Local cuisine made in the snowy northern area
New Year’s feast Nishin-zushi
Nishin-zushi (Herring sushi) has been loved as a New Year’s feast in the cold northern areas of Gujo-shi, such as Yamato and Shirotori area. It is one of the Nare sushi (Ripe sushi), made by soaking Nishin (Herring), radish, carrot, rice, rice Koji, and salt for a long time and wait for lactic acid fermentation. In the mountains of Gujo, where the sea is very far away, roads were not maintained well in the past, and snow piled up in winter, it was not possible to transport fresh fish to the city. So dried fish was the only fish product. Nishin-zushi is made from these dried fish.
How to make it depends on family, but the outline is of course fixed. First, salt the radish and carrots for two days, then dry them thoroughly. Soak the dried Nishin in water containing rice bran overnight, then take them out and chopped. After the hard-cooked rice is cooled and mixed with rice Koji, put it into Nishin and let it rest overnight. Add salted radish and carrots into fermented Nishin and rice, put the weights on them, and let them sit for about 4 days. The shorter the soaking days, the sweeter it becomes, and the longer it becomes sourer.
Nishin-zushi is carefully prepared with time and effort. Nowadays, the number of families making Nishin-zushi during New Year is decreasing. But fortunately, Soba Kobo Gensuke-san at Roadside Station Seiryu-no-sato Shirotori is serving this menu only in winter randomly. If you find it, please try it!