Aburakasu (food) (油かす (食品))

"Aburakasu" is residue obtained by removing fats from meat and is called by various names depending on the kind of raw material or the region. This type of food can be found in regions all over the world that have long histories of producing and consuming livestock products.

The name "aburakasu" generally means preservative food products whose raw materials are small or large intestines of cattle and horses, mainly distributed in dowa chiku (areas where the Buraku people live) of western Japan. Since aburakasu is prepared by using waste obtained after taking meat out of livestock animals, it was conventionally produced and consumed secretly only among burakumin (modern-day descendants of Japan's feudal outcast groups), many of whom were engaged in the butchery trade. Although aburakasu, as well as saiboshi (smoked horse meat), was a traditional foodstuff for burakumin but rarely available to the general public, its distinct taste has come to be widely known to the general public as discrimination and prejudice against burakumin have faded away. Aside from the above narrowly defined aburakasu using small or large intestines of cattle and horses, other types of aburakasu have little relation with buraku.

Production methods

Aburakasu is prepared by boiling fats or internal organs of livestock in pots to turn fats into liquid state, separating residues from the fats and then drying the residues. Although the resultant meat residues are rather hard, they are nutritionally rich in collagen completely without fats, and when stewed, they become very soft. With respect to koro (a type of aburakasu) of whale meat, since its commercial value was high with heavy demand in Osaka, the method of boiling meat in a pot was opted for instead of other methods for removing fats even after more preferable methods for removing fats were developed. Today, aburakasu is often produced as foodstuff by a method of deep-frying materials in sesame oil or the like at low temperature, which is not intended to remove fats.

Types

Cattle and horses

Aburakasu, prepared as residues obtained after heating intestines of cattle or horses to remove hetto (beef fat) or horse oil, is widely eaten as is, boiled with vegetables, or included as an ingredient in okonomiyaki (savory pancake with various ingredients) or as a topping on udon (Japanese wheat noodle). Recently, since eating internal organs of livestock has been spreading among Japanese people and the supply of cattle intestines has been decreasing due to influences from the problem of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, raburakasu is becoming expensive.

Aburakasu - mainly in Prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Hyogo. Aburakasu is also called simply "kasu" in these regions.

Irikasu - mainly in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Tokushima Prefecture
Senjiniku or senjigara - in Hiroshima prefecture
Pork

It is residues obtained after heating backfat of pork or pork ribs and removing lard therefrom and is widely used to be eaten as is, or included as an ingredient in boiled foods, stir-fried dishes, or yakisoba (fried soba).

Seshikara or senjikara - in Miyazaki Prefecture
Nikukasu - (used in Fujinomiya yakisoba) in Shizuoka Prefecture
Andakashi - in Okinawa Prefecture
Cracklin - in the southern United States of America
Whale

It is prepared by heating fatty ventral meat of whale, removing fats therefrom, and drying the resultant residue. It is used to prepare broth for cooking oden or boiled as is to be eaten.

Koro - In Osaka Prefecture
Seshikara - in Kagoshima Prefecture
Irikawa
Chicken

The supply of aburakasu prepared from chicken meat, which is relatively low-fat, is small. In some regions, however, there are companies which produce and sell "seshikara" or "aburakasu" using chicken skin as its raw material. Ashkenazi (east European) Jews call chickin skin residues obtained after extracting schmalz oil therefrom "enGribenes".