NIRA MASU NO ANKAKE
(GARLIC SPROUT AND TROUT IN THICK SWEET-SAVOURY SOY SAUCE)
A fish that is often associated with spring's arrival. It is often prepared in many households during spring together with grilled trout and simmered moso bamboo shoots. In addition, it is also served during Tenjin Matsuri, one of the big 3 festivals in Tsuruoka, held on 25 May. The pink flesh of the salmon reminds people of cherry blossoms thus it was named as such.
HOW TO MAKE:
Fillet the trout into 3 pieces. Lightly salt and steam the fish.
Blanch the garlic sprouts, drain and remove excess moisture, and cut into 5cm pieces.
Prepare the ankake sauce.
Arrange the trout and garlic sprouts in a serving dish. Top with ankake sauce and grated ginger and serve.
Add sake into a pot, turn on the heat and boil off the alcohol.
Add in equal amounts of water (to the sake remaining in the pot), soy sauce and sugar. Heat until all the sugar has been dissolved.
Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat. Dissolve the potato starch with water and add into the pot in several additions slowly while mixing well.
Turn on the heat and heat the mixture over medium heat while stirring. Once the mixture comes to a boil, be careful not to burn it. Continue stirring and cooking the sauce until it turns transparent.
Remove from heat and continue stirring until it cools to room temperature.
300g garlic sprout
300g cherry salmon
A pinch of salt
3 tablespoons potato starch
6-7 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/3 cup water
Cherry salmon is a member of the salmon family and is established as the prefectural fish in Yamagata Prefecture. The ones that lives in the freshwater streams throughout their lives are seema (yamajo), while the ones that run down the rivers to the sea or cherry salmon (sakuramasu). Cherry salmon run down the streams to the sea 18 months after spawning, and then migrate to the Okhotsk Sea over the next 12 months. They then return to their natal stream for spawning in the spring one year after it descends.
The cherry salmon is regarded as the best among the salmon and trout speices with their delicate taste. It is believed to be named after its characteristic of runnin gup the streams to spawn around cherry blossom season, and because the flesh is a beautiful cherry pink colour.
It is commonly served grilled, simmered with soy sauce, or served with a sweet starchy soy sauce as an indispensible spring festival dish during cherry blossom season around mid-April.