- Main lore areas
Seto Inland Sea coast (Harima, Settsu, Awaji area)
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
Ikanago no kugi-ni" is a local dish made by boiling raw ikanago fry in soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and other seasonings to a sweet and spicy consistency. It is called "kugi-ni" (meaning "nail stew") because the finished product looks like a rusty nail that has been bent. It is said to have originated in Kobe, where it was originally prepared in the homes of fishermen, but it became widely known to the general public in the 1980s. One of the reasons for the popularity of the dish was that women of a fishermen's cooperative in Akashi created a recipe for nugi-ni, which had a strong seasoning for fishermen, and improved it for ordinary households, and held cooking classes.
Every year, from the end of February to April, the shinko fishing season is held to catch ikanago fry (shinko), and customers line up at fresh fish stores to buy shinko. The smell of soy sauce and sugar used to cook ikanago wafts through the streets, and locals say that "the smell of ikanago brings spring". The "ikanago no kugi-ni" is a springtime tradition in the Seto Inland Sea, and is still an established part of the local culinary culture today.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
The fishing season for newborn ikanago (juvenile ikanago) opens from the end of February to the beginning of March every year, and the fishing season is short, lasting only about one month. Many families would buy newborns by the kilo when the fishing season opened and cook them on the same day and give them to their acquaintances or relatives living far away as "kugi-ni" (boiled squid eggs). Today, the catch has decreased dramatically, making them hard to find.
- How to eat
Fresh raw ikanago fry (shinko), 2 to 4 cm long, are boiled down to a sweet and spicy consistency with soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and other ingredients.
In addition to ginger, some people use Japanese pepper, hawk's claw, and yuzu (a type of citrus fruit) to make other arrangements, and it is widely eaten as a side dish or snack with sake.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
In addition to being made at home, it is also sold at souvenir stores, fresh fish stores, and supermarkets.
The Hyogo Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative Association holds cooking classes using ikanago and conducts delivery workshops to elementary and junior high schools. The Association for the Promotion of kugini Stewed Ikanago also holds events such as the "kugini Stewed Literature Award," in which haiku, poetry, and essays are publicly solicited, and the "kugini Stewed Contest," in which people compete for the best taste of home-style kugini stew.