- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
lotus root, miso, powdered mustard, oil
- History/origin/related events
Kumamoto Prefecture is one of the largest producers of lotus root in Japan. The Ugi region, where new rice paddies were developed during the Tenpou era of the Hosokawa clan, is still the main production area.
Karashirenkon is known as a dish associated with the Hosokawa clan. In 1632, Tadatoshi, the first lord of the Hosokawa clan, was sickly and weak from day to day, and a monk at Rahanji Temple, who was concerned about his health, painstakingly searched for something nutritious. He learned from a Japanese-Chinese book that lotus root has blood-enriching properties. He would never eat it. So, he stuffed a mixture of miso and Japanese mustard into the holes of the lotus root, coated it with a batter of flour, fava bean flour, and egg yolk, and deep-fried it in oil. The spiciness of the lotus root was so effective that people began to like it so much that they ate it regularly. The appearance of the sliced lotus root resembled the Hosokawa family's family crest, the Kuyo (Nine Yours) pattern, and Lord Tadatoshi kept the method of making "mustard lotus root" a secret, and the taste was kept out of the public until the Meiji Restoration. This is the reason why "mustard lotus root" is still made only in Kumamoto Prefecture.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It is eaten as a side dish for everyday meals and as a snack with sake. It is also an indispensable part of Osechi dishes during the New Year.
- How to eat
Basically, cut into 5mm to 10mm thick slices so that the kuyo crest can be seen, and eat as is. Some families eat it with soy sauce or mayonnaise. Recently, it has been made into croquettes, sandwiched between bread such as sandwiches and hamburgers, and eaten in other creative ways. Since mustard is similar to mustard, it is said to go well with bread.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the people who have passed down the tradition, preservation groups, use of SNS, modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
It is sold not only at specialty stores, but also at local supermarkets and product centers. It is often found on the menus of Japanese restaurants and izakaya (Japanese style pubs) as well as local restaurants. Since the prefecture is one of the leading production centers of lotus root, many stores use products from contract farmers in the prefecture, and some specialty stores even grow their own products.