Pufferfish “Nukazuke”: Delicacy from a Deadly Fish

Guide to Japan Lifestyle Food and Drink

In an unusual delicacy from Ishikawa Prefecture, the ovaries of a fugu—a poisonous pufferfish—are made into a nukazuke, or rice-bran pickle. In this preservation method, which appeared in the Edo period (1603–1868), 100 kilograms of ovaries are soaked in 30 kilograms of salt for one year. Then the rice bran, rice malted with kōji mold, and fish sauce are added, and the mixture is cured for two years. The poison disappears after fermentation and aging. Although this method has been used for years, the mechanism of why detoxification occurs remains a mystery.

(Originally published in Japanese. Created in cooperation with Kanazawa Cable Television.)

Ishikawa food