Ojiro village has many things to be proud of, especially in relation to locally produced ingredients. One of Japan’s 100 most beautiful villages, the area has been well known for generations for terraced rice fields, stretching into the mountains and for the free range Tajima cattle– the foundation of world famous wagyu beef. But the mark of a strong rural community is innovation, and working together to create opportunity. In Ojiro in recent years the townspeople have begun to build a new, tasty industry. Farm raised Sturgeon used to create a local fish sauce.
Fish Farm in a Local Building
After studying the Ojiro residents built a new facility in the village and has, for 2 years, been raising sturgeon for culinary use. The fish farm project has been intensive, including testing recipes and creating a delicious fish sauce.
The sturgeon are nurtured from birth until they reach full size, which is considerable. Fishery staff care for all the needs of the fish as they grow to maturity. Tanks are cleaned and cleared, the fish are fed a controlled diet and are carefully managed.
The fish are used to create the town’s signature sauce. The sturgeon sauce is concentrated in flavor, full of umami – that elusive 5th taste element found in Japanese cuisine and prized around the world.
Bring some fish sauce home and create your own recipes
When you visit Ojiro, be sure to bring some home to You can use this in traditional Japanese dishes in the same way you might use soy sauce. One recommendation is to brush onigiri (rice balls) with the sauce before grilling.
Much like the innovations in Ojiro village we also wanted to experiment with something new and decided to use the sauce in dish with a western and Japanese blend of flavors.
The sturgeon sauce is surprisingly not fishy tasting but rich and full bodied. Our experimental dish is a Cuban style marinated and roasted pork chop.
Marinated Cuban Inspired Japanese Pork
Create your marinade with equal parts sushi vinegar, apple vinegar, japanese black honey (kuromitsu) and the sturgeon sauce. — ¼ cup each. This is a variation on a cuban marinade.
1. Add the following flavoring and mix together:
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon mustard
¼ teaspoon sriracha or other spicy sauce
½ tsp of ground white pepper
1 small diced onion
2. Add in your medium sized pork chops and marinate for anywhere from 6-12 hours depending on how strong you would like the flavors to become. More time in the marinade of course leads to stronger flavors.
When the pork has been marinated, grill with some of the marinade in the pan, and serve with potatoes or rice. The marinade will create a wonderful coating on the pork with rich deep flavors!
Where to find Sturgeon sause in Ojiro village
1. Ojiron (Onsen Spa)
Address: 510-1 Otani, Ojiro-ku, Kami-cho, Mikata-gun, Hyogo-prefecture
2. Ojiro Bussan kan
Open: 08:30 – 17:00 ( close on Tuesday )
Address: 739-1 Kanzui, Ojiro-ku, Kami-cho, Mikata-gun, Hyogo-prefecture
Long term resident of Japan, from the East coast of the USA. I love art, design, books, writing, food, film and I am a bit addicted to stationary! I love telling and hearing great stories. Everyday can be an adventure if you are open minded and curious.
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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