- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
Japanese sandfish, scallion, soy sauce
- History/origin/related events
Japanese sandfish are a scaleless, mild-flavored fish that are favored in the Shonai region as the taste of autumn. The sandfish come to the shores of Shonai around December to lay their eggs. For this reason, the sight of fisherman congregating on Sakatakita Pier and other such places is a characteristic winter scene.
The size of the Japanese sandfish catch declined precipitously from around the end of the Showa period until the Heisei period. However, as a result of a joint effort by Yamagata Prefecture’s fisherman to institute fishing limits and manage resources, the size of the sandfish catch is now on an upswing. Japanese sandfish will rush toward shallow water in large groups when the sea is rough and thunder sounds. For this reason, they are also known as “thunder fish.”
“Poached Japanese sandfish” is a simple dish: poach the fish in a pot, splash on soy sauce or the like, and eat. The dish has a light flavor and is a go-to choice for cooking with sandfish. There are a wide variety of ways to cook with sandfish: in addition to poaching, it can be, among other things, fried, dried, or simmered with sauce.
The Japanese sandfish is deeply connected to traditional events of the Shonai region. “During a celebration of the deity Daikoku-sama”, an event which takes places on December 9, there is an ongoing custom of eating sandfish with a miso glaze.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
In recent years, Japanese sandfish is caught year-round. Still, while fish caught in June and July are enjoyed for their flesh, fish caught in October and November can be enjoyed for their egg sacs or milt. Because poached sandfish is a particularly simple dish, by using fish that are in-season the flavor of the ingredients can be enjoyed directly.
- How to eat
Add water to a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sandfish and simmer until the point that the body splits. Plate the fish, add grated radish and soy sauce, and enjoy. Ginger also makes a tasty accompaniment.
A nice feature of Japanese sandfish is that, because they don’t have scales, after a wash they are ready to use. When plating, it is customary to include one male and one female each.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the traditions, the preservation society, social media use, modern approaches at commercialization)
“Japanese sandfish” is a popular fish carried by fishmongers and even supermarkets. “Poached Japanese sandfish” is a go-to winter dish that can be easily prepared.
source : Sakamotoya Inn