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OBSCURE, yet relevant niigata

Hey you guys, if you’re suffering with a case of the post-holiday blues and need a little kick, look no further than Niigata’s exclusive chili powder, Kanzuri.

 

Now, this isn’t your average seasoning. It’s prepared in the traditional “yuki sarashi” method, meaning “snow bleaching”—the same technique used in making Niigata’s UNESCO-designated Echigo Jofu cloth. Essentially, huge chili peppers (20-25 cm long!) from Myoko City are tossed high into the air and scattered across snow covered nets, where they sit for 3 days in exposure to the sun and snow. When the snow melts, ozone is produced, which creates a “bleaching” effect, which also significantly mellows the sharp edge of the peppers’ taste.

 

Snow Bleaching is held on the coldest days of the year in Myoko City and makes for quite a contrasting sight: massive blood red chili peppers sticking out of the pure white snow. Once the peppers have been exposed long enough, they’re collected, washed, mixed with koji (fermented cooked grains), yuzu (citrus fruit), and salt, and then left to ferment for the next three years.

 

The end product is the deliciously mild yet fragrant sauce that’s sure to add some spice to your meal. Here's a look at this year's yuki sarashi and the birth of a new line of Kanzuri sauces. Dig in!