Japanese Gastronomy: Himono/干物-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! (Would you belive I have been challenged on the veracity of the last?)

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 loads of 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.

Once the 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 require 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 all 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 inside 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 little soy sauce or tare. Beautiful with beer!

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)!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Japanese Gastronomy: Himono/干物-Dried Fish”

  1. You thought the English name is weird? Haha! How about the French one: gorette à trois lignes 🙂
    I love salt grilled fish! The only one I make is aji. I have lots of birds here (they still my herbs from balcony) and since I still haven’t bought a special net, I dry my aji (to make aji no hiraki) in the oven, lowest temperature 😦 I suppose the result is not half as good, but it’s all I can hope for in Switzerland anyway.
    Do I see sesame seeds on the grilled fish? I must definitely add them next time I make mackerel. I am add sesame seeds practically everywhere.

    Like

    1. First,dear Sissi!
      Chapeau bas!
      Next, sesame seeds are the perfect accompaninent for so many things that you cannot fail!
      Actually, sesame seeds seem to bring that extra crunch and taste that is impossible to describe…

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s