what is Ojako?
It is the beginning of “Ojako” where whitebaits and Japanese pepper were boiled in soy sauce in a small pot diligently in a small kitchen by the shop owner, Katsuji Nakanishi, trying to cook tasty thing with a pot. Even now, his son carefully selects whitebaits, the basic ingredient, only from special quality ones in Miyazaki and Tokushima prefecture, and they are accompanied by Japanese pepper produced in Tanba area in Hyogo prefecture.
They are received as an elegant taste by our valued customers. Also, the late Reverend Kosho Shimizu of Nara Todai Temple ate Yayoi’s Chirimen Sansho and later named it “Ojako” in his original handwriting. “Ojako” of Yayoi means Chirimen Sansho and it is a time-honored taste of Kyoto. Originally, it is not sort of being bought at shops but the food always kept at home having its own taste of every home and it is one of foods full of characteristics such as spicy, sweet, blackish and white ones.
Chirimen Sansho, a new culture,
It is thought there was a custom in Kyoto in the past of seasoning fishes with salt, soybean paste and soy sauce and preserving them because it is far from the sea and fishing places and people had less opportunity to eat raw fishes.
On the other hand, Sansho berries have been loved at tables in Kyoto as a familiar ingredient in the old days in each season. Sansho’s leaf buds sprout in early spring, small yellow flowers – lovely Sansho flowers – bloom in spring and Sansho berries grow in Kyoto basin surrounded by mountains. They were mixed with whitebaits and boiled in soy sauce and Japanese rice wine – the beginning of Chirimen Sansho. We think it is a new culture combined with the Kyoto mind and climate called “Chirimen Sansho” that is neither Tsukudani nor prepared food.