Torimotsu-ni: Yamanashi’s Gold Medal Recipe 甲府名物 [ Amina Dante ]

Torimotsu-ni: Yamanashi’s
Gold Medal Recipe
[ Amina Dante ]
In my experience, French people typically picture Japanese people eating fish every day, whether
grilled or in the form of sushi. However, Yamanashi, as one of Japan’s eight landlocked prefectures,
was compelled to develop another type of cuisine – fish-free. This dish is called torimotsu-ni and its
robust yet subtle style has recently earned Yamanashi a name all over Japan. This torimotsu-ni recipe
will help you understand why. Let me tell you all about it…
Inside(s) Story
Torimotsu-ni’s debut in the 1950s was humble. In a country
plagued with postwar deprivation, the Japanese people could not
afford to waste food. At the time, chicken actually was a staple for
restaurants in the Kofu basin area. However, the insides were
consensually discarded as off-limits. The Shiomi brothers, two
Kofu-based restaurateurs, would not have it that way. “It's such a
waste to throw the inside of the chicken away! Can't we turn them
into a gastronomic oxymoron, a cheap but tasty and sophisticated
dish?” they thought. They came up with torimotsu-ni. Tori means
“chicken”, motsu means “giblets”, and ni means “cooked”. Coated in a sweet soy sauce usually
served on one or two leaves of lettuce and shining like candy, these “cooked chicken giblets” à la
Japanese have a sweet and spicy taste. They are traditionally served in soba (buckwheat noodles)
restaurants located in the Kofu basin area.
Chicks and the City
Until recently, Kofu citizens had no idea that torimotsu-ni
was their invention. They found out during the 2010 edition
of the B-1 Grand Prix, an annual nationwide specialty
gourmet contest in which teams from various localities all
over Japan compete for recognition of their local specialties.
In 2010, Kofu won the contest. The name of the winning team, The “Minasama no En wo Torimotsu Tai” when they
received the Gold Medal at the B-1 Grand Prix in 2010.
“Minasama no En wo Torimotsu Tai”, which roughly
translates to the “Bring Everybody Together Squad”, is a cleverly used wordplay that puns the word
torimotsu which can mean both “chicken giblets” and “to bring together”. Launched in 2008 by a
few Kofu City public employees, the team has since then
grown into a bigger group of 30 volunteers (public and
private employees, students) with the objective of revitalizing
the city of Kofu with one single tool: torimotsu-ni. The road
to the B-1 Grand Prix gold medal was not an easy one – the
trickiest part of it was convincing the creators of torimotsu-ni
and the restaurants that carried it in their menu to take part.
Most feared that mass publicity would result in an inevitable
drop in quality of their product. "In order to avoid having too
big a drop in the quality, we created a certified accreditation
The “Minasama no En wo Torimotsu Tai”
during a gourmet-related event.
13 The Yamanashi Grapevine
and a map of “Minasama no En wo Torimotsu Tai” approved shops.
There are around 50 on the map now", said Mr. Chiken, a member of the
team (and YES, his name is for real). Variations of the torimotsu-ni recipe
are admitted when they are faithful to the original spirit. Some
restaurants deliberately shun accreditation though, and stray miles away
– often with unquestionable talent and creativity – from the “real thing”. It
gives a real freedom to the customers who can chose which torimotsu-ni
they want to eat.
In four short years, the little black and orange torimotsu-ni flags have
spread over Kofu City and the rest of the prefecture. They’re pretty. But
they also mean that you can enjoy torimotsu-ni just about anywhere in
Torimocchan and Enmarukun are
mascots of the “Minasama no En
wo Torimotsu Tai”. They
obviously represent the chicken
and the egg (kinkan) used to
make torimotsu-ni.
Cooking It at Home
Torimotsu-ni (4 persons)
●The giblets
Chicken liver:
Chicken gizzard: 250g
Chicken heart:
Kinkan (immature chicken egg): 50g (I’m
not sure I ever saw kinkan back in
Europe, so you can try to find them, but
you don’t have to try too hard as they’re
not an indispensable ingredient.)
●The sauce
Soy sauce: 100cc
Preparing the giblets
Liver: use only the part that is shaped like a
heart and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Gizzard: take out the white and pink parts.
Cut to bite-sized pieces.
Heart: take out any blood clots and cut into two.
Kinkan: No preparation needed.
step 2
step 4~5
People in Yamanashi will tell you that
torimotsu-ni is not a dish to make at home
but I am sure quite a few of you will more
than appreciate a recipe of a Japanese dish
with familiar ingredients such as chicken.
1. Pour the sugar and soy sauce in a
2. Add the giblets.
3. Heat on high heat and put the lid over
the saucepan.
4. Bring to a boil (bubbles will appear on
the surface).
5. Lift the lid and stir occasionally by
moving the saucepan around.
6. Once most of the liquid has evaporated,
your dish is ready.
7. Place on a lettuce leaf.
Let’s ask Chef Shiomi!
Chef Taishi Shiomi is the 4th generation of
the family that created torimotsu-ni and he
has the following advice:
●If cooked on low or medium heat, the
giblets will harden and won’t taste as
●If you add one more spoon of soy sauce
between step 5 and 6, the caramelized
sauce will taste even better.
●The lettuce leaf will absorb the
caramelized sauce and make the dish
even more delicious.
step 6
step 7
The Yamanashi Grapevine 14