December 12, 12 | Fumiko Magota
A fisherman’s soup made by the “Mothers from the Coast”.
“This is a recipe all wives of fisherman know.”
“It’s a tradition handed down from mothers and grandmothers.”
“I came from Sapporo when I married my husband, so my mother-in-law was the one who taught me.”
When I asked about Minced Hokke Soup (hokke is a kind of mackerel found in the Okhotsk sea, off the north eastern coast of Hokkaido), I was referred to the Rausu Fishing Cooperative’s Women’s Group, the wives of the local fishermen.
Minced Hokke Soup is a very popular food in Rausu. They say the flavor of the soup, miso or soy sauce, and the ingredients of the soup are unique to each household.
The Women’s Group taught me how to make their soup.
▲ Raw Hokke. Outside of Hokkaido, few people get a chance to see this.
① After removing the head and the intestines, the Hokke is sliced into three pieces and the skin is peeled off. Then the remaining meat is put into a food processor and ground for 20 seconds.
▲ I was really amazed by this knife. It might be a big knife but it could also easily do the work of a small carving knife.
② Along with egg, grated nagaimo (a kind of sticky potato, sometimes called a Chinese yam), and sake, the Hokke mince is transferred to a mortar.
▲ The food processor did all the hard work for us, so there’s not much work left for the knife to do.
③ Now it’s time to combine the ingredients with the pestle. I wanted to try too! You really need a lot of strength and patience for this part!
▲ “The trick is not to mix or crush it too much, but to just combine the ingredients. This way, it becomes a bit sticky and really delicious,” said one of the mothers.
④ Sprinkle in water, potato starch and salt to get the right consistency. Once the mix plumps up a bit, it’s ready.
⑤ Boil the minced fish mixture in dashi broth.
▲ This beautiful golden dashi is made from local Rausu salmon flakes and kelp.
⑥ Add flavor to the mix with soy sauce and salt.
⑦ Serve with a little bit of green onion and you’re ready to eat!
This is a soup best served fresh, when the minced Hokke will be plump and chewy. The flavor of the Hokke and the dashi was so good, I ate every last bit!
I could really appreciate the ability and the skill of these women. Their efficiency was really quite impressive. Along with their recipe, they seem to also be passing down this hard-working-mom culture as well.
▲ In between making the minced Hokke, the Women’s Group bottles local “Eastern Goddess” (Menashi Megumi) kelp and salmon. By just adding a bit of soy sauce, you will have a special dashi-soy sauce souvenir. The bottles are sold at the Rausu Commercial Fishing Cooperative located next to the Shiretoko/Rausu station.
(Written in cooperation with the Rausu Fishing Cooperative Women’s Group)
(Hokkaido Likers Writer Fukko)
(Photographer Isao Kawamura)