Last Friday my blogger friend Sissi shared the recipe of Aji-no-hiraki (Japanese Salted and Grilled Horse Mackerel) on her site With A Glass. She calls it “Scary-Looking Delicacy” and when I went to see the photo on her site, I burst into laughs while most of you probably feel horrific at the sight of this least photogenic dish (in her words).
I laughed because I actually held one post in draft that I was reluctant to post for months, and that is today’s recipe. Living in the US for 15 years now, I barely see fish with head being served at a restaurant and I thought this photo might possibly cause you to lose your appetite. Sissi however provided enough courage for me to post this recipe, and I even think my picture is less scary than hers…. is it?
The fish is called Shishamo (Japanese smelt) and it’s one of Japan’s delicacies and popular appetizer. Usually it’s grilled or fried whole and served with its roe intact (komochi shishamo) in Izakaya or more traditional restaurants. We can buy Shishamo frozen at Japanese market here in the US. While growing up I didn’t like Shishamo that much at all. My mom told me I had to eat at least one fish because they are good source for calcium. Now I’m a mother of two and it’s ironic I’m trying to feed Shishamo to my kids. But guess what, my kids looooove Shishamo and they each eat 4 whole fish, and they even eat it from its head! While researching Shishamo for this post, I came across this blog and there are places in Japan that serves fresh Shishamo sushi when they are in season. My husband is already putting this on his to-do list if we visit Japan during the right time.
I know today’s recipe is not for everyone because you can’t get Shishamo. But if you live close to a Japanese supermarket and find these scary looking delicacies, please give it a try!
- 8 Shishamo (the package that I have today has 8 Shishamo)
- 4 egg roll wrappers, cut in half
- 8 Shiso leaves (I made 4 shishamo wraps with shiso and 4 without shiso)
- 1 tsp flour
- 1 tsp water
- Oil for deep frying
- Matcha Salt (green tea powder and salt) – optional
- Shichimi (Japanese seven flavor chili pepper) – optional
- Quickly rinse Shishamo under running water and pat dried.
- Cut Egg Roll Wrapper in half.
- Place shiso and the Shishamo on the egg roll wrapper as you see below. Roll it up from the bottom and seal the edge with the mixture of flour and water.
- In a large non-stick frying pan, heat ¼ inch of oil on medium high heat.
- When it’s hot (check with a chopstick), place the wraps in the pan and deep fry until golden brown.
- Serve immediately and squeeze lemon before you eat. Today I serve with Matcha Salt and Shichimi.