Samurai Jack – Aku-rogoma Tamagozake

samurai jack drinking

This week marks the 14th anniversary of the premiere of Samurai Jack, the katana-wielding Man Out of Time. Will Aku’s forces of darkness drive the brave warrior to drink? Find out after the jump.

Aku-rogoma tamagozake

Ingredients

  • 1 go (6 oz, 180 mL, 3/4 cup) sake
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 dsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 heaping tbsp honey

Procedure

  1. Prepare neri goma by warming sesame seeds in a pan until fragrant and toasted
  2. Process seeds in a mortar and pestle or food processor until moist and slick with oil
  3. Mix with honey and add to a mixing glass or bowl
  4. Add egg to mixing glass, whisk until egg is well scrambled and incorporated with neri goma
  5. Bring sake to a boil
  6. While continuously whisking the egg mixture vigorously, pour the sake slowly into the egg mixture
  7. Pour into 10 oz tea cup to serve

samurai jack nerdbar (2)

Samurai Jack was, like it’s title character, snatched away before its time. Combining the best elements of spaghetti western cinematography with an eastern cyber/naturopunk setting, the show was everything you wanted for a kids action animated series. It even had a villainous Mako (no, not that Mako, or that Mako, or that Mako,  or even those mako). The only things it lacked were good numbers. Low viewership meant that the show was taken off air before any satisfactory conclusion was reached, leaving the struggle to continue eternal.

Twelve years later, a new hope arose in the form of a comic series, by Jim Zub and Andy Suriano, the latter of which was a character designer on the original show. The comic too, had a good run, but after two critically well-received years, IDW Publishing elected to discontinue it as well. On the plus side, this time around the team was able to prepare in advance. They say the final issue, “Mako the Scribe” (still a different Mako), while not providing an explicit end to the story, aims to give readers “emotional closure”. The single issue was released just this past June 3, and the multi-issue volumes are due out on October 15.

Goodbye, brave samurai

Goodbye, brave samurai

So, what would he drink?

Well, we know in general the guy is ascetic as they come. In episode 42, “Samurai vs. Samurai”, in a crowded bar he drinks from a teacup and asks only for refills of hot water. So we ask, “under what conditions would Jack drink anything else”? An exception must exist to his monastic vows, and so we imagine one, in sickness and in health. What we mean by that…is tamagozake.

"Da Samurai" vs Honey badger Jack

“Da Samurai” vs Honey badger Jack

What?

Tamagozake is a Japanese home remedy for the common cold, a comfort cure in the same way much of the Western world views chicken soup. Composed of sweetened hot sake and an egg, it’s warm and both sweet and a little savory at the same time. It’s still being made by families today, though not quite as commonly as before. What stood out to us is the fact that as a cold remedy, they gave it to whoever was sick, be it wife, old grandfather, or young children. The drink isn’t about having a bunch of alcohol, it’s a vehicle for that warm riciness and egg. If Jack ever came down with the sneezes, I think he’d consider tamagozake.
We put a darker twist on it by replacing the usual sweetener, plain honey, with neri goma, black sesame paste. Neri goma is a paste dissolved and sweetened by honey or oil, but flavored by crushed kuro goma, black sesame seeds. As a sweet substitute, we used honey. It’s black as sin, which given Aku’s paradise seems appropriate.

An example of how dark this stuff really comes out.

An example of how dark this stuff really comes out.

To make this a hot drink instead of a warm pudding, care has to be taken in combining the egg and hot sake. While some preparations mix everything together and heat it as one, it’s much more reliable to borrow a technique from cooking. Tempering eggs involves adding the hot liquid to rapidly agitated egg, rather than the egg to hot liquid. This prevents the instantaneous temperature of any part of the eggs from being cooked hot enough to solidify or scramble them into solid eggs. Gradual addition is the name of the game here.

How does it taste?

The sesame definitely takes center stage in this drink, with nutty overtones over a barely-sweet, almost custardy body from the egg. The sake appears as part of the finish, which transitions to a taste somehow both fragrant and earthy. I never look forward to being sick, but with sesame tamagozake maybe it won’t be so bad.

Long ago in a distant land, I, Aku, the shape-shifting Master of Darkness, unleashed an ... wait this isn't my line. Where's my ocean?

Long ago in a distant land, I, Aku, the shape-shifting Master of Darkness, unleashed an … wait this isn’t my line. Where’s my ocean?

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