Located at the northern part of Honshu and pointing to the western Sea of Japan, the Akita Prefecture is not only well-known in Japan for having a number of hot springs and gaily festivals, but as well as for their specialty dish called kiritanpo.
A prevalent traditional gastronomy of the Akita, kiritanpo is usually consumed in the middle of September to March, and for the most part of November. Kiritanpo is freshly cooked rice, pounded until mashed. It is then formed into cylinders around Japanese cedar skewers, and toasted over an open fire. It can also be made by forming it into cylinders, cutting into 5-cm lengths and then cooking into a pan with burdock, Chinese leeks, maitake mushrooms and other vegetables that come in seasons. This dish is best served with sweet miso or used as dumplings in soup.
The story of this dish from Akita is interesting and unique. It was originally designed as a hand-carried meal carried by hunters and woodcutters during their working journey up in the mountains. The name “kiritanpo” is based on its shape, resembling a tanpo-yari—a leather spearhead sheath enfolding a cloth ball packed with cotton.
Interested about how to make this dish in the comfort of your own kitchen? Here is an easy Japanese dish with Kiritanpo as the basic element.
Kiritanpo Hot Pot
Kiritanpo: 500 grams rice
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 green Onion or scallion
- 1 chicken soup stock or broth
- Ginger skin to taste
- 2 portions chicken thigh
- 1 large burdock root
- 1 pack maitake mushrooms
- 1 Chinese cabbage
- 1 bunch Japanese parsley
- 1 packet shirataki noodles
- 100 ml sake
- 1 green onion or scallion
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2-3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. mirin
- Cook and knead rice with a rolling pin or a pestle until mashed, add a pinch of salt. Note: It won’t fall apart easily if you mash it well.
- Spread the rice dough in a cylinder and form around disposable skewers, pressing and stretching the dough.It is a must to have your hand moistened.
- Grill over an open hearth until golden brown.
- Put chicken carcass, green part of Japanese leek and ginger in a pressure pan, add water.
- Let it cook for 30 minutes and set aside to cool. Strain, saving the broth.
- Add some water to the soup stock and add all the ingredients and seasonings together.
- Season with parsley. Serve.
Watch this video to learn how you can perfect a surely delectable and mouth-watering kiritanpo.