese black vinegar is aged up to 3 years, resulting in a vinegar with a deep, caramel color, similar to whiskey. The flavor is more mild and less acidic than regular vinegar with an earthy aroma. Here, black vinegar is combined with locally grown daikon radish to create these pickled daikon tsukemono.

Ingredients: Dried daikon radish, pickling ingredients (glucose syrup, brown sugar, soy sauce, mirin, salt, black vinegar) (includes wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is or on a bowl of cooked rice. Chop it and add it to tacos, burgers, or sandwiches.
Nutritional information: N/A

 

ASO'S LION'S MANE COFFEE
ASO'S LION'S MANE COFFEE
(ヤマブシタケコーヒー)

Producer: Aso Kenko Noen
Prefecture: Kumamoto

Ground coffee is combined with dried yamabushitake (lion’s mane) mushrooms, grown in the small village of Minamiaso, to create this energizing and naturally-stimulating drink. The mushrooms get their name from their white, shaggy appearance, resembling an untamed lion’s mane. Traditional herbalists in Japan have long prized these mushrooms for their healing properties, which are now being studied for their ability to help relieve irritability and fatigue, and to improve memory.

Ingredients: Coffee, lion’s mane mushrooms

Suggested uses: Gently shake the bag to allow the powder inside the filter to settle. Open the bag and remove the filter. Hook the filter over the sides of the mug then bend back the hooks on either side, following the dotted lines. Gently pour a small bit of boiling water through the filter. Wait for 30 seconds. Then add water 3 or 4 more times for a total of 120-200ml (depending on your preferred strength). Please see the diagram. 
Nutritional information: N/A

GINGER USUKI SENBEI

GINGER USUKI SENBEI
(臼杵煎餅 生姜)

Producer: Goto Seika
Prefecture: Oita

The modest shop of Goto Seika is so small you can’t even step inside. Customers are served through a window which opens directly to the narrow street. Inside, Kimi Goto, an active and energetic woman at the age of 98 years, serves visitors 364 days a year (except New Years’ Day).

This specialty thin cracker is believed to have originated with the Usuki clan over 400 years ago. Ginger is mixed with sugar and then painted by hand onto each cracker. The crackers are then re-baked giving them a white, wood-grain appearance.

Ingredients: Flour (product of Kyushu), sugar, ginger (product of Kyushu), eggs, leavening agents
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is. Delicious with tea or coffee.
Nutritional information: N/A 

KARAIMO (SWEET POTATO) CANDY

KARAIMO (SWEET POTATO) CANDY
(食べ切りいも飴)
Producer: Fujiya Seika
Prefecture: Kagoshima

Kagoshima is famous for its sweet potatoes and even the very word for sweet potato in Japanese, satsumaimo, comes from Kagoshima’s historical name, Satsuma. However, in Kagoshima’s local dialect, sweet potatoes are known as karaimo.

These traditional Karaimo Candies are made by roasting sweet potatoes to bring out their rich flavor and natural sweetness. Following a method passed down from the Heian period (794 to 1185), Fujiya Seika adds malt, which is believed to improve digestion. The candy has a hard texture at first, but will develop a smooth and sticky consistency, similar to caramel or saltwater taffy, as you chew.

Ingredients: Sweet potato (from Kagoshima Prefecture), sweet potato starch, sugar, malt, roasted barley (barley, rye)
Suggested uses: Eat as is. Enjoy with tea or coffee.
Nutritional information: N/A

 

GIFT

TATAMI PLACEMAT

TATAMI PLACEMAT
(小畳)

Producer: Hagiwara
Prefecture: Kumamoto and Tokyo

Woven from rice straw and rush grass, tatami is most recognized as a traditional floor material in Japan. This placemat from Hagiwara is made from local tatami in Kumamoto Prefecture. The authentic quality is evident its the earthy and calming aroma. The pattern decorating the edge is called kamegiku, meaning turtle and chrysanthemum. Extra depth is brought to the design by the reflective threads, which sparkle and shine from different angles.

To ensure a long life for your placemat, keep it dry. If you need to clean it, wipe it with a slightly damp rag and let it dry completely to protect against mold. The tatami is sensitive to heat, so do not place anything hot on it. The color of the tatami may deepen with time which is a natural aging process.