Dried Konawata Matsukawa – video

An urushi bowl, and a chef’s dashi are just part of his secret. I’ve seen it before but it still continues to thrill me when its done so well. The key here are the sansho leafs, they add a zing to the dish, and the sticky rice and ear fungus are all gummy good.



This looks like nothing but for those who have never tasted konowata the preparation is tedious. Before the removal of intestine, the animals are kept in clean seawater for a certain period to empty the intestine before gutting. After the intestine are removed, the contents are squeezed out by hand without breaking the canal, The intestines are washed in clean seawater and rinsed.

A particularly succulent part of the sea cucumber are the intestines and a technique has been developed for plucking out them out—squeezing a finger into the underside usually does the trick—taking advantage of the fact that the animal auto-eviscerates in response to rough handling, a defensive mechanism against predators. They then throw the animal back in the ocean where, miraculously, it regenerates its own intestines overnight or within a few days (all echinoderms can do this).


The viscera is salted using 10/15% salt by weight of the raw viscera, and one-third of the total salt are added to the product first to extract water from the body. After draining more salt is added, and mixed thoroughly for five to six hours.


The mixture is put into a wood barrel and covered with a lid to allow the product fermented. Occasional stir might need during the fermenting period. The finished product is packed in bottles and distributed to retailers.

The nutritive value of the product are 76.5% water, 9.3% protein, 1.3 fat, 0.5 carbohydrate and 12.4% ash. The price of konowata is paid partly on the length of the intestines and the longer intestines command higher price.

Note: the intestines, after removed from the animal, can be kept in cold storage for a considerable time before processing or waiting for a period of the high price market.