General Discussion

Edamame and heshiko


General Discussion 7

Edamame and heshiko

naoko | Apr 6, 2002 07:16 PM

I don’t mean to bombard this site with too much Japanese things… I don’t even eat Japanese food regularly, but that 'chirashi'thread below got me thinkng about Japanese food, and there are things that I dream of occasionally. One is edamame, boiled green soy beans. You can buy edamame or eat it at the restaurants, but they are often tasteless. Freshly harvested edamame - boiled in water as salty as the sea – are so good I can eat astonishing quantities. Sadly I haven’t eaten this in years; I tried to grow edamame myself, but the plant yielded very few pods and had grown into vines rather than stocky bush.
Another thing that I miss is called ‘heshiko’: it’s fermented mackerel, the specialty of Fukui / Wakasa. I’ve seen heshiko made with other things, but the most common is mackerel. The fish is cured in salt and nuka (rice bran: used for making pickles) and left to ferment. I learned that this can be eaten uncooked, but we usually ate this grilled. It’s very salty like anchovies, but with more deep and complex flavour. It’s eaten as condiment, and you can eat a bowl of rice with only a tiny piece of this. I remember my mother had a book called ‘Japanese pickles’ or something, and it contained the recipe for heshiko… unfortunately, the book is lost in the clutter of our Kyoto house, though I hope it’ll surface one day.


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