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The Hot Pepper site has a list of five side dishes that are perfect for sake, created by “Kagezō” from a list of their own most frequently used recipes.

1: Crab meat and kani-miso

The first recipe is crab sticks (カニカマ, kani-kama) with tinned kani-miso – which is not what’s known outside of Japan as miso.

Depending on where you look for answers, kani-miso is either the brain or the “hepatopancreas” (fulfilling the function of both liver and pancreas) of a crab. [脳みそ, “head-miso” is used for “brains”, but colloquially it seems to be a bit like “mush”.]

Simply shred the crab meat and mix with the, um, internal organs to taste, and add a bit of spring onion for a more luxurious take on crab sticks.

2: Avocado marinated in miso

Next up is avocado and miso. Normal soy-based miso this time.

Slice an avocado and marinate it overnight in a mix of white miso and mirin. This turns the flesh even softer and emphasises its sweetness.

3: Egg yolks marinated in soy sauce

The third dish is egg yolk in soy sauce, another dish left overnight to marinate. Just add egg yolks to a mixture of mentsuyu (めんつゆ, soup base for noodle dishes) and soy sauce for sashimi (刺身醬油, sashimi shōyu) and put in the fridge. Soy sauce for sashimi is thicker than normal soy so that it sticks to and flavours the fish instead of just rolling off.

The author speculates that osmosis pulls some water out of the egg yolk, making it seem as solid as if it were half-cooked and giving it a texture like a chestnut, going from soft to firm. Show it off by putting it on a leaf of shiso or bed of white noodles.

4: Grilled peppered mackerel with rosemary

Number four is pepper-grilled mackerel. Sprinkle salt on the mackerel and leave aside, then put rosemary in the stomach cavity. Cover generously with mixed pepper. Grill and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the fish.

5: Shiitake mushrooms with mayonnaise and chilli

And last but not least is shiitake mushrooms grilled with mayonnaise and chilli. It couldn’t be easier – fill the mushrooms with a mixture of mayonnaise, chilli sauce and sake and put them under the grill.