Tokkuris and Nimono, your dinner’s companion
What odd-looking tiny china. Do you use them for real, or are they just for design and display for the living room? The answer might surprise you, because the Japanese use them almost daily, especially the folks who love sake.
The long and tall one is called “tokkuri,” and NO, it’s not a vase. There’s a reason for it to have this shape, since people put sake in the tokkuri, and then put the tokkuri itself in a pan of boiling water. The heat will penetrate through the material of the tokkuri, making sake warm enough to enjoy. Of course, some people like it cold, or as is as well.
Another thing is that you don’t drink directly out from a tokkuri. There’s a teeny tiny cup for that, and it’s called an “ochoko.” The size may resemble a shot glass, but people drink from it one sip, or even one lick, taking their time and savoring the sake.
How would you like your sake to be served?
“Ahhhhhh, what a way to end a day, sake and nimono.” I’m sure almost all of men in age groups from late 50s murmur in their minds every evening in Japan. As you see in the picture, sake is in the fancy tokkuri bottle. You pour the sake into the small ochokos seen next to it, and drink. Indulging in the taste of fine sake is essential, but don’t forget to admire the artwork on the bottle as well.
The snack for this little feast is shown below, and this is a homemade recipe that every house has, called “nimono.” Now the unique part about this nimono is that the taste differs from each house to house. Some put ingredients that others don’t, while some prefer to add small bonus amounts of their choosing. It could be salt, sugar, soy sauce, bouillon, sweet sake, etc. Meaning, you can have 100 dishes of nimono each made by different people, and there would be 100 different tastes!
And of course, some prefer to have their recipe hidden, passed down only to their offsprings….
Hot sake (あつかん) (熱燗)