SEASONAL DELIGHTS (Spring 2023) - Kyushu: Regional Southern Specialties (九州)
KYUSHU MUSHROOM MISO SOUP WITH LACTIC ACID
Almost every meal in Japan comes with a hot bowl of miso soup. This miso soup includes three local kinds of mushrooms: bunashimeji (also known as beech mushrooms as they often grow on fallen beech trees), succulent and woodsy maitake, and chewy, long yet tiny capped enokitake. These are combined with Choko Shoyu's barley miso from Nagasaki and 10 billion shielded lactic acid bacteria which helps to highlight each mushroom’s unique flavor and texture.
Choko was established in 1941 by 29 local soy sauce producers as the first soy sauce cooperative in the industry. The group has carefully preserved traditional brewing techniques of soy sauce and miso with a commitment to safety, quality and taste, as well as the United Nations’ SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). They are also a member of the Good Food Making Association - an organization that is reexamining food in pursuit of health and deliciousness in daily life. They believe that those who produce and sell food have a responsibility to preserve traditional, seasonal flavors while protecting the environment.
Ingredients:Barley miso (domestic ), bunashimeji mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, enokitake mushrooms, dextrin, leeks, bonito flakes extract, starch, kelp extract, yeast extract powder, lactic acid bacteria powder (sterilized), antioxidant (Vitamin E), (contains soybeans)
Suggested uses:Mix contents of the package with 160ml boiling water.
SAIKI ESO (WHITE FISH) GOMADASHI (DASHI SESAME SAUCE)
Gomadashi (lit. “sesame broth”) is made from a flavorful paste consisting of a local Kyushu grilled white fish known as eso mixed with soy sauce and miso. It’s commonly used to make gomadashi udon which originated from the seaside town of Saiki in Oita Prefecture and was selected as one of the 100 best local dishes. It is said to have been invented by local fishermen as a way to preserve eso on days when there was a large catch. Here, eso is ground together with sesame seeds, mirin, sugar and soy sauce to create an authentic and savory sauce.
Ingredients:Eso (Oita Prefecture), honjozo (authentically brewed soy sauce) (contains soybeans and wheat), sesame seeds, mirin, sugar (sugar cane from Kikaijima Island)
Suggested uses:To make gomadashi udon, add 1.5-2 Tbsp of gomadashi to a bowl of cooked udon along with your favorite toppings. Add hot water, stir and enjoy. Can also be mixed with sesame oil or olive oil to make a dipping sauce for spring rolls. Use it to make yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls) by mixing 1 Tbsp of gomadashi with 170g of cooked rice, molding into a triangle with your hands, gently grilling the onigiri in sesame oil then adding a light coating of gomadashi before grilling again until crispy and brown. Can also be added to ochazuke (rice with tea), fried rice, as a topping for tofu, mixed with boiled spinach or added to a tomato salad. Mix with double the amount of mayonnaise to make a spread for bread/toast.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.
SHIIBA VILLAGE NEMURASE TOFU (VEGAN CREAM CHEESE)
This nemurase (lit. “slept”) tofu is a slow food unique to the village of Shiiba, located deep in the central mountains of Kyushu in northwestern Miyazaki Prefecture, where 96% of the area is forested. Shiiba, with a population of only 3,130, is one of the three most remote villages in Japan with a natural beauty that is reminiscent of the original Japanese landscape. The people practice “kateri” in which people help each other with farm work, creating a bond that is the foundation for protecting fields, forests and culture.
The traditional tofu is fermented using the power of nature and represents the centuries old mountain food culture of the region. Firm tofu is gently wrapped in konbu and soy sauce without being heated or seasoned. It is then placed in a miso barrel and covered in barley miso before being left to marinade and age for six months. It is then carefully removed and fermented for another six months in new barley miso. The one year process results in a savory, rich tofu that is considered a Japanese version of cream cheese.
Ingredients:Tofu (domestic), konbu (kelp), pickled ingredients (miso), coagulant (includes soybeans)
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is (pairs well with sake or wine!), on freshly cooked rice or as a filling for onigiri (rice balls). Use as you would cream cheese by spreading it on crackers or a baguette, or as a dipping sauce for vegetable sticks. Mix with mayonnaise to make a salad dressing. Also pairs well with a glass of sake or wine!
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.
