Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Chikuwa" fish cake "isobe" fry 竹輪の磯辺揚げ

I was pleasantly surprised to discover I have not already blogged this item. This is another classic Izakaya fare. You will never see this in fancy or (not even fancy) restaurants. You have to make it at home or have it at an Izakaya. To make this you need a type of fish cake called "Chikuwa" 竹輪. Chikuwa literally means "bamboo ring" since traditionally it was made by putting fish meat paste or surimi すりみ around a small stick of bamboo and steaming it first then grilling it (if grilled it is called "yaki-chikuwa"). The bamboo stick left a hole in the center of the cylinder of fish cake. I am sure it is now mass produced using an extruder. Chikuwa is an essential item in oden. I can buy frozen chikuwa at the Japanese grocery store.

To make this dish, I cut chikuwa (2 for 2 small serving) into 4 pieces lengthwise and cut its length in half producing 8 small sticks from one chikuwa.

Batter; I used cake flour (3 tbs) and rice four (1 tbs, optional) and dried aonori  青海苔 (1 tsp, optional) and cold water to make a rather loose batter.

After coating each piece of the chikuwa sticks, I fried them in 170C or (340F) vegetable oil for 1-2 minutes or until a crispy crust formed (it doesn't have to cook long because chikuwa is already cooked). Serve hot with a lemon wedge and salt (optional).

This is a quick but perfect small dish for your sake. Nice crunchy crust has oceanic taste of aonori with soft but slightly chewy fish cake inside.

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