Koregusu: Okinawa’s Hot Chili Sauce made with Awamori
Okinawa Island is situated in the far south of the mainland of Japan and prides itself on various unique foods and distinctive cultures that are different from the main island Honshu.
If I give you representative examples 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, while the latter is a traditional hot chili sauce unique to Okinawa.
As I wrote about the former Okinawa Soba before, today I will talk about the latter Koregusu hot chili sauce.
As I mentioned above, Koregusu is Okinawa’s specialty chili sauce, which is made from Okinawan red chili pepper called “Shima Togarashi (島唐辛子)” that has been infused in the traditional Okinawan spirits distilled from rice or millet “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 spirits generally ranges from about 20 % to 40 %, the Koregusu sauce holds a high alcohol content as well.
Despite that, there’s no need to worry about the use, because, to season something, it is good enough to put some drops.
If a little Koregusu is added to some dish, the flavor and taste of the food will dramatically change. The Okinawan hot chili sauce is a liquid, so when using it, you need to be careful not to put too much.
If you have a chance to visit Okinawa Island and go to eat Okinawa Soba, you will definitely see a glass-bottled Koregusu sauce placed on each table in the restaurant, for the hot chili sauce is an essential condiment for Okinawa Soba.
Not only the use for Okinawa Soba, but Koregusu can actually be used in various ways. Its basic usage is almost the same as that of the most common Japanese chili oil “La-Yu (ラー油)“, and further, some other uses include the below.
- As a condiment for pizza and pasta, Koregusu can be substituted for Tabasco sauce
- Koregusu can be used in soy sauce for sashimi, instead of wasabi
- Other than Okinawa Soba, Koregusu matches well with soup dishes such as ramen, udon, miso soup, or Japanese hot-pot “Nabemono (鍋物)”
- Since Koregusu goes well with fish sauces like Nam Pla, using them together can make the dish Asian-style
As you can see from the above examples, Koregusu is a versatile chili sauce that can be used in a wide range of foods from various countries around the world.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia コーレーグス )