Umebishio: Traditional Japanese Umeboshi Plum Seasoning
When it comes to Japanese pickles, the salted Ume plum “Umeboshi (梅干し)” is probably the most famous. It is usually so salty, sour, and acidic that we Japanese like to eat it with plain white rice.
I think Umeboshi is a traditional Japanese food that many overseas people know, but how about “Umebishio (梅びしお, 梅醤)”, a traditional Japanese seasoning paste made from Umeboshi plums?
Image: Amazon Japan
Ume-Bishio is an Umeboshi seasoning sweetened with sugar and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine) to make the healthy food Umeboshi easy to eat. Hence, the paste is rich in nutrients and, as a result, is said to bring various health benefits like below.
- Recovery from fatigue
- Prevention of cold
- The effect of controlling intestinal function
- The effect of improving a hangover
- The effect of improving summer lethargy
- The effect of improving sensitivity to cold
Ume-Bishio is fairly easy to make. According to this Japanese site, the basic recipe for the seasoning paste is as follows.
|Umeboshi Plums||10 pieces|
|Sugar||1.5 to 2 tablespoons|
- Soak Umeboshi plums in water for 4 to 5 hours to remove excess salt
- Remove wetness and seeds from the plums, then puree the flesh
- Put the Umeboshi puree, sugar, and mirin in a small shallow pan and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until it becomes almost as thick as Miso paste
- Then, turn off the heat and let the paste cool down
Transfer the Ume-Bishio paste into a lidded glass jar and you can store it in the refrigerator for up to one year.
Ume-Bishio is a kind of versatile seasoning so you can use the Umeboshi plum paste in various ways. For example, some Japanese like to use it instead of soy sauce because it contains less salt. And other usage examples include the below.
- Japanese people love to eat plain white rice with Umebishio paste as well as Umeboshi plums
- Umebishio can be used as a condiment for various foods including sashimi, katsu, tofu, pasta, and salad
- Some Japanese love Bancha green tea mixed with Umebishio; Put 1 or 2 teaspoons Umebishio in a cup, pour in hot Bancha tea, give it a good stir, and enjoy!