- Main lore areas
The whole prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks, flour
- History/origin/related events
“Gane" is a local dish made from sweet potatoes, a specialty of Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima Prefecture is the number one producer of sweet potatoes in Japan. Although Kagoshima Prefecture is blessed with a mild climate, most of the prefecture, with the exception of Mount Kirishima, is on the Shirasu Plateau, which is very well drained, but is prone to crop damage caused by frequent typhoons. Because of this background, the cultivation of sweet potatoes, which are easy to grow even in barren soil and grow underground, and are therefore less vulnerable to typhoon damage, has taken strong root in Kagoshima Prefecture. There are many theories about the introduction of sweet potatoes, but Tanegashima Hisamoto, the lord of Tanegashima Island, sent some people on an errand to Ryukyu in 1698 and brought back sweet potatoes. Later, in 1705, Maeda Riemon, a sailor from Yamakawa, cultivated sweet potatoes in his own field and distributed them to his neighbors; then they became popular and spread throughout Kagoshima Prefecture. There was a time when they were called "Koukou imo (filial piety sweet potatoes)" because they had large yields and were the best food for the poor. Kurobuta pork, which is a specialty product of Kagoshima Prefecture, is known to be raised with sweet potatoes mixed in its feed. Sweet potato shochu, which is a spirit made from sweet potatoes, is also a specialty of Kagoshima. In short, sweet potatoes are an important ingredient in supporting the food culture of Kagoshima Prefecture. Therefore, there are many local dishes using sweet potatoes. One of them is "Gane". “Gane” is a dish in which sweet potatoes and vegetables are cut into thick strips, dipped in a batter and fried. It was named so because it looks like a crab (called "gane" in Kagoshima dialect). It is characterized by a sweet taste with a lot of sugar, and the ingredients and batter vary from region to region.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It is eaten throughout the year. It is eaten as a side dish, a snack for tea and children, and as a snack to accompany alcoholic beverages. It is also served at New Year's, funerals, and other ceremonial occasions.
- How to eat
Cut sweet potatoes and carrots into thick strips. Cut chives into the same length as sweet potatoes and carrots. Add flour, glutinous rice flour, sugar, egg, light soy sauce, salt, and water, mixing until the batter feels like it clings to the ingredients. Shape the batter on a wooden ladle into a crab shape, and deep-fry slowly in oil at 170 degrees Celsius. The key is to spread the ingredients radially with chopsticks while frying.
The vegetables used in addition to sweet potatoes and the seasoning of the batter vary from region to region and from household to household. In some regions, buckwheat flour is used for the batter, and brown sugar is used for sweetness.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
Since it is easy to make with ingredients that are readily available, it is still made and eaten at home. It is often found in the prepared food section of supermarkets and roadside stations. It is also popular as a school lunch menu item.