July is the season of a historical festival held in Kyoto. It is called “Gion Matsuri” and had been held since 9th century. It is one of the most famous festival in Japan, and many tourist visit there every year.
Also July is the season of Hamo (Pike Conger). During this festival, many hotels or restaurants in Kyoto serve it, so the price will be highest and sometimes it’s hard to find in the market. Normally, it is available in the market during mid of June to mid of September. If you wait for a while, you will be able to enjoy Hamo with reasonable price.
There are some famous meal using Hamo such as Hot Pot, Yubiki (boiled hamo with plum sauce) or Teriyaki. Today, I’ll introduce Teriyaki.
Ingredients (for 2 dishes):
- about 100g Hamo (Pike Conger)
- 1 table spoon Soy Sauce (15ml)
- 1 table spoon Mirin (15ml : Sweet Rice Wine)
- 1 table spoon Japanese Sake (15ml)
How to make:
|1) Mix Soy Sauce, Mirin and Japanese Sake well. Dip Hamo in the sauce for about 15 min.|
|2) Grill the Hamo on the middle heat. Grill skin side first, then flip over. (My fish grill is heating from upper side.)|
|3) When the meat becomes dry, add teriyaki sauce (made at STEP 1)) with a brush. Repeat this several times until the meat becomes glazed.|
The important point is to take care about heating power. Hamo will be easy to burn. And if you grill too much, the meat will be harder. The meat is soft originally, so it better to grill it tender, then you can enjoy very good taste. Please adjust heating power between small and middle if needed.
I usually buy the Hamo which is already cut. Hamo has a lot of small born in the meat and we need to cut them before cooking. It is called “Hone Kiri” (literally, “cut born”) and it is very difficult. Even professional Japanese chef, they will have a lot of training to master Hone Kiri. Below video shows good example. You can see Hone Kiri from about 1:25. Add the knife like slicing the meat, but not cut the skin. Just cutting small born inside the meat. If there are Hamo which in not cut at the store, you can ask to cut it.
Around the end of rainy season (Tsuyu), we can see Hamo at the market. Then we think hot summer will come soon. I think it’s a sign which tell us summer will start.
Note: I used traditional Japanese Teriyaki Sauce. It’s easy to make. Just mix Soy Sauce, Mirin and Japanese Sake with same amount.