Kibinago (blue sprat, Spratelloides gracilis) silver striped round herring is locally harvested. Locally it is called the sea nymph of blue waves in the Nankai Southern Seas. The small fish, only about 10 cm in length, is easily recognized for its silver stripe running down its length. Kibinago is relished as it can be prepared many different ways including sumiso a vinegared miso sauce and sashimi, shioyaki – salted and grilled, nitsuke – simmered in a broth, agemono – deep-fried, shirumono – soups, and more. Perhaps the most famous is kikka tsukuri a sashimi presentation where the kibinago sashimi is artistically displayed so that it resembles a chrysanthemum flower. In the cities of Makurazaki and Tanegashima the kibinago is prepared as sukiyaki with vegetables in a sweet soy sauce cooked at the table. Kibinago are said to be the most delicious when the fish are about to spawn as they swim close to the coastline from early spring until the beginning of summer.
Kibinago sashimi is served with sumiso made from umami-rich ingredients such as tamari soy sauce, a sweet rice miso, vinegar, and sugar. The umami-rich tart vinegared miso perks up the rich textured kibinago sashimi.RECIPE_HEADEND