A Taste of the Tohoku

Hungry to learn more about the food and food culture of the TOHOKU region? 

This post is about Shaké no Kasu-Jiru  a belly-warming salmon and root vegetable chowder that is standard wintertime fare throughout the Tohoku. Every household seems to have it’s own rendition, but with this master recipe in hand you can create your own "customized" version. ENJOY!
Kasu-jiru chowder, ladled piping hot from cauldrons, often welcomes visitors to kura matsuri, festivities hosted by the various breweries when they announce their new saké.

NOTHING goes to waste in the Japanese kitchen!

Saké kasu, the fermented lees that are a by-product of brewing saké, are used to season a delicious, chunky chowder that frequently becomes the main course at family suppers. 

Saké kasu is often sold in flat, pressed sheets called ita kasu or in broken chunks. Look in the refrigerated case of your local Asian grocery.

saké (salmon)

Salmon has always played an important role in Tohoku cuisine. Archaeological evidence dating back at least 5,000 years shows that the early inhabitants of the Tohoku – the Jomon peoples—fished for salmon.

The ancient coastline is dotted with inlets that today bear the names of well-known fishing ports: Oofunato, Rikuzentakada and Minami Sanriku, all of which were devastated by the tsunami.

Before the disaster, Minami Sanriku had become a major center for farmed Coho salmon – bringing about 15,000 tons of fish a year to Japan’s domestic market. Late in September of 2011, on a very small scale, the autumn harvest commenced.
No matter where in the world you may be, you can support economic recovery of the region by making a contribution to Sponsor Fellows for Tohoku and Japan’s Recovery. This project, launched and managed by Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) has a dual goal: creating jobs in the area devastated by the disaster and developing a new generation of business leaders in Japan. To learn more about the Fellows Project, click here.