Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi

Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し
Matsutake Mushroom is synonymous with autumn. Although rare, in early summer it can be had as well and is a favorite among aficionados and gourmets. Last night I got a taste of some at Kichisen, the greatest restaurant in the world.

Matsutake Dobin Mushi
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

*Sorry about the photos, I didn’t have a camera with me so these were taken with a mobile phone.

I was over at Kichisen last night for a meeting with the boss. In his mind if he doesn’t serve me half a dozen dishes or so before we start talking the matter at hand, it is bad manners on his part. Right away I tried to take out my notebook but he told me to put it aside; he had some natsu matsutake for me to try. He started out by telling me how astronomically priced it was — not exactly Kyoto-style — and where in Japan it was from.

He served a number of dishes, most of them are not served to customers. The dishes were exquisite and novel, he said that they are esa (feed) for he and the apprentices. Nice feed!

There was chicken cartilage deep-fried and then simmered in vinegared broth served with a dash of ichimi chili flakes. Then there was a mysterious dish, it was a pile of something completely buried in roasted and ground sesame seeds with shoyu and wasabi on top. With my chopsticks I picked up a bit to discover that is was maguro sashimi! It was divine! Drinks were homemade catnip liqueur then glass after glass of this imojochu (yam shochu) ladled out of a clay pot that had just arrived from Kyushu.

Natsu Matsutake Dobin Mushi with Early Summer Yuzu
Then one of my all time favorite dishes in the whole wide world is matsutake dobin mushi. Dobin means earthenware pot and mushi is to stream. This is matsutake mushroom that has been cooked in a small teapot-like vessel with seasonal chicken, fish, or shrimp and some greens. Kichisen being purist only uses hamo pike eel in the summer. Fresh Japanese citrus such as sudachi or yuzu invariably accompanies this dish.

Matsutake is an autumn delicacy. However, some very exclusive restaurants serve it in the early summer and it is called natsu matsutake, natsu means summer. I had never had natsu matsutake before.

Dobin mushi is served piping hot and you pour small amounts into a cup, which arrives atop the pot containing the broth. There is enough broth for about 5 or 6 pours and the taste pleasantly changes with time. You squeeze a drop of citrus into the cup each time before drinking, or squeeze the entire citrus into the pot at once (I suspect that Kichisen would frown on this practice). DO NOT put the citrus itself in as the will ruin the broth by quickly becoming extremely bitter.

Matsutake Dobin Mushi
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Matsutake Dobin Mushi
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Matsutake Dobin Mushi
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Matsutake Dobin Mush: Summer Matsutake and Hamo Eel
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Hamo Eel
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Matatabi-shu: Catnip Liqueur
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し
I guessed that this is to make your date frisky after dinner, the boss told me in no uncertain terms that that was correct. The name in Japanese is mata tabi, mata meaning more or again and tabi meaning travel — it re-energizes you to travel more.

Sea Bream Rice Served in a Silk Bag
This final course was an amazing rice dish served inside a woven and silk basket. The rice was cooked in a donabe and then chunks of well grilled tai sea bream and slivers of carrot are mixed in just before serving. Dried red shiso flakes are sprinkled on top.

A Bowl of Rice Served Kichisen Style
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Rice with Grilled Tai, Carrot and Red Shiso
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Rice and Cucumber Tsukemono
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Kaga Futo Kyuri (Kaga Cucumber, a Traditional Kanazawa Vegetable)
Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi 夏松茸土瓶蒸し

Tanigawa-san always seats me at the counter which is just off the kitchen. So, whenever he has something to say or a few minutes he appears and we engage in some light-hearted banter. I guess that since dinner including the penis shaped matsutake topics included plently of lewd sex talk, penis sizes (He had a guest once from Sweden that had to tape his penis to his leg when he played basketball he said, it was so big. He was black in case you didn’t guess. I didn’t ask how they got onto that topic of discussion over kaiseki.), virgins (shojo goroshi, a new addition to my vocabulary), the aphrodisiatic affects of catnip (on girls), then it was on to his current passion in life; Ed Hardy, Ed Hardy, Ed Hardy products. The final topic was whether or not the Louis Vuitton shoes that he made Miwa order off the internet for him were real or not. He had an apprentice bring down all his Louis Vuitton shoes, ones that he had bought at Takashimaya or in Paris, in their boxes and we compared everything. In the end I guessed that they were authentic, but Tanigawa-san wasn’t taking any chances, before I had finished my rice, he had sold the ones in question to one of his apprentices — at a slight mark-up.

6 Responses to “Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi”

  1. Mora says:

    Matsutake Dobin…one of my treasured favorites from Kyoto. Now, about the matatabi-shu. Do you think you might be able to locate a recipe for it? I have a friend who grows her own catnip for her “kids” and would love to try this, I bet. I know I would!

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Mora, I will ask Tanigawa-san if he would kindly share his recipe with the world wide foodies.

  3. Mmmmm Matsutake Dobinmushi is one of my favourites as well. Getting it in summer is very luxurious indeed. I’m so curious about the catnip liquor. What does it taste like?

  4. […] The soup course was matsutake mushroom dobin mushi (served in a little tea pot, good explanation at Kyoto Foodie) with anago (eel) meat, shrimp, and ginko […]

  5. Irving says:

    Matsutake is available in Southern California both imported varietal as well California grown. I had use both and the one from Japan is a lot more flavorful. I used to cook them with daishi but now I think I will steam them in pot with daishi. Peko, I am jealous of all your culinary excursion with celebrity chefs. Keep up the good work on your blog, at least we can imagine what it taste like as you take us along on your foodie journey. thanks

  6. […] Summer Matsutake Dobin Mushi from Kyoto Foodie […]

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