Japanese Cuisine/Kaiseki 4: Cha-Kaiseki Sample
Cha-Kaiseki is the meal served in the context of chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony). It precedes the serving of the tea at a formal tea function (chaji). The basic constituents of a cha-kaiseki meal are the ichijū sansai or “one soup, three side dishes”, and the rice, plus the following: suimono, hassun, yutō, and kōnomono. The one soup referred to here is usually miso soup, and the basic three side dishes are the following:
Mukōzuke: foods in a dish arranged on the far side of the meal tray for each guest, which is why it is called mukōzuke (lit., “set to the far side”). Often this might be some kind of sashimi, though not necessarily so. On the near side of the meal tray are arranged the rice and the soup, both in lacquered lidded bowls.
Nimono: simmered foods, served in individual lidded bowls.
Yakimono: grilled foods (usually some kind of fish), brought out in a serving dish for the guests to serve themselves.
Here under is a description of the additional items mentioned above:
Suimono: clear soup served in a small lacquered and lidded bowl, to cleanse the palate before the exchange of saké (rice wine) between host and guests. Also referred to as kozuimono (small clear soup) or hashiarai (chopstick rinser).
Hassun: a tray of tidbits from mountain and sea that the guests serve themselves to and accompanies the round of saké (rice wine) shared by host and guests.
Yutō: pitcher of hot water having slightly browned rice in it, which the guests serve themselves to.
Kōnomono: pickles that accompany the yutō.
Extra items that may be added to the menu are generally referred to as shiizakana, and these attend further rounds of saké. Because the host leaves them with the first guest, they are also referred to as azukebachi (lit., “bowl left in another’s care”).
Now, here is a typical Cha Kaiseki meal.
Can you guess the components?