Off-the-Eaten Path Food Experience in Japan. "Meet the People and Places behind your Plates! "

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Visit the ingredients (4) Kanzuri, fermented red chili, spread on the snow

fermented chilies

Kanzuri, fermented chili paste with yuzu citron and rice mold is produced in Niigata, northern japan.
After the peepers are harvested, they are kept with salt for 6 months, and in winter from February, that chilies with salt are exposed on the snow for 3-4 days, then mixed with rice mold and yuzu citron and fermented for 3-6 years.

The landscape of chillies on the snow appeal many visitors every year in Niigata.

the effects of snow are as follows.

 - snow removes the bitterness and salt
 - increases the sweetness
 - break fiber  content and becomes mild

It tastes similar to tabasco or Chinese doubanjiang, but it is more mild and sweet as it is fermented by rice mold (koji).
People in Niigata use Kanzuri for grilling dishes, hot pots, or for sashimi dishes.

"harshness from eggplants is strong, isn't it?"

in local dialect, taste of harshness is called nasui ( egg plant is nasu in japanese), meaning something like eggplant.

"snow can ease harshness. same as human-being.
come to live in Niigata, then you are exposed to the snow,
and you can be also mild."
said the president of Kanzuri co. Ltd.

snow has a magic to change substances.
it is a gift from heaven and wisdom therefrom to utilize severe winter climate.

we followed the president to listen to his story more.

Vist kanzuri factory

In the factory, there is an exbition to show how to make kanzuri.

It is said that kanzuri was a preservative food for samurai warier, and until now, it was a home-made spice, only for domestic use and cannot be gained at the market.
same family add silver vine (actinidia polygama) and some other secret plants.

The father of the current president started the factory in 1960s.
He tried to revive the taste of home-made kanzuri and made trial with ground mothers in neighborhood.

After the world war two, food culture was rapidly disappearing.
He tried to manufacture kanzuri for 10 years alone.

in 1960s, japanese experienced rapid economic growth.
people laughed to see his father, just trying to make kanzuri at his factory.

"Although we have been playing only a subordinate role,
when we continue and stick to it, then, there will be a possibility to become a leading star. Well, it is still difficult to reach there..." (president of kanzuri co. ltd.)

kanzuri factory continues to produce only kanzuri to preserve Niigata's traditional taste.
Now they produce 20 tons of kanzuri, and even traders abroad also order their products.

kanzuri is a side dish, however,
it is enough to be a star!


Kanzuri Co. Ltd
 Adress  438-1 saijo myoko city Niigata prefecture, japan