Some fish have different names according to the stage of growth. Such fish is generally called “shusse-uo (literally “a fish that makes career”).” Mature but still young gizzard shad is called Kohada while the fully mature one is called Konoshiro. With its good and fatty texture, kohada is the best for sushi topping.
The best time and the place
Kohada is in season between August and September.
It is caught in Tokyo Bay, Hamana Lake (Shizuoka), Ise Bay (Aichi/ Mie), Ariake Sea (the North East of Kyushu) and so on.
The taste as a sushi topping
Kohada is white fish meat and has rich flavor. Being sprinkled with salt and marinated in vinegar, the method is called “sujime, their rich umami is brought out. In autumn, their meat contain higher fat.
As Kohada is small fish, it is difficult not only to cut nicely but to adjust how much vinegar and salt to use and how many minutes to marinate according to the season and the size of the fish. The taste of kohada sushi is largely dependent upon the sushi chef’s technique and intuition. You can enjoy chef’s delicate craftsmanship from kohada.
How to eat besides sushi
Sujime is one of the best way, but tempura and deep-fry after removing bones are also wonderful. Fully mature konoshiro is good for being grilled with salt, soy sauce, or miso.