Japanese sea cucumber is very famous, among them "Liaoning sea cucumber" is "the king of sea cucumber". Chinese chef are fond of using this rare dry food ingredients. However, the Japanese love umami, so most of the fresh fish in the sea are eaten raw, sea cucumber is no exception. According to the health department of the ministry of health and welfare analysis, sea cucumber is very rich in nutrition, containing a lot of vitamin B group, vitamin E and calcium, iron, lead and other minerals. It has a complementary role to the body function, such as good for the kidney, preventing arteriosclerosis and sexual function degradation and constipation. Its effect is the same as the Korean ginseng. Sea cucumber contains much collagen. It is compensatory to skin.
In the Japanese cuisine ingredient dictionary, there is a snack called "Chinmi", which means delicacy.What is " Chinmi"? It is the best taste of food materials. They are essential dishes in high class restaurant, mainly as appetizers to high quality sake. "Chinmi " inevitably includes 3 dishes. They are sea urchin, “karasumi” and “Konowata”. “karasumi” is dried ovaries of whitefish. “Konowata” is sea cucumber intestines.
In fact, when you see the truth of the sea cucumber intestines, you may really feel nausea. If you were shown the whole process, you would wonder, are the Japanese chef crazy? How do you put it in your mouth when you eat it raw? These questions are entirely natural. It's like when you eat durian for the first time, you would resist its smell. But because so many people say how good durian tastes, you would have the courage to eat it. You may throw up or you may love it forever.
The same is true for the sea cucumber intestine. Those who are addicted to alcohol will find that it is the best appetizer to go with sake. It tastes like sesame oil and herbs. Take a bite of the sea cucumber intestine, and take a sip of sake, there are so many changes inside your mouth. Sake that is dry and not sweet would show this taste the most clearly. You may also make sea cucumber sushi, as its texture would make it easier for you to swallow.
Every February and March, fisherman would harvest ovaries of mature sea cucumber. They would be hung on bamboo stick to be sun-dried. The final product is called “Kuchico”. It is the best appetizer to go with sake. It would be grilled on charcoal stove. Its taste is different from sea cucumber intestine. It is rich in flavor after grilling. Its appearance is more acceptable for people, and you would not think twice before putting it into your mouth.
Sea cucumber is rich in collagen, so it is hard to absorb the taste of seasonings. To eat it raw, you can eat it with Tosa pickles, Natto soy sauce tofu, and fruit salad. You may make a cold dish with western wine vinegar. Ingredients include raw sea cucumber slices, tomato sauce, white wine, black wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, chili, basil, white pepper and salt. Mix them and put some onion and tomato as garnish.
Another favorite dish of mine is to put fresh squid liver into the sea cucumber, dip in skipjack tuna oil and wasabi. It is horrible in appearance, but it taste so good!
Macao Daily, 16th March 2015