Sake Kasu Zanmai: Sujiko (Salted Salmon Roe Sac) Kasuzuke 筋子粕漬け
Kasu Chinmi: Ikura is hard to beat, but salmon roe marinated in sake kasu for about a week beats ikura! This is a rather rare dish in Japan. The first time I recall having it was this January at Kichisen. After one bite, I knew that I had to try making it! Winter is the season for both sake kasu and salmon roe. It of course tastes of salmon roe and in addition has a wonderful flavor combination of sake and the fruity fragrance of fermenting sake mash.
What is Sujiko?
Sujiko, unlike ikura is still in the egg sac, ikura is individual eggs. Ikura can be cured with either salt or shoyu and the slightly sinewy egg sac is removed. Once sujiko is cured, the taste is identical to ikura and the texture is not very different.
I just packed the sujiko sacs in sake kasu and refrigerated for about 1 week. It of course keeps longer than that.
Sujiko Kasuzuke can be enjoyed as is and goes very well with sake or wine. With food it is usually served on rice, we used it to make a luxurious onigiri rice ball (see photo below).
Kasuzuke: Sake Kasu
Kasuzuke: Sake Kasu – detail
Sujiko (Salted Salmon Egg Sac)
Sujiko on Sake Kasu
Next step is to gently cover it with kasu.
I am trying to figure out what to do with all this orange stained sake kasu now. We are certainly not going to throw it out! I am hoping that it will make excellent salmon kasu soup, we will let you know if we are able to come up with anything yummy.
Sujiko Kasuzuke – served
Sujiko Kasuzuke – served
How Did it Taste?
Sujiko cured in sake kasu has a definite taste of sake and the flowery sweetness of the mash. This kasu we used this year was teshibori (hand-pressed) so the alcohol content is higher than mechanically pressed kasu. Also, I mixed in some fine ryorishu (cooking sake) to increase the liquidity of the kasu, making it better for marinading.
I have been making onigiri (rice balls) with it and eating it as chinmi on or along side rice at dinner. It is really nice! It is very easy to make and doesn’t even cost that much, but if you do the preparation you are rewarded with a very luxurious and special taste.
A friend that doesn’t drink much was over for dinner recently and was a bit surprised at the alcohol content in the sujiko! I guess she got a bit of a ‘buzz’ from it! That’s what I like, food that gets you drunk!
By the way, sujiko is in season in late autumn and early winter. I bought this in February but had to hunt around for it. I found it at the food court at Fuji Daimaru Department Store in Kyoto. I bought 6 roe sacs for about 1,800 yen. A pretty reasonable price, I thought. If it had been proper ikura, I think that it would have cost about 3-4 times that for the same amount.
Sujiko Kasuzuke Onigiri
This is from our Uri Nukazuke Onigiri article.