FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (10)-32019/09/19（Thu）
♪ Kumamoto prefecture is one of the leading agricultural prefectures in Japan, and produces many agricultural products. Aquaculture is thriving for fishery products. The source of tap water in Kumamoto prefecture is provided only by groundwater.
♪ Kumamoto prefecture has abundant agricultural products such as watermelon, tomato, chestnuts, eggplant, ginger, melon, strawberry, mandarin orange, etc .There are a large number of breeds of both beef and dairy cattle. For seafood, dolphin fish (“Shiira” in Japanese),round sardine (“Urumeiwashi” in Japanese), etc are taken and for cultured fish, horse mackerel (“Aji” in Japanese), yellowtail (“Buri” in Japanese), amberjack (“Kanpachi”in Japanese),etc.
☆ There is a well known citrus called “Dekopon” which has no seed and a specialty in Kumamoto prefecture. It is a fruit like a “Natsumikan” with a bump on its head. “Dekopon” has a sugar content of 13 % or more. Although〝Dekopon”can be taken in Shikoku and Hiroshima regions, Kumamoto prefecture produces more than 50% of “Dekopon” in Japan.
☆ The relationship between the Hosokawa family and a local cuisine, "Karashirenkon" is an interesting story. Lotus root (“Renkon”in Japanese) has a nourishing effect on High blood pressure and increasing appetite so on. The Hosokawa family was lord of Kumamoto clan. The Hosokawa family's first owner, Tadatoshi Hosokawa, was sick. Although a Zen priest came to recommend eating to cure Tadatoshi’s sick. But Tadatoshi he thought “Renkon” to be dirty. Tadatoshi just imagine that “Renkon” is buried in the soil. So, the chef of the clan cooked “Renkon” mixed with hot pepper in the hole of “Renkon” and fried the “Renkon” filled with hot pepper in a Clothing ( “Koromo” in Japanese) made of wheat flour and egg yolk. This cuisine is called “Karashi Renkon”. As a result, Tadatoshi ate the spicy “Renkon” well and got good health. Kiyomasa Kato, the first lord of the Kumamoto clan, was cultivated “Renkon” in the outer moat of Kumamoto Castle as an emergency food.
♪ Since Kumamoto prefecture has abundant vegetables and marine products such as prawn, scabbard fish, etc, and abundant fresh water from Mt. Aso, there are many local cuisines using those ingredients. For some of them will be described below.
☆ “Hitomoji no Guru Guru”, known as a Sake-appetizer, is born, when the lord gave the rule to the common people in his clan to admonish the luxury of Sake-appetizer. “Hitomoji” means a kind of scallion (“Wakegi”in Japanese). After boil “Wakegi”,eat it with vinegar-miso or mustard-miso.
☆ “Ikinari Dango” is a dumpling (“Dango” in Japanese) that can be made “suddenly (quickly and easily)(“Ikinari” in local Japanese)” even for unexpected customers. This “Dango” is a steamed confection which is made by soaking the wheat flour with water and wrapping it with sweet potatoes.
☆ “Dango Soup (“Dangojiru” or “Dagojiru” in Japanese)” is a cuisine made at home in Aso region. A soup (“Dashijiru” in Japanese) is made by a mixture of carrot with Japanese radish, burdock, pumpkin, taro and pork soup (“Dashi” in Japanese) which was made with mirin or soy sauce and add “Dango” which was made by kneading water from Mt. Aso and flour by cutting into pieces by hand. It is an essential cuisine in cold winter.
☆ ‟Citrus maxima preserved in sugar” is called ‟Banpeiyu no Satouzuke” in Japanese.
“Banpeiyu” is a large citrus (15-25cm in diameter and 1.5-3kg in weight) that is a special product of Yatsushiro region in Kumamoto prefecture. Pull out astringent matter from “Banpeiyu” with vinegar and plenty of water. Spread sugar on the bottom of a span put the skin of the treated “Banpeiyu” on the sugar, and boil. Further sprinkle sugar on the hot skin, and cool down. Thus, “Banpeiyu no Satozuke” can be made.
This is a well known as the citrus sweet in Yatsushiro.
♪ When you came to Kumamoto prefecture, you can enjoy excellent things having deep history, hot springs and many local cuisines. Among them, the horse meat cuisines may be recommended if you came from countries that have custom to eat horse meat.
♪ It can be said that this prefecture has a warm climate. Therefore, vegetables, livestock and many fish can be taken. For example, you can get green pepper, taro, cucumber, and tea. As for the number of breeding, broilers, pigs and beef cattle are the highest rank in Japan. Many fish are harvested such as albacore tuna (“Binnaga Maguro” in Japanese), sardine and skipjack in this prefecture.
♪ Among local cuisines in Miyazaki prefecture, there are many sweets such as rice cakes (“Mochi” in Japanese) and dumplings (“Dango” in Japanese) from long time ago. These sweets were eaten during special events such as festivals. Moreover, these sweets were eaten when farmers take rest. The ingredients used in these sweets are sweet potato, glutinous rice (“Mochigome” in Japanese), soybeans, pumpkins, etc. Let's introduce some of such sweets.