Soba (buckwheat) has been part of the Japanese diet since ancient times. In the Edo Era, before soba noodles were created, people enjoyed sobagaki, a thick, warm dough made from pure soba flour mixed with water. The soba used for sobagaki comes from the springtime harvest, which has a more subtle, nutty flavor compared to the fall. And unlike soba noodles, which can contain added wheat, sobagaki is made with 100% pure buckwheat flour, making it the ideal way to enjoy the full soba flavor. The addition of local ginger also adds a nice mellow spice.
These days, nearly 90% of Japanese soba is imported. Our producer, Okisu, makes their sobagaki from a domestic species of soba grown in Kanoya City in Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ingredients:Sobagaki: Buckwheat flour (species native to Kanoya City in Kagoshima), ginger (from Kagoshima); Sauce: soybeans (non-GMO), wheat, salt
Suggested uses:Pour all the sobagaki powder into the paper bowl and add one cup of water using the smaller paper cup provided. Stir well and cook uncovered in the microwave for 2 mins (500W). Remove and stir again. To make on the stove-top, fill the smaller paper cup with water and pour into a small pot. Stir in all the sobagaki powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently until the sobagaki becomes doughy and fluffy. Eat with chopsticks by dipping bite-sized pieces into the sauce, or enjoy as a dessert by forming the sobagaki into balls and topping them with butter and honey.
KYUSHU SWEET POTATO PANCAKE
These artisanal 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. Added to this is the natural flavor and sweetness from local satsumaimo (sweet potatoes).
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 (from Kyushu), sugar, sweet potato powder, glutinous millet flour, germinated pressed barley flour, black rice flour, germinated brown rice flour, red rice flour, salt, Uruchi rice flour, baking powder (contains 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.
HYŌROKU MOCHI CANDY
Hyōrokumochi is a local sweet made and sold exclusively by SeikaShokuhin in Kagoshima Prefecture and can only be purchased in stores throughout Kyushu. It has the soft, chewy taste of mochi to which white sweet bean paste, nutty kinako (soybean flour), umami-rich dried nori powder and bitter sweet green tea are added. It is then shaped into a small cube and wrapped in a thin film of edible starch.
The candies are named after “Ōishi Hyōroku Yumemonogatari” (The Tale of Hyoroku's Dreams), a Kagoshima book written by Mōri Masanao (1761-1803), a samurai of the Satsuma domain in the middle of the Edo period. The story features a brave and courageous boy from Satsuma, Ōishi Hyōroku (depicted on the cover of the package), who sets out to capture a wild fox that lives in Yoshinogahara, northeast of the city, and finally returns home after being tricked by the fox many times.
Seika Shokuhin wasestablished more than 100 years ago, in 1903, as a confectionery wholesaler in Southern Kyushu. With an enterprising spirit and energy, they deliver satisfaction through food while living together with the local community and contributing to its development.
Ingredients:Starch syrup (domestic), sugar, maltose, glutinous rice, white sweet bean paste, oblate (starch wrapper), soybean flour, dried nori powder, powdered green tea (from Kagoshima), starch, soy lecithin
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is. Pairs well with theŌsumi Ginger Oolong Tea included in this Care Package or any of the teas from our Japanese Green and Specialty Teas: “Ryu” Care Package.
SOY SAUCE CANDIED SWEET POTATO
This special treat combines satsumaimo (sweet potatoes) from southern Kyushu andYamauchi Honten’s traditionalhonjozo (authentically brewed soy sauce)which was presented to Emperor Hirohito in 1931 and won the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries National Soy Sauce Award in 1994 and 2003. The sweet potatoes are fried with their skin on until crispy and then baked with a mix of butter, sugar and honjozo 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 Kyushu), vegetable oil, sugar, soy sauce (includes wheat and soybeans), butter
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is. Pairs well with theŌsumi Yuzu Green Tea included in this Care Package or any of the teas from our Japanese Green and Specialty Teas: “Ryu” Care Package.
KYUSHU RICEAMAZAKE (SWEET NON-ALCOHOL SAKE)
Amazake is a traditional, sweet drink made from fermented rice or sake lees. Using a process similar to making sake, koji (aspergillus oryzae mold) is combined with cooled whole grain rice to break down the carbohydrates, resulting in a naturally sweet drink. Many Shinto shrines in Japan offer amazake as part of the New Year celebrations, but it can also be enjoyed any time of year.
This special amazake is made from only two natural ingredients: carefully selected rice from Kyushu which is specifically suited for amazake and 100 year old rice koji. Unlike common plate-shaped koji, whole rice koji is used given its larger surface area which results in better fermentation and a sweeter tasting amazake. No other preservatives, sugar, nor salt is added. Expert craftsmen monitor the rice and water quality, temperature and humidity, which leads to a pure and natural amazake, full of vitamin B and essential amino acids. It also has no alcohol, making it safe for everyone from children to the elderly to enjoy.
Hoshisan was founded in 1906 by the current president’s grandparents and for over 100 years, has been creating products grown from the groundwater deep below Aso City in Kumamoto Prefecture. Using the same original methods, their skilled craftsmen age rice, barley, and soybeans to create their signature products.
Ingredients:Koji (rice malt) (domestic), rice (domestic)
Suggested uses:Extremely versatile, enjoy as a drink, sauce or seasoning. Make a drink by diluting in a 1:1 ratio with hot or cold water, milk or soy milk. Use to make a latte or add a piece of ginger for extra flavor. Use like sweet condensed milk on strawberries, as a spread on toast instead of jam, or add to yogurt. Use as a sugar substitute when cooking to add a bit of sweetness to dishes such as Japanese omelets, pancakes and simmered dishes.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.
ŌSUMI YUZU GREEN TEA
Wakohen’s steamed green tea is made from the freshest tea leaves picked from their fields in Ōsumi, located in the eastern part of Kagoshima Prefecture. The leaves are carefully and diligently steamed to produce a tea with the highest quality color, richness and taste, which is then combined with yuzu (Japan’s beloved citrus fruit) to create a tea that balances vegetal green tea with tart, sweet citrus.
Wakohen’s story started about 70 years ago, when Hitoshi Horiguchi had the vision of growing tea on a small 1ha parcel of land. His son, Yasuhisa, helped to increase the number of tea gardens and factories, but noticed that chemicals were having a bad effect on nature and humans. After 10 years of research, he successfully created a machine he called the “Hurricane King” which uses water and high pressure winds, similar to a typhoon, to blow and wash away pests from the tea gardens. He also invented the “SL Steam Buster” which leverages high temperature steam to stop weeds from growing. His passion has helped to grow his tea farm to 130 ha while making Kagoshima the biggest tea producing region of Japan.
Hitoshi’s grandson Daisuke is now continuing the story of the Horiguchi family having created a group of machines, some which are only used on Wakohen’s tea farms, to grow chemical-free tea. In a few years the 4th generation of the Horiguchi family will continue writing this tea story, of which you are now a part.
Ingredients: Green tea, yuzu
Suggested uses:Place one tea bag in ~300ml (~2 tea cups) of boiled water and brew for 2-3mins.
KUSUNOKI NATURAL BATH SALT & LAUNDRY DETERGENT
(くすのき バスソルト & 石けん洗剤)
Kusunoki (camphor oil) is an essential oil made from tropical camphor trees native to Kyushu. It has a refreshing and woodsy aroma that promotes relaxation and sweeps you away to the forests of southern Japan.
Kusu Handmade sources their kusunoki from thin and bent logs that are not suitable for building materials, thereby helping to minimize waste with a conscious focus on protecting the environment. Given the unique characteristics of each camphor tree (the attributes and traits can differ even within each tree!), Kusu Handmade insists that their skilled craftsmen take the time and care to distill their kusunoki in-house in order to capture and extract these differences.
Japan, and Kyushu in particular, is famous for its natural hot springs known as onsens. A very special activity to partake in, the tradition of communal bathing has been around for centuries and is a wonderful way to relax and support your skin health (especially while taking in the breathtaking mountain views!). Kusunoki’s natural bath salt combines Kusu Handmade’s kusunoki with 250 million year old natural lake salt from the Tibetan Plateau. The natural minerals will warm your body from the core while the refreshing aroma will refresh you.
The laundry detergent includes lavender and mint oil, which combined with the kusunoki, will make your laundry feel fresh and soft while capturing the local scents of Kyushu.
Ingredients:Bath salt: Natural lake salt, kusunoki (camphor oil). Laundry detergent: Pure soap (70% sodium fatty acid), carbonate, silicate (alkaline agent), lavender oil, kusunoki (camphor oil), mint oil
Suggested uses:Bath salt: Add the contents of the whole package to your bath. Laundry detergent: Use for cotton, linen, rayon or synthetic fibers. Add the contents of the whole package directly into your washing machine.