Shimotsukare and onioroshi grater
Shimotsukare is a traditional dish served in the northern part of Japan’s Kanto region, particularly in Tochigi Prefecture, to celebrate the day of Hatsu-uma. Hatsu-uma refers to the first Day of the Horse in February, which celebrates the legendary deity Inari. On this day, people pray for a good harvest, a thriving business, or the well-being of their family. Shimotsukare is presented as an offering to Inari, and then consumed at home. Although its ingredients may vary, the dish is generally prepared by simmering the head of a salted, preserved salmon together with daikon, carrots, soybeans, abura-age thin sheets of deep- fried tofu, and sake lees. Using a particular tool called an onioroshi, the daikon and carrots are coarsely grated, which allows the vegetables to retain water and so preserve their natural flavors.