☆ "Bamboo skin dumpling (“Tkenokawa Dango" in Japanese)” is a sweet eaten first in Sadohara region. Cut peeled sweet potato into an appropriate size, steamed them and crush it quickly. When it cools a little, add a small amount of rice powder, wheat flour, sugar and salt, and knead. Each kneaded lump is rolled up by hand, and azuki bean paste (“Azuki-an” in Japanese) is inserted into it. Further, each piece is wrapped with bamboo (“Take” in Japanese) skin and steamed to make “Takenokawa Dango”.
☆ "Toshikasa Mochi” is a rice cake sweet (“Mochigashi” in Japanese). Boil glutinous rice (“Mochigome” in Japanese), add steamed potatoes to it, and boil it further. And then the boiled material is cut into pieces by hand. To the cut pieces, “Azuki-an” which was sweetened with sugar is sprincled. This sweet is called “Toshikasa Mochi” because this is eaten in New Yea. That is, when we ate this sweet, we get one year old. “Toshikasa” means getting age.
☆ "Niboshi". In many years ago, it was difficult for the common people to get sugar. However, when you take a rest in farming, farmer wants some sweetness to recover activity. When dry the boiled sweet potato and taro, these get sweet taste naturally. So,tired farmers ate “Niboshi” which is a cooked glutinous rice (“Mochigome” in Japanese) with “Azuki-an” and moss mentioned above to get sweetness.
♪ Miyazaki prefecture has a eating habit called “Kobiru” that is a small rest during farming or mountain working. When you are hungry during farming or mountain working, you can have a snack or a small size of meal. Originally, homemade sushi wrapping with dried seaweed (“Norimakisushi” in Japanese)、”Inari sushi”, and some boiled foods are eaten by families and friends. Now, bread and western style sweets are also eaten as “Kobiru”.
♪ Of course, there are many local cuisines other than sweets in Miyazaki prefecture as follows.
☆ In Obi region in Nichinan city, there is a local cuisine called “Obiten” that is fried fish or meat paste. The pastes are made by mixing tofu with sardines, horse mackerel, mackerel, etc. harvested from Hiuga-nada sea, Further mix with miso, soy sauce and brown sugar. Finally, the pastes are fried to make “Obiten”. You can eat it at restaurants in Obi area as “Obiten Set Meal”.
☆ "Nikumaki Onigiri" is rice ball (“Onigiri” in Japanese) wrapped with baked slice raw pork meat which was soaked in soy sauce and baked in oven before wrapping. Specialized stores were established to eat “Nikumaki Onigiri”, and frozen products can be obtained all over Japan now if you use mail order system. This “Onigiri” cuisine was developed rather recently.
☆ “Jumbo Inarizushi” is an indispensable cuisine in Miyazaki prefecture for celebrations and festivals. This “Inarizushi” is three times of the size compared with that of regular “Inarizushi”. But the cooked rice used in regular “Inarizushi” is cooked rice only or rice with vinegar, while cooked rice used for “Jumbo Inarizushi” is cooked rice with local vegetables. It is also eaten during busy farming.
♪ “Shochu”, a popular distilled liquor in japan. It is made of rice, buckwheat, sweet potatoes, soba, etc. Although “Shochu” is made at everywhere in Japan, Kyushu is a famous district for it. It is needed “Koji” (a kind of mold necessary for brewing) to make “Shochu” as the first step. The role of “Koji” is the conversion of starch of original material to glucose and amino acid. After making “Koji”, we required next step to make “Shochu Moromi”. Addition of water and “Shochu Yeast” to the “Koji” and fermentation for one week works to increase “Shochu Moromi” after which the “Shochu Moromi” are mixed with original material such as rice, sweet potato, soba, etc.to get “Second Shochu Moromi”. Furthermore, its fermentation continues for 2 weeks to yield alcoholic Liquor. The distillation of “Second Shochu Moromi” to produce “Crude Shochu” and it is laid for at least half a year. This is called “Aging (“Jukusei” in Japanese)”. By “Jukusei”, the mellowness and fragrance are added to “Crude Shochu”. Thus, “Shochu” is made. “Shochu” is distilled like whisky, whereas “Sake” is not distilled like wine.
☆ Both dolphin fish (“Shiira” in Japanese) and “Shochu” are specialty goods in Miyazaki prefecture. Development of the “Shiira's shochu moromi pickle (“Shiira no Shochu Moromizuke” in Japanese)” was planed to use raw cheap “Shiira” that can be much taken in Miyazaki prefecture. In order to add value to the cheap fish, a Miyazaki prefecture’s specialty, “Shochu Moromi” was used as the bed of pickle. As a result, this pickle product development research has been patented.
♪ Some food culture researchers say that Miyazaki prefecture's food culture is not special. That means “the food culture born from the everyday meals” in Miyazaki prefecture. Miyazaki prefecture is a place with a rich tropical atmosphere on the main island of Japan. Please come and enjoy the scenery, sweets and local cuisines.
♪ Next will be mentioned for the FOOD CUTURE ANECDOTES of Kagoshima and Okinawa Prefectures as FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part1 (10)-4.
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (10)-2 (Nagasaki and Oita Prefectures)