Sushi taro osechi box inlcudes “Jako” braised with Japanese sansho pepper じゃこの有馬煮 every year. “Jako” is a very young and small sardine or anchovy, boiled and then dried. Many small fish are a symbol of prosperity and a traditional dish for osechi. It was braised with the fruit of the Japanese “Sansho” pepper tree 実山椒. The name “Arima-ni” 有馬煮 came from a spa resort called “Arima hot spring 有馬温泉” near Kobe 神戸. In the past, inns in Arima served dishes to their guests using the fruit of wild sansho trees which were abundant in the near-by Rokkou mountain (六甲山). Japanese pepper from the Rokkou mountain is called Arima sansho “有馬山椒” which supposedly has distinctive flavors different from sanshos from other regions in Japan.
It is a bit difficult to serve this dish as it is, so I decided to make a rice bowl or “donburi” 丼 from it with the other items that remained in the osechi box. I served this as a lunch with miso soup and daikon namasu 大根なます which I made.
I made sushi rice from microwaved frozen rice. I used “Jako”, shrimp (only one left the osechi box, I peeled and cut into half for two bowls), “kazunoko” herring roe, ikura and New Year’s omelet rolls.
Although a bit hidden, Jako is the main topping. We put a bit of soy sauce on the other items.
This was a really good lunch. The very distinctive flavor of Sansho was very nice. We really enjoyed this dish.