(Kois Before Being Cooked)
Speaking of “Koi,” Americans who know what they are tend to think of them as the living art, which you can see in the wealthy’s pond or in the public Japanese garden like these:
(Well, $10,000 x 9 = $90,000 plus how many more?)
(Look for the Koi food vending machine to feed them!)
Today’s topic, Koikoku, is the cooked Koi in the pot with miso (= bean paste). This type of Koi are NOT colorful or artistic looking like those above, but plain and ready-to-eat looking like the one on the top.
First, they are chopped up and put into the pot like this:
(miso and other ingredients are to be added and boiled well)
(Boiled for a while…)
(Serving Suggestion #1)
(Serving Suggestion #3)
According to Wikipedia (Japanese), Koikoku was developed in the rural areas, where people didn’t have an easy access to seafood, and they were appreciated as good source of protein before the public got used to eating meat.
Also, some believe, once again according to Wiki, that Koikoku makes it easy for mothers to breastfeed their babies. I don’t have any proof of it or statistics. It may be one of the superstitions.
Anyway, I have to admit that I have never been attracted to this Japanese cuisine before. Because Koi seem to smell too fishy to me! Let me introduce one weird episode –
<In an interview with a very talented actress, regarding the movie she starred>
Interviewer: “…so you played a role, who went mad and ate goldfish, right? How did it taste?”
Actress: “Well, that was tough. Especially I keep some at home. But I gotta do what I gotta do.”
Interviewer: “Then, you did with a lot of guts, didn’t you?”
Actress: “Yes, indeed. While in rehearsal, I just pretended to bite it. But… when the camera started…”
Actress: ” (since I was out of mind as a role) I grabbed one from the water tank and bit it off.”
Actress: “That fishy aftertaste didn’t go away for several weeks. Not a role I want to play again soon.”
After reading this interview in a magazine, I felt as if I had been that very actress and bitten the fish off. OH, MY GOD!! Not me!! Koi and Goldfish (NOT crackers of course!) are RELATIVES (I decided!). No thanks – unless I have nothing else to eat when I am starved to death!
So, my conclusion in this blog is that Koikoku is NOT for everybody nowadays. But for some Japanese, Koikoku IS a delicacy! If you want to try one, GOOD LUCK!
How about having a Zen conversation
in Japanese with a Zen monk
in a Zen garden with a Koi pond?
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