- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
Pickled Chinese cabbage, ocean perch (fish meat and fish scraps), sake lees
- History/origin/related events
Kesennuma City, located in Miyagi Prefecture, is well-known for its fresh fish. During winter, ocean perch is abundant due to its high fat content. "Azara", a popular dish made from this fish, has been enjoyed by the locals for a long time. The old pickled Chinese cabbage is fermented through long-term pickling, increasing the sourness of the cabbage. It is then stewed with fresh ocean perch and sake lees to create a dish that has a concentrated umami flavor. Recently, red rockfish, which is just as delicious as ocean perch due to its "umami-rich broth" and high-fat content, has become a popular alternative for azara. This is due to the decrease in catch and increase in the price of red rockfish.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Because Chinese cabbage is marinated for a long time since winter, azara is often eaten mainly in spring. Azara is delicious both cold and reheated, and its flavor improves even more the day after it is boiled. Once cooked, it can be enjoyed for 2 to 3 days.
- How to eat
Cut the pickled Chinese cabbage into bite-sized pieces and pre-boil them. After that, rinse them with water while retaining their saltiness. Next, put the ocean perch and its scraps along with water in a pot and bring them to a boil. Once boiled, add the old pickled Chinese cabbage and season the mixture with salt and soy sauce. Lastly, add sake lees and simmer the mixture over low heat.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the traditions, the preservation society, social media use, modern approaches at commercialization)
This dish is prepared both at home and in restaurants, with each household having its own unique seasoning. Some people add miso (soybean paste), chili peppers, and garlic to enhance the flavor. This makes the dish a great option for sharing and enjoying different flavors. Additionally, the "Azara Grand Prix" was held to promote the fish-eating culture and revitalize the region after the earthquake.