Japanese Cuisine: Himono-Dried Fish

How many people outside Shizuoka Prefecture know that half (yes, half!) of all dried fish are caught and processed in our Prefecture, notably along the shores of the Izu Peninsula?
When will i convince everyone that Shizuoka Prefecture is THE true gastronomic region of Japan? LOL
To those guys living in Tokyo, may I remind them that Mount Fuji, Izu Peninsula and wasabi are all in Shizuoka Prefecture? Please someone stop me!

I chose a fish called “isaki” or “Chicken Grunt” (who came up with that English name?) that is quite common on our shores.
The recipe naturally applies to loadsof fish!

CLEANING THE FISH:

Using a strong short sharp knife (the japanese use the same knife to cut and gut medium size fish), first get rid of the scales as much as possible.
Wash once under running clear cold water.
Cut along the back (not the belly! very important) from the tail to the head as shown on above picture deeply enough to reach the main bone.

Oncethe knife has cut all along the back and reached the head, cut the head in half along the same cutting line.
The head of a isaki being small it is quite easy. It might requires some strength for bigger head fish like seabreams. Call the MOTH then! (not the moths, the “Man”! LOL).

Open the fish and continue cutting in half all the way through.

Take out innards carefully so as not having them getting in contact with the flesh!
Depending upon the season, you might be lucky to get male sperm sacks (shirako). Don’t throw that away. They are great simmered with soy sauce, mirin/sweet sake, japanese sake and chili pepper! (see pic below).

Open the fish and clean it under running clear cold water.
Take water off with some kitchen paper or a clean piece of cloth.
Sprinkle with salt and dry outside under the sun until it has reached a nice aspect. You could also smoke it.
It can be preserved insde an airtight plastic bag and frozen, although eaten quickly it will taste so much better!

The Japanese grill their himono/dried fish pasted with a liuttel soy sauce or tare. Beautiful with beer, Good Beer and Country Boys!

Great also grilled with a little salt!

If grilled with salt don’t forget the freshly grated daikon (and lemon juice, and soy sauce…)

The male sperm sacs (shirako) make for a great snack with your beer or sake once simmered in soy sauce, mirin/sweet sake and Japanese sake (and a little chili pepper)!

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10 thoughts on “Japanese Cuisine: Himono-Dried Fish”

  1. Wow! I have never cleaned out a fish before and always wondered how to go about doing it. That was very detailed and I think I might actually be able to do it from your step by step instructions. Thank you for sharing that. 🙂

    And the fish looks delish!! My family loves to eat fish. We just don’t usually have it so fresh that we have to cut and clean it out. 🙂

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  2. Mate, your “sebiraki” is very good! I like my himono “ichiyaboshi” style so I sprinkle my salt thoroughly and put in front of a fan indoors for a couple hours rather than out in the sun. Fish here is tropical and are no good sashimi. Generally the flesh is too soft. But due to the high oil content, they make really good himonos. You are so lucky to get the shirako! I like to eat the ibukuro (stomache) of breams. They are good yubiki with some momijioroshi and ponzu.

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