Pickle Me This: Sumotsu Puts Innards in a New Light



Motsu” is the all-purpose term for the edible innards of what is generally assumed to be the cow and pig. Unsurprisingly, there are many types of motsu available, with the most common way to enjoy them being “motsu nabe” (hot pot). Yet, with so many innards to go around, there’s bound to be other ways to indulge, and one of those is called “sumotsu,” which means vinegared innards. It rhymes, doesn’t it?

Basically, just about any variety of innards can be used for sumotsu, with the exception of the liver and certain parts of the cow’s skin (though skin is not strictly speaking an innard — is it an “outtard”? — it sometimes finds it’s way into motsu dishes). In fact, whereas motsu nabe tends to stick to beef and pork, chicken parts also make frequent appearances in sumotsu.

The key is to boil the meat until it’s tender beforehand, preferably with a little grated ginger in the pot. After that, it’s all about the seasoning, and of course the vinegar. Ponzu (this is where the vinegar comes in), yuzu kosho (citrus pepper), and green onion (preferably the white portion of the Japanese long green onion) are standards, but some chefs may take liberties as suits their whims. Common alterations to mainline recipes include using some lemon, and also adding in a bit of sesame seed or even olive oil into the mix.

Sumotsu is generally served as one of several small dishes to nibble at, often with a beer. The vinegar used is not exceptionally tart, which makes for a pucker-free snacking experience. With different chefs choosing different cuts of meat and then seasoning all in slightly different ways, there’s a cornucopia of pickled innards out there just waiting for your discovery.

Looking to try sumotsu in Tokyo?
Japan Gourmetpedia recommends using our sister site, Tokyo Dinner Ticket, to find the perfect restaurant.


Sumotsu at restaurant Koganeya in Shinjuku

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