- Main lore areas
All areas of Tochigi Prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Daikon radish, soybeans, salted salmon head, sake lees, carrots, fried tofu
- History/origin/related events
It is one of the representative local dishes of Tochigi Prefecture. It is a dish filled with the wisdom of our ancestors, using leftover salted salmon heads from the New Year and soybeans left over from roasted lucky beans on Setsubun. In the past, this dish was made as an offering to the Inari shrine on the first horse day of the second lunar month, and there was a taboo against making it outside of that time. The time of Hatsuuma was the peak season for vegetables, and it was difficult to procure foodstuffs. Mishitsuke, made from leftovers, was not originally suitable as an offering to the gods. Therefore, it is thought that the food was sublimated into an offering to the Inari shrine by making it an "oddity," an offering to the gods, instead of being made normally.
The ingredients vary from region to region. In the central part of Tochigi Prefecture and the lower reaches of the Kinugawa River in Ibaraki Prefecture, the basic ingredients are radish, soybeans, salted salmon head, sake lees, carrots, and deep-fried tofu. In the eastern part of Saitama Prefecture, northern part of Chiba Prefecture, southern part of Fukushima Prefecture, and Tajima, only radish and soybeans are used, but there are also combinations of radish, soybeans, and salted salmon head, or radish, soybeans, salted salmon head, and sakekasu. Sakekasu is said to have come into use around the middle of the Edo period, when sake breweries began to appear and sakekasu became widely distributed.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It used to be made on the day before the first horse day of February and served on the first horse day of the month, but in recent years, it is made at home in winter. It is even said, "If you eat shichiken no shimotsukare, you will not get sick." It is a highly nutritious food with diastase contained in daikon, protein from soybeans, calcium from salted salmon heads, and sugar from sakekasu, and is popular as an accompaniment to daily rice dishes.
- How to eat
Wash the salted salmon head well and boil it once to remove the smell. After boiling the salmon head in a pressure cooker, put the ingredients in a heavy pot and simmer for one hour. When the flavors are well blended, add sake-kasu and season with seasonings.
The amount of soy sauce and salt to be added may be adjusted according to the saltiness of the salmon.
Boiled soybeans may be used instead of roasted soybeans. When eaten with warm sekihan (red rice), the moderate saltiness and coldness go well together, and the cold shimotsukare has little smell.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is sold at restaurants, roadside stations, and supermarkets in Tochigi Prefecture. It is sold at restaurants, roadside stations, and supermarkets in Tochigi Prefecture. Many events are held as a representative local cuisine of the prefecture. In addition, a citizen's group in Utsunomiya City is preserving and passing on the traditional cuisine of the prefecture, including "shimotsukare" through local cooking classes for children.