Kanzuri - Kanzuri Fermented Chili
Region: Niigata / Japan
Kanzuri is a traditional fermented chilli made for centuries in Japan. It makes a wonderful condiment - add Kanzuri to soups or Ramen, or with Yakitori or roasted meats. Great as an alternative to wasabi, add a spoonful to pasta or any dish that needs a nice aroma and little bit of heat.
The chillies are first pickled in sea salt, then 'bleached' in the snow for three to four days to remove the salt, bitterness, and some of the heat from the peppers. The seeds that fall from these peppers become next year's pepper plants.
The peppers are then collected, blended with koji-rice and yuzu and put into barrels, where the temperature is allowed to rise and fall with the seasons. The extreme weather in Niigata - blistering hot summers and long, cold winters - means the barrels must be checked and rotated to ensure a uniform taste and fermentation. Three (or as many as six) years later the result is a citrusy, delicately spicy paste that combines real umami with a subtle heat.