Shigureni is one kind of tsukudani, which ingredients such as small fishes and seaweed are deeply shimmed with soy sauce, sugar, and cooking rice wine. The original shigureni used clam as a main ingredient, and was called shigure-hamaguri, hamaguri meaning clam, which is still a speciality of Kuwana city, Mie prefecture.
It is said that a poet from the midst of Edo period (1603-1868), Shikou Kagami, named shigure-hamaguri. The word shigure comes from a weather that rains off and on during autumn and winter.
There are several theories of the origin of the name shigureni. When eating shigureni, one can taste different flavours for a short period of time, which is like a shigure that rains temporary. It is also believed that the season that shigure rains is the season when clam is most delicious.
In a cooking book from the Edo period, it is written that the characteristic of shigureni is to cook quickly, and to roast clam with rich soy sauce, which is like shigure that rains for a short time.
Nowadays, tsukudani using ginger, cooked with beef and seafood, is generally called shigureni. Shigureni using beef is most popular, and can be easily made at home. The way to cook beef shigureni is to first boil broth in a pot, and add sake, sugar, soy sauce, and cooking rice wine. Next, simmer beef and ginger in the soup with medium heat, and boil down until the soup is almost gone.
Currently, in Kuwana city, there are five big shigureni production companies which belong to Kaishin gruop, and there are also other small companies too. Shigureni produced by those companies are sold at department stores and supermarkets in Tokai and Kansai region.