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Faithful Fish Cake (Kamaboko)

Posted on June 16, 2009 at 2:17 AM




No, this is not an eraser or a piece of conceptual art.  Though there is a lot of thought that goes into making Japanese fishcake - Kamaboko.  The shape alone is a work of art that has withstood the test of time.   

I was hungry when I got back from Portland so I went to the fridge to see what I can snack on. Of course, most of the fridge looks pretty barren.  But in the meat compartment, I find kamaboko (fish cake). Like salami or cheese, I can always count on this fellow. I also found some Persian cucumbers in the vegetable compartment that I picked up from Teheran Market.   With a piece of ginger, which I always have,  I could fix a little Sunomono - vinegared salad. That with a glass of wine will comfort me.


If you wonder what Kamaboko is made out of, it is mostly of cod or sea bass.  The fish paste is placed on a piece of wood and shaped into a half moon and steamed like a sausage . There are many ways to eat kamaboko. Straight like cheese.  You sliced it up.  It's chewy and on the bland side in flavor. If you find kamaboko bland in flavor, you can dip it in soy sauce or even have it with soy sauce and wasabi like sashimi.  Chinese and Vietnamese also make steamed fish sausages but the color, texture and seasonings are quite different.   

Here, Kamaboko is served with sliced cucumbers to become a refreshing salad. It is a simple variation of vinegared Cucumber and Octopus I blogged about on June 7. This dish is really a no-brainer. Kamaboko keeps in the fridge for about a month, so it's good to have a block around.  I said, the cucumbers should be sliced thin, about 1/8-inch but they definitely look thicker in my photograph, don't they.  Doesn't make a good picture so be careful.  Slice them thinner than mine! 

 

 

 

Vinegared Cucumber and Kamaboko

 

 

VINEGARED CUCUMBER WITH KAMABOKO

 

Serves 2-4

  • 1 Japanese cucumber, peeled
  • 4 1/4 inch thick slices of kamaoko
  • 1 tbls ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp salt for the cucumber

  • Vinegar dressing:
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbls water or Dashi broth (see  Basics - for Dashi Broth - optional)
  1. Make the Vinegared drsss
  2. Rub cucumber with 1t sp of salt. Slice thinly, 1/8-inch thick. Soak the salted cucumber pieces in a bowl of water (2 cups) for about 15 minutes. Drain.
  3. Slice the kamaboko pieces into small triangles. First cut the 1/4 inch thick piece vertically in half. Then cut the triangle in half again to make two triangles. You will have 4 triangles out of each kamaboko slice.
  4. Grate the ginger.
  5. Assemble the cucumbers and Kamaboko in a bowl. Pour the dressing and serve with grated ginger.

 

 

 

 


Categories: Appetizers, Salads

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