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torakris

kamaboko

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I'm pretty sure the dishes would be served together rather than in courses-- kaiseki was developed several centuries later.

Somehow I doubt that diners cooked their own kamaboko. That just seems like a way of eating that Heain nobles would consider vulgar. I also think that they would eat in a banquet room, and not a kitchen-- so no fire in the middle of the room either. And kamaboko isn't really impressive enough to have been prepared in front of them by a chef, as some dishes were.

My guess? The kamaboko was served cold and already cut up, with some sort of dipping sauce on the side.

Incedentally, do you know the origin of the word "kamaboko"? They were originally called "gamanoho" for their resemblence, especially while being cooked on sticks, to the fuzzy pod (ho) at the top of a bullrush/cattail (gama). Over the centuries the pronunciation of "gamanoho" has been corrupted to "kamaboko".


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Hi, nuppe, how have you been? :biggrin:

I googled "history of kamaboko" (in Japanese, of course), but found no interesting information other than that that you already described in your first post. Just one piece of information that may interest you: November 15 (11/15 in Japanese, which is similar to year 1115, when the feast was held) is now Kamaboko Day. (I didn't know that!)

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Wow, you're great! (both) And it's good to be back. Actually I had heard mentioned earlier a few of the things mentioned. But I sure used time to find out, and it is good to get things confirmed. Both the ethymology and the link between the year and the kamaboko day is fascinating. (does kamaboko day really exist?)

Smallworlds reasoning seems reasonable... And you are in fact the only one who has managed to give me an answer to that question. As a kamaboko patriot, I wonder if the grilled kamaboko could have seemed more impressive if it really was a new invention at the time. For some reason there exists a drawing of the fish sticks that is supposed to be from the occasion.

But you're probably right. My first chikuwa was made with ANAGO, eaten on the way to Miyajima outside Hiroshima. Liked it, it even tasted fish - not like the crabsticks I know from Norway. Thanks again.

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(does kamaboko day really exist?)

Of course, it does! Access the above and get a translator to translate it:

http://www.ffortune.net/life/food/fish/kamaboko.htm

One more thing: Origin of the word chikuwa

Self-explanatory. Chiku (bamboo) + wa (ring, circle), 竹輪 in Kanji.

The site above says that kamaboko on a wooden board was invented in the Muromachi period, and came to be called kamaboko. Kamaboko in its original form came to be called chikuwa. The steamed type (not the grilled type) seems to have come into existence in the Edo period.

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Thank you again! I do love the meaning of words, including your chikuwa. And you are in fact giving a very good summarizing of the kamaboko history as I have understood it. My mentors (almost) agree that it started with fresh water fish - and that it was upper class food in the beginning. But later I think it has been a way to make a use of fish and fish sorts (different local, marine types) that it was difficult to use in other ways. The image of carp or catfish chikuwa in Heian nobility and the image of kamaboko produced in fishing villages later on, make contrasts. I wonder about the link between these pictures , but guess it will be difficult to find out for certain.

I'll print the page you sent and bring it on the fishing trip with my Japanese sensei and friend tomorrow!

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I have a slight feeling that neither the Japanese or the world take kamaboko/surimi seriously,

I was meant to ask, "Where did you get that idea?"

I LIKE kamaboko and all other surimi-based fish products, except hanpen :biggrin: .

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I'll answer. And don't take the tale about serious too serious (?)

When I have to, I work as a journalist within seafood industy and tade - basicly based on Norwegian fish resources.

In the 1960/70-ies the Japanese turned to Alaska pollock to increase the production of kamaboko. Then because of the Economic Zones, the American took over much of the surimi production. And there even were Norwegians who wanted to take part in this Klondyke. A young man called Kjell Inge Røkke started from scratch and built up the biggest surimi trawler fleet there was. Then he moved back to Norway, becoming Norways leading industrialist. The Americans didn't like the fact that the owner of the biggest factory trawler company was Norwegian. So they made a new law to push him out. He had to selle, but he's still within the surimi business, and last autumn I was in the company of him and of the person who is responsible of the surimi sales in the company today. He told me a little bit about the surimi origin and development and I thought there was a story that should be told. Now I only need to tell the story, to find the readers and the editor...

I'll have to taste hanpen.

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Thanks for your interesting story, nuppe.

The Americans didn't like the fact that the owner of the biggest factory trawler company was Norwegian. So they made a new law to push him out.

:shock:

(You don't necessarily have to answer just because I asked. :biggrin: )

And, you don't necessarily have to try hanpen.

Here are some photos of hanpen:

http://www.rakuten