Koregusu: Traditional Hot Chili Sauce from Okinawa Island
Situated in the far south of the mainland of Japan, Okinawa Prefecture prides itself on its various unique foods and distinctive cultures that are different from the main island Honshu.
If I give representatives of such Okinawan foods, what comes to my mind right away are Okinawa Soba (沖縄そば) and Koregusu (コーレーグス).
The former is an udon-like dish consisting of thick, curly wheat noodles in a soy sauce-based soup made with pork bones and Katsuobushi bonito flakes.
On the other hand, the latter is a traditional Okinawan hot chili sauce.
As I wrote about the former Okinawa Soba before, I will talk about the latter Koregusu chili sauce this time.
Koregusu is a specialty of Okinawa made from Okinawan red chili pepper called Shima Togarashi (島唐辛子) infused in the traditional Okinawan spirits Awamori (泡盛).
Shima Togarashi is extremely spicy, so the Okinawan chili sauce Koregusu is also quite hot.
Besides, since the alcohol content of Awamori generally ranges from about 20 to 40 percent, the Koregusu sauce too holds a high alcohol content.
Despite that, there is no need to worry about the use because it is good enough to put some drops to season something. The addition of a little Koregusu will drastically change the flavor and taste.
The Okinawan hot chili sauce is a liquid, so when using it, be careful not to put too much.
If you have a chance to visit an Okinawa Soba restaurant, you will see a glass-bottled Koregusu sauce on each table, for the chili sauce is an essential condiment for the dish.
In addition, Koregusu can be used in various ways, as shown below. From the examples, I’d say its usage is essentially the same as La-Yu (ラー油) chili oil.
- As a condiment for pizza and pasta, you can substitute Koregusu for Tabasco sauce.
- You can use Koregusu, instead of wasabi, for sashimi with soy sauce.
- Besides Okinawa Soba, Koregusu matches well with soup dishes such as ramen, udon, miso soup, or Nabemono hot pots.
- Koregusu pairs well with fish sauce like Nam Pla, so let’s combine them.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia コーレーグス )