January 12, 2013

Ume Katsuo/梅かつお

My wife bought a pack of ume katsuo (also called "katsuo ume" or "ume gatsuo") to include in our son's bento.
ume = short for umeboshi
katsuo = short for katsuobushi
gatsuo < katsuo
My son says he likes it, but not me.  For one thing, store-bought ume katsuo contains food additives.  For another, we have a large amount of umeboshi left in the house, given to us by my mother nearly ten years ago.
The umeboshi are so salty that they won't get moldy.  I first soaked some of them in a bowl of water for six hours or so, with several changes of water.
In a container, I mixed equal amounts of soy sauce and mirin (1 tbsp each), and heated in the microwave to evaporate alcohol.  I added some of the umeboshi and two packs (5 g x 2 = 10 g) of katsuobushi.
容器にしょう油とみりんを同量(各大さじ1)混ぜ、電子レンジで加熱しアルコールを飛ばし、梅干の一部と鰹節を2パック(5 g x 2 = 10 g)入れました。
Good enough for me, but my son says he likes the store-bought better.


Fräulein Trude said...

Salt is a very good preserving material think egyptian mummies (laugh). The taste of Ume Katsuo must be very special - very sour fishy? I have some store bought plain ume in the fridge and some packs of katsuobushi. So I am going to try it.

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki... I have also the same (or more or less) ume with shiso and katsuobushi I think... I like it a lot, but I have never tasted home-made version. Next time when I go to Japan I must try to look for salt-preserved ume. Does it exist in small family shops too or is it only home -made thing?
By the way, when I was in Japan I bought ume in a bag (100 -yen shop) and when I compared kanji on internet I discovered they are taken from umeshu... Do you know how I can use them? What would you do with a bag of such ume?
Talking about salt, I am now desalting salted cod (in water I change every couple of hours) and I totally agree with Kiki: salt is an extraordinary preserver! I don't like cod much when it's fresh but the unsalted one takes a very interesting taste and aroma.
When you said "ten years" you reminded me I have some jam jars in my pantry I made in 2005! If there is enough sugar and they are well closed, they tend to keep forever.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: Umeboshi and katsuobushi are a common combination. Fishy? Yes, but in a good way. Needless to say, how much salt to keep in the umeboshi depends on your preference.

Sissi: I may have confused you. There are no such things as salt-preseved ume. I suspect that my mother put more salt than necessary. Traditional umeboshi should contain around 20% salt, and will never go bad. Less salty umeboshi (8-3% salt) are now much more popular.

My wife would have no trouble consuming your ume! You can simply eat them as a snack. Other than that, ume jam is the first that comes to mind, like this one:
(Sorry, Japanese only).

Other uses include:
1. Put in cakes, cookies, and so on like dry fruit.

2. Puree first, and then mix with milk or pour over ice cream or yogurt.

3. Add to sunomono and aemono.

4. Use as a seasoning when making nimono and yakimono

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, thank you so much for the advice and for the link. I must admit it was delicious when I tasted one ume just like a snack ;-) I will maybe put it in the creams I prepare with kanten, but I feel that they will not last for a long time...
Thank you for the salted ume explanation. I thought it existed preserved in salt in Japanese shops.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Come to think of it, traditional umeboshi can be called salt-preserved ume (laugh).