Written and illustrated by Misa Ono
One of popular sakekasu recipes is soup called kasujiru. It is similar to miso soup but instead of miso, add sakekasu. It usually has pork or salmon, and a lot of root vegetable. This creamy soup keeps you warm in the cold winter. Kasujiru is sakekasu-based soup with a little miso, while I usually make miso-based soup with a little sakekasu. In this way, miso soup gets creamier and warms you up.
Simmer any meat, vegetable and soup stock, then add sakekasu and soymilk to make a stew-like dish. Choose clams and bacon as the ingredients to make a clam chowder.
Sakekasu can be some snacks too! Mix sakekasu, flour and oil, stretch the dough to thin, cut into sticks and bake them to make sakekasu crackers. To make sweet cookies, mix sakekasu, flour, butter and sugar, then bake them. When sakekasu is baked, somehow it produces the flavor of tasty cheese which goes well with tea and sake. I can’t stop putting my hands on them!
Sakekasu is also used to pickle vegetable. Leave salted gourd or cucumber in the aged sakekasu for a long time to make beautiful brown color pickles called “narazuke”. The flavor of the aged sake is inviting, and with cream cheese it can be a nibble with wine. Some people who can’t drink alcohol much can get buzzed by the narazuke. This is how strong this pickle’s taste is.
To make the narazuke easily at home, prepare a pickling bed called “kasudoko” mixing sakekasu, miso, salt, sugar and other seasonings (depending on your preference). Divide the kasudoko into 2 for vegetable and meat/fish. Radish and carrot are common ingredients to pickle. The pickled vegetable can be eaten straight away while the meat or fish need to be grilled. Both has strong flavor of sakekasu, which promote your appetite for rice and sake! Before you grill the pickled ingredients, rinse the sakekasu off. It is still easy to get burnt so keep eyes on them!
In old days, many people didn’t like sakekasu dishes due to its strong sake taste, including the kasujiru, narazuke and kasuzuke. However, today sakekasu is used in many kinds of European cuisines such as dip, crackers, cookies and creamy stew. Besides, more people have been realizing how nutritious it is. So sooner or later, sakekasu will get popular.