- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Himeichi, mandarin oranges (or yuzu or butsubikan) peels, chili peppers, etc.
- History/origin/related events
Himeichi is a small fish caught in small bottom trawls in Tosa Bay. Its official name is Hourai goatfish. Because of its low price, it is often used as a substitute for Thai fish. It is called "asunaru" or "asunaro" depending on the region because it means "let's be a sea bream tomorrow.
Himeichi's white flesh has a refined taste without any peculiarities. It is therefore used in a wide variety of dishes, such as grilled, dried, and sashimi. The smaller ones, in particular, are often cooked together with mandarin oranges in a "spicy stew.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Himeichi is in season from fall to winter. It is sometimes used as a substitute for Thai for special occasions.
The head and bones of himeichi can also be eaten, so in the past when it was inexpensive to procure, "spicy stew" was often eaten instead of preservative food. It was not uncommon for the himeichi sold by hawkers to be old, and in such cases, the fish was cooked over a brazier for several days. Because it can be preserved well, it is made in large quantities at the end of the year, as people say, "The end of the year will not come without spicy stew. It was also a standard side dish for lunch boxes.
Nowadays, the opportunity to cook himeichi at home is decreasing due to the need to cook it for a long time and the difficulty of obtaining fresh himeichi.
- How to eat
Remove the scales and guts from the himeichi, and cook over low heat with hot pepper seeds. Add the peel of mandarin oranges that have been boiled, chopped, and soaked overnight, and seasonings. Simmer over low heat until all the liquid is absorbed. The refreshing aroma of citrus fruits and the tangy flavor of hot pepper accentuate the taste. It is said that simmering with hot sauce softens the bones of himeichi.
Each family has its own recipe, such as cooking the fish without removing the guts, and each family has its own taste. The individuality of the recipe also manifests itself in regional differences. In the Kagami region, citrus fruits such as butsudan are used. In the Tosa-Yamada region, ryukyu (the leafstalk part of hasuimo) is sometimes added. The fibers of the leafstalks become mellow and give the dish a different texture than before. In the Kera region, half the amount of yuzu and leafy green chili peppers are used for himeichi.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is sold at supermarkets in the side dish section.
source : Agricultural Products Marketing Strategy Division, Agricultural Promotion Department, Kochi Prefecture / Tosa Traditional Food Study Group