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Japanese Local Cuisine 


Chef, Minokamo takes us on a culinary adventure around Japan. She researches, writes about, and arranges regional dishes that capture the sensory enjoyments, local climate, history, and unique lifestyles of each region. This episode explores Nagasaki's; Boburazushi.


Ingredients (serves 2)

・1/8 pumpkin (about 200 g with the seeds removed) 
・30 g pork back ribs, block (or sliced)
・1 cup rice
・500 cc water
・1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp usukuchi shoyu / light soy sauce (or common soy sauce)

How to make

1. Coarsely mince the pork back ribs, sprinkle with salt, mix, and let sit for about 10 minutes. Wash the rice and let it rest in a strainer. Peel the pumpkin (it’s okay to leave patches of skin) and cut into bite-size pieces.

2. Place (A) in a pot and simmer over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for about 10 minutes, mixing with a wooden spatula now and then. When cooked, mash the pumpkin roughly with a wooden spatula. 

3. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, then add the usukuchi shoyu and mix.

Hasami-cho, Higashi Sonogi-gun, Nagasaki—I paid a visit to the birthplace of a traditional Japanese porcelain called Hasami ware. Along with the many kilns and pottery houses in Hasami is Onigi Tanada, a sprawling group of terraced fields growing rice and tea. Here, I learned how to make Boburazushi. Pronunciation: bow-bura-zooshi. The name didn’t ring a bell, and at first, I couldn’t imagine what kind of dish it might be. As it turned out, “bobura” is said to derive from abóbora, the Portuguese word for pumpkin, and “zushi” is another name for zosui, or ojiya, rice soup. So in short, Boburazushi is a pumpkin rice soup. The rich texture is created by adding salt-cured whale meat. Nagasaki originally boasted a flourishing whaling industry, and back when beef was not yet widely consumed in Japan, salt-cured whale meat was a handy source of protein and rich flavoring. Dishes made with salt-cured whale meat were served in the northern Tohoku region as well as the southern island of Kyushu.

To make Boburazushi, simmer pumpkin and rice in water with desalinated whale meat, and then add usukuchi shoyu. Since salt-cured whale meat might not be readily available, for this recipe I substituted it with pork back ribs. Bacon works deliciously well, too. Boburazushi is similar to risotto, but with the vivid coloring of pumpkin and the mouthwatering richness of whale meat. Adjust the cooking time according to your preference. You can cook the rice firm like Italian risotto, or soft like Japanese ojiya.

minokamo | Cookery expert / Photographer
Gifu Prefecture native minokamo’s culinary adventures were inspired by her fond childhood memories of cooking with her grandmother. She researches, writes about, and arranges regional dishes that capture, through their preparation and presentation, sensory enjoyments inspired by local climate, history, and lifestyles. Ryori tabi kara tadaima(Back from a Cooking Journey; Fudosha), published in September 2020, is a collection of recipes from minokamo’s visits to homes up and down Japan. Kona 100 mizu 50 de tsukuru suiton (Suiton Recipes—Flour 100 Water 50; Gijutsu-Hyoron) is now out.