What is Yakumi?
Yakumi is a natural condiment that is used both as food seasoning and in medicine to sterilize. Some yakumi is made from vegetables, or used as spice.
- Yakumi adds more flavour and taste.
- The flavour of yakumi removes the smell of fish or meat. (Using ginger paste when making kara-age and shiso on fish has the same result.)
- Yakumi prevents food poisoning from bacteria. Shiso prevents food poisoning from sashimi. Grated ginger or radish has the same affect.
Yakumi is most commonly served grated, for example; real wasabi and ginger. It also adds karami – spiciness to food. Daikon or other radish itself doesn’t have bacterial action, but once grated, it gives them antibacterial properties. Grated yakumi doesn’t just giving more flavour to the dishes, it keeps food fresh and delicious!
Varieties of yakumi
1. Citrus (yuzu, sudachi, kabosu)
Citrus adds light flavour to the dishes just like lemon in western dishes. Normally, skin and juices of those citrus is used as yakumi. Skin of yuzu is added to osuimono (soup). Sudachi and kabosu are often squeezed over grilled fish dishes.
2. Root vegetables (wasabi, daikon radish, ginger)
Daikon radish would be the common yakumi that is made from root vegetables. They are often used as grated. Uncooked daikon has digestive enzymes and helps to digest food, so it's often served with oily foods such as tempura, steak. Wasabi is always served with sashimi dishes.
3. Seeds and nuts (sesame, pine nuts)
Black or white sesame seeds are often used in Japanese cuisine. Sesame seeds add a roasty flavour to food. Pine nuts are used as yakumi too.
Some seeds are used as powder.
4. Spice yakumi (shichimi, sansho)
Adding yakumi is to add more flavour and taste, so yakumi needs to be prepared right before the meal is made.