July 7, 2013

Negitoro Don/ねぎとろ丼

I made negitoro don as part of supper tonight.
This is the first harvest of ao jiso (green perila).
The other day, I bought some bannou negi (bottom). Bannou (lit. versatile) negi is a type of ao negi.
Believe it or not, this is probably the second time that I have ever bought ao negi.
As you may know, naga negi (top and middle) is popular in Kanto (Eastern Japan), while ao negi is poular in Kansai (Western Japan). I am a Kanto man, and for me, negi is naga negi.
The upper green part of naga negi is usually disposed of, or can be used to make a broth for ramen or something.
This label says that Hakata Bannou Negi is the only negi that can be called Bannou Negi and that Bannou Negi is a registered trademark. Hakata is the name of a place in Kyushu. 
Here are the ingredients of negitoro don:
Grated naga imo, vinegared rice, green perilla and shredded green perilla, finely chopped bannou negi, shredded nori, and of course, negitoro.
I asked my family to make negitoro don by themselves. My style. My daughter was very cooperative. I mean, she let me take a photo of her negitoro don.
She kept saying that the negitoro was tasty. The sauce was a 1:1 mixture of store-bought mentsuyu (noodle soup) and soy sauce.
My negitoro don:
Small portion, because I'm on a diet.
Today, I bought a pack of aji sashimi.
I also bought a bottle of sake.
Kakurei Nama.
According to Wikipedia, Kintaro Sushi in Asakusa, Tokyo was the first sushi shop that served negitoro, and Akagi Suisan Co., Ltd. commercialized negitoro for the first time in 1987.

Edited to add:
Originally, negitoro is made from the flesh on the nakaochi (backbone). To view what the nakaochi looks like, click here and view the third video from the last. Such real negitoro is hard to come by. Mine is a combination of bigeye, yellowfin, and Southern bluefin tuna plus edible oil. Low-quality negitoro is a combination of albacore and yellowfin tuna plus edible oil.


Sissi said...

It looks very tasty. I must taste Japanese negi next time I go to Japan (somehow I haven't done it...) because I have heard that negi (whatever the variety) is different from our European leek. The ao negi looks a bit like spring onions.
I also put less rice than my husband for example. Do you feel that your stomach has become smaller since you started to diet?

Fräulein Trude said...

Yes the ao negi looks exactly like our young and lean spring onions.

Hiroyuki said...

Being a Kanto man, I can never like ao negi. For instance, I can never dream of adding it to natto.

Negitoro is a tuna version of steak tartare or Korean yukhoe.

Yes, I think my stomach has reduced in size quite a lot.

I have lost 12 kg in total since last December. Sadly, the progress has been very slow for the past few months, mainly because I now tend to eat and drink more and partly because I have started to run and walk instead of just walking (so I guess I have gained some muscle, which is heavier than fat). My goal is to lose another 4 kg, so that I can start running in earnest.

Sissi said...

I am impressed, Hiroyuki. 12 kg??? Pity you are not my neighbour. Your slimming looks would certainly motivate me ;-) I lost some weight several years ago (but not 12 kg, just went one size back). I counted calories trying to eat less of them, and I remember the smaller portions were a torture until my stomach shrank. Then it was much easier, but it took time.
I feel I should do the same now... Summer is a good period to start.

Cate Pearce said...

Hiroyuki-san, you say that you don't put ao-negi in natto, but what about miso soup or ramen? Do you use naga-negi instead? Or not use anything like that? I'm surprised because I thought ao-negi was used as a garnish for many Japanese dishes. Is that only in Kansai area? I didn't know that this was a Kanto vs Kansai food issue. Do you know of other food-related customs that are found in Kanto but not Kansai or vice-versa?

Hiroyuki said...

Cate Pearce: I use naga negi in miso soup, ramen, and many other dishes, naturally!

Because of the spread of TV and the Internet, the distinction between Kanto and Kansai is now less clear than it was 40 years ago, but it still exists.
If you do a google search for
関東 関西 食文化
for example, you will get lots of results.
For instance,
This one discusses negi:

If you watch this show:
Himitus no Kenmin Show,
you will learn that there are also prefectural (and regional) differences.

Cate said...

Thank you so much for those links. Actually, the touzai-bunka website is particularly interesting in explaining lots of different food culture differences between Kanto and Kansai which I think I'll write more about in my blog. I often wondered why so much of Kyoto cuisine requires usukuchi shoyu, which I can't get here in Western Australia - know I understand!
[As for the ytv link, I can't seem to access any videos - perhaps you can only view them in Japan :( ]

Hiroyuki said...

Cate: If you haven't watched Episode 6 of Kuitan 2 (not 1), I highly recommend it. You can learn a lot from that episode about differences between Kansai and Kanto in food culture.

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, Kuitan is so funny! I haven't watched all the available ones I think. Thank you for reminding me.

Yangsze said...

This looks so delicious! I didn't realize that they added oil to negitoro! I can buy it at local Japanese groceries but oil is not listed on the ingredients - is this standard practice to give the tuna a more creamy mouth feel?

When I was a kid living in Japan, my favorite cut of tuna was akami. It was so delicious. Strangely enough, none of the akami I've eaten abroad has been as tasty, except for some in Hawaii. I really wonder whether they're sourcing from different places?

Your family is very blessed that you're such a good cook! :)

Hiroyuki said...

Yangsze: Thanks!

Yes, I think that all negitoro sold in supermarkets and elsewhere contain some kind of oil, which is easily identifiable because of its whitish appearance.

When you make negitoro at home, you can forget about oil and simply chop akami (and mix with negi). One theory has it that negi in negitoro does not mean negi (Japanese scallion, spring onion, etc.) but comes from "negiru" (to scrape off).

One negitoro recipe I found says to mix chopped akami with mayo. That sounds tasty (laugh)!

Anonymous said...

I am happy to find your blog. I am vietnamese living in USA but love to cook and eat Japanese food. I had visit japan ( tokyo, kyoto.. ) several times but I am still love to come back, special to visit on the country side, in the villages ...

With your blog, I will have more oppotunites to learn more Japan culture.

Thanks again and take care

Dan ( dvuitexas@yahoo.com )

Hiroyuki said...

Anonymous: Thank you for your compliment! You will get different impressions of Japan if you visit the countryside!