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Image Source: Akita Gouji Fudoki" (Akita Prefecture Council of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Village Lifestyle Research Groups)
Image Source: Akita Prefecture Tourism Federation
- Main lore areas
The whole prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Rice flour, sugar, vinegar, cucumber, turnip, seasonal fruit
- History/origin/related events
"Asazuke" is a dish made by boiling rice, then seasoning vegetables and fruits with sugar and vinegar.
It is completely different from the generally recognized "Asazuke" (lightly pickled vegetables), and instead is known as a sweet and sour dessert made with rice. This refreshing vinegary dish is eaten throughout Akita Prefecture during the summer. In Akita, the broken rice that is a byproduct of rice polishing is called "Kozaki," and when this is boiled and kneaded, it is called "Kozakineri." Then, when it is seasoned with vinegar, it is called "Konamasu." These names differ depending on the region.
Since long ago in Akita, the second rice was used up as koji rice or as a base for pickles, and this Asazuke is another example. Rice planting was once a women's job in Akita, and the perfectly sweet and sour Asazuke eaten after a long day of work was a delicacy that permeated and healed their tired bodies. This dish, which makes good use of the rice that could not be sold on the market, is a traditional food filled with the wisdom of farmers.
The ingredients vary depending on the region, but seasonal ingredients such as cucumber, pineapple, mandarin oranges are frequently used by the various households.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Colorful fruits and vegetables are added to white rice to achieve a beautiful color, making it a suitable side dish for celebrations or sad occasions, but it is also popular to serve with tea when guests come to visit or as a dish to serve at women's gatherings. It is also a standard children's snack, or eaten as an accompaniment to dinner.
- How to eat
Wash the rice, soak in water for at least 3 hours, drain, pour into a blender with more water, blend until just a few grains remain, then pour into a pot. Add water, sugar, and salt and heat over medium heat, then allow it to thicken while slowly stirring with a spatula. Remove from heat when the water around the sides of the pot start to bubble and the mixture becomes transparent, then add the vinegar little by little while allowing it to cool. Once cool, mix in ingredients such as turnip and cucumber and place in a bowl, then top with seasonal fruits and canned food. These days, many households use high-quality rice flour to save time.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the traditions, the preservation society, social media use, modern approaches at commercialization)
It is still made in homes today and passed down from generation to generation as a summer dessert