What is Bekko?
Bekko is known to be a dish unique to the Tokyo Islands (a.k.a Izu Islands).
The name of the dish derives from the fact that the marinated slices of fresh fish in chili pepper soy sauce turns a lustrous amber color like Bekko, or tortoiseshell in Japanese.
Marinating fresh fish in island chili pepper soy sauce. A way to preserve food invented by predecessors as a result of living on an isolated island. As recipes get passed down from one generation to the next, every family and eatery have their own distinct taste.
Island chili pepper; the crucial ingredient
Island chili peppers are thicker, shorter and more spicy than regular chili pepper. These are soaked in soy sauce to make chili pepper soy sauce. At Izu Oshima, sashimi is often eaten dipped in soy sauce containing a bit of crushed green chili, rather than wasabi, the more conventional spicy condiment for sashimi. Similarly, Bekko is a dish where fish with white flesh is marinated in chili soy sauce.
How to make Bekko
It’s very easy to make Bekko. All you have to do is marinate your sliced fish of choice in a special chili pepper soy sauce.
We tried making Bekko sushi this time.
The sweetness of vinegared rice, mixed with the zest of chili and umami from the fish makes for a very tasty combination. It’s highly addictive!
1. Marinate slices of white sashimi fish in chili soy sauce. Marinating time varies from one household to another, but 20 to 30 minutes is about right.
2. Make the vinegared sushi rice. Prep in advance by shaping them into oval balls of sushi.
3. Next, top the rice with the marinated fish.
That’s it! Enjoy!
Try making chili pepper soy sauce
Put in as much green chili into soy sauce as you like, and let it sit for about 2 weeks.
For those who like their chili extra spicy, try putting in a few pieces of green chili sliced into rounds. Just be careful how much you put in as it can get very spicy this way!
How about some as a souvenir?
For those who want to try chili soy sauce without having to make your own, most stores and souvenir shops in Izu Oshima carry them, making it easy to take some home as a souvenir.
Enjoy the unique aroma, zest and umami of island chili pepper that pair so well with soy sauce.
And get your whole family to try Bekko at home!