This month we’re celebrating Executive Chef Kinomoto’s heritage featuring fresh fish from his birthplace of Ishikawa, Japan. We’re also offering two special sakes from Ishikawa. Discover the history of the famed region and the special winter snow crab it produces. We’re also diving into the different varieties of miso – an important ingredient in Japanese cuisine. All this and more at Shiro’s this December!
Ishikawa (Kaga) – Ishikawa Prefecture, centered by one of the most popular tourist destinations “Kanazawa,” is located to the Northwest of Tokyo, facing the Sea of Japan. Prior to the Edo era (1603-1868), Ishikawa flourished as an important port for trade with other Asian continents, which set the foundation for the areas huge cultural blossom of arts, crafts, and cuisine during the Edo period. During this time, Ishikawa was the biggest and richest area among all of the areas governed under non-shogun families (called “Tozama-Daimyo”). Today, Ishikawa is a popular travel destination for visitors from all over the world, offering cuisine that utilizes the bountiful seafood available from its nearby waters and plate presentations that are nothing short of breathtaking.
Koobako-Kani (香箱ガニ) – “Koobako-Kani” is the special name for female snow crab harvested in Ishikawa, which ships directly to us. The harvesting period is very short this year, starting Nov. 6 and ending Dec. 29.
Koobako-Kani carries two types of eggs in one body, matured eggs (“Sotoko”) and pre-matured eggs (“Uchiko”), which makes this crab so unique. The two types of eggs have different tastes and textures, with the pre-matured eggs having a more dense and delicate taste and texture than the matured eggs. The size of the crab produces a small amount of meat, but it also produces a richer, concentrated flavor with a delicate texture when compared to ordinary snow crabs. Having a sophisticated mix of taste, texture and delicacy, Koobako-Kani is a one-of-a-kind snow crab and is considered by the people from Ishikawa to be a gift from winter.
In our preparation, we take out all meat, eggs, and crab paste to empty the shell, then utilize the shell to beautifully plate and present to guests with a delightful sashimi assortment (tuna, yellowtail, salmon, scallop with salmon roe) prepared by Chef Kinomoto!
– Nishide Shuzou 100-Year Sake from Ishikawa –
Housed in a wooden box, this 100-year sake immediately catches your eye with its beautiful bottle of Kutani-Yaki, which stems from Ishikawa’s famous tradition of ceramic crafting. The taste represents all of the good aspects of sake from Ishikawa with an amazing balance of smoothness and richness. While enjoying this beauty of balance in flavor, you will notice that it cleanses your palate and readies you for your next bite of fish!
– Yachiya Shuzou Kagatsuru “Plum Sake” –
The uniqueness of this Kagatsuru Plum Sake comes from a special blending technique of plum sake with sake from Ishikawa. While maintaining the soft, gentle and sweet touch of plum, this special blending process brings out a refreshing aroma and subtle tart flavor that plums originally carry. Enjoy it on the menu all month long!
Japanese Food Culture
– 味噌 Miso (Fermented Soy Bean Paste) –
In Japan there are a number of different misos available which are used for various types of dishes, from miso soup to miso marinated fish, miso-based vinaigrette and more! It’s said that a seasoning similar to miso was first introduced into Japan from China more than 1,000 years ago and since then it has been widely used throughout many regions of Japan.
Kyoto is well-known for its white miso which is sweet, and light beige in color. Japanese people call it “Saikyo Miso.” In contrast, Nagoya is famous for “Haccho Miso,” which is a dark brown miso. In between these two extremes, there is regular brown miso, red miso, and many more (more than 30 different miso’s are marketed in Japan!), but the ingredients of fermented soybeans, koji mold and salt, as well as the production methods, are almost the same from region to region. The difference in the color and taste comes from the duration of fermentation and aging. Short fermentation and aging make lighter color miso and the longer the fermentation and aging, the deeper the color becomes.
A tip to make good miso soup is to blend several types of miso, and to use a well-made dashi broth. Exploring the miso blending can be a lot of fun!
Holidays at Shiro’s
Just a reminder, we will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25 and New Year’s Day, January 1. Join us for dinner during the month of December for a memorable and special way to celebrate with your loved ones this holiday season!
- December 2-23: Issaquah Reindeer Festival
- December 6-7: Winter Beer Festival
- December 14-15: Renegade Craft Fair
- December 21: Holiday Fun Run