The culture and spirit of the sachi is infused into the whole dining experience of Kushiage.
In Japanese, we call fresh ingredients sachi which means fortune. Fresh fish, shellfish or shrimp is known as umi no sachi (fortune from the sea), fresh vegetables are known as yama no sachi (fortune from the mountains) and fresh pork or chicken is known as no no sachi (fortune from the field).
One of my favourite Japanese cuisines is Kushiage - small, bite-sized pieces of yama, umi and no no sachi deep fried on a bamboo skewer. Kushi means skewer, age means-deep fried. When eating kushiage, you can feel the Japanese spirit and fortune. From the sachi or bite-sized morsels to the good will and warmth of the chef as he prepares and serves the meal.
There are various types of Kushiage, which combine various sachi, for example, brussel sprouts with mince meat inside (see photo below) or chicken wrapped in perilla. Enjoying the beautifully presented and delicately flavoured sachi while having comfortable conversation with friends.
[Photo] Brussel sprout kushiage with mince meat.
The experience of ordering and eating kushiage is quiet and non intrusive. There are many kinds of kushiage and when ordering, the chef will bring out all the kushiage on the menu. Simply tell the chef which ingredients you don’t want.
The chef will remember each person’s individual order and serve the correct kushiage to the correct person. If you don`t like sand borer, you won’t receive it!
The menu at my favourite Kushiage restaurant, Mogami, has 36 kinds of Kushiage – because Kushi has another mean. Ku means 9, Shi means 4. 9 x 4 equals 36.
[Photo] The 36 Kushiage at Mogami
Kushiage used to be dipped and eaten with a sauce similar to Worcestor sauce. However nowadays, many different sauces, salts and spices are used to enhance the flavour of the different sachi.
The chef makes the kushiage one by one and serves it to the table without saying a word about which sauce goes with which kushiage. Instead, the chef will point the end of the bamboo skewer towards the appropriate sauce for that kushiage. (see photo below)
Kushiage from left: crab clawer pointed towards salt,
The culture and spirit of the sachi is infused into the whole dining experience of kushiage, from the presentation to the food, to the service, making it truly unique Japanese cuisine.