Cooking With Sake - I

As much as sake is a delight to drink, it is even more perfect as an ingredient in cooking. This is the first in a three-part series outlining the benefits of cooking with sake, which kinds of sake to use, and the brewers and regions in Japan that are producing some of the most useful and interesting styles of sake for cooking. Cooking tips and recipes are included to illustrate sake’s versatility and deliciousness in cooking.

Tea Stand Gen

By sustainably farming a sencha green tea with a naturally unique flavor and serving it up at Tea Stand Gen, Genki Takahashi is reaffirming the important cultural role of green tea in Japan as a bond with nature and between people in addition to providing a soothing and healthy cup of tea.

Hakusen Shuzo's Hon-Mirin

An aromatic, beautiful, and delicious full-bodied alcohol made from rice, artisanal hon-mirin has an essential role in the pantheon of fermented Japanese seasonings by virtue of its flavor-extending umami and complex sweet-savory flavors created by the Maillard reaction. It is also a delicious and healthy liquor to drink.

Meitou's Handmade Koji

Trained by their blind grandfather to work by hand as much as by eye, the brothers Ryuhei and Yohei are making intensely rich, nutritious, and robust koji that cooks can use to easily make delicious miso and other fermented foods at home.

Okamoto Soy Sauce

One of the few remaining artisanal soy brewers on the western islands of the Seto Inland Sea, Okamoto makes a classic style of soy sauce that adds a touch of heartiness as well as a special taste-of-place flavor to the region’s traditionally light and ingredient-oriented home cooking.

The Torii Family of Sauces

At Torii Sauce, third generation artisanal sauce maker Daishi Torii is making a family of Japanese brown sauces that are not only essential to the Japanese pantry but, in many respects, are more delicious and useful in all kinds of cuisines than equivalent Western and Asian brown sauces.

Soy Sauce 醤油

Japanese soy sauce’s powerful role in all kinds of cooking as a pure concentrated form of plant-based umami seasoning is being underpinned by a new generation of high quality, all-natural, artisanal soy sauces that come in a range of styles and a wide variety of nuanced flavors.

Wine & Inn Chitose

A tranquil oasis that offers travelers great food and a casual, relaxing place for an extended stay, Wine and Inn Chitose is located near the pine-covered sandbar known as “Bridge to Heaven” in Amanohashidate in northern Kyoto prefecture.

Aceto

Over the past forty years, Iio Jozo Brewery has redefined what high quality, artisanal rice vinegar is and its role in Japan's cuisine. Now, under Iio Jozo's sponsorship, chef Yasuhiko Shige is demonstrating how these rice vinegars can be used to subtly showcase the fresh flavors of the Sea of Japan's famous seafood through his inspired cooking at Aceto, a new Sicilian-Japanese restaurant located in northern Kyoto prefecture.

The Fishermen of Ine

As part of a community-led program of marine ecotourism that is successfully bringing new life to the fishing village of Ine while preserving the integrity of its traditions, the fishermen of Ine have opened their unique funaya boathouse-residences to guests so that they can experience the camaraderie, delicious seafood, and beautiful marine world that the fishermen have enjoyed for centuries.

Yamaroku Soy Sauce

A fifth generation soy sauce brewer and master builder of the large wooden barrels (kioke) traditionally used in Japan to ferment foods, Yasuo Yamamoto is proving the flavor benefits of the kioke barrels by the deep, dark, overwhelming savoriness of the classic style of soy sauce that he is making with them at Yamaroku Soy Sauce.

Satoyama Italian Ajikura

Do not be misled by its name; the country restaurant Satoyama Italian Ajikura serves up Japanese food. Its innovative and contemporary Japanese cuisine showcases the high quality foodstuffs being produced by the farming community of Onan in the mountains of Shimane prefecture through a community-supported program of sustainable agriculture designed to preserve a rural way of life and the natural beauty of the environment.

Namihanado Sea Salt

In a modernistic salt house on Shodoshima Island, Toshiki Kaba has skillfully adapted Japan’s traditional ryuka-shiki-enden salt-making method to produce a light, sweet-tasting Seto Inland Sea salt. The salt is contributing to the island’s revival as a regional food center as well as supporting a new life for himself and his family.

Mirasaka Fromage

By making all grass-fed, artisanal cow and goat cheeses in the highlands of western Japan, Mirasaka Fromage is adding deliciously light and uniquely-flavored cheeses to Japan’s pantry of fermented foods and is also helping to preserve the area's rural way of life by adhering to the ancient, sustainable, and ethical way of using the land by mountain grazing its dairy animals.

Muroi

In a farmhouse on the outskirts of northwest Kyoto, Chef Shigeru Muroi is redefining Japanese cuisine and fine dining by restoring the primacy of place, flavor, and beauty to vegetables in his cooking and serving his delicious and complex creations in an elegant yet comfortable and affordable manner.

Tanakaya Soy Sauce

By creatively brewing soy sauce according to traditional methods, Kazuo Tanaka is making an elegant new style of rich-tasting yet light-bodied artisanal soy sauce that can deliciously season all kinds of foods and cuisines.