Every now and again, I come across a Japanese ingredient that I haven't tried before. It happened the other day when I was in my local "Atari-ya" Japanese food store in London and found a bottle of Ishiri sauce. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is soy sauce as it looks identical from the outside. But the contents of Ishiri sauce are very different and the taste is too. Ishiri sauce has quite a long history in Japan and was used as a flavouring in Ishikawa prefecture in Japan long before soy sauce became available in that area. It's made from squid intestines (..yes, I know that isn't likely to make your mouth water..) that are pickled in salt and then left for a year or longer to mature.
The result is a very strong, fishy flavoured condiment that you need to use in very small amounts - I think of it as similar to Thai nam pla (fish sauce) but after a course of steroids and vitamins - it is truly powerful stuff! Ishiri sauce isn't widely known or available even in Japan - it's a very niche product but like a lot of niche products, it's well worth making the discovery. In the area where it is made, the Noto peninsular in Ishikawa prefecture, it is used as a flavour enhancer for sushi, sashimi and other fish dishes. I've developed a few recipes using Ishiri sauce with fish and pasta and you can find the youtube tutorials below. I really like the way Ishiri sauce adds what the Japanese call a "kakushi aji" which means "hidden flavour"...you get that delicious umami flavour but not so much that it overpowers the dish.
You can take a look at some recipes on my Youtube channel using Ishiri sauce below.
If you want to see the written recipes, then you can find them using the links below:
Squid spaghetti with ishiri sauce is here.
Pan fried cod with ishiri sauce and lemon is here.
Spirali pasta with ishiri sauce is here.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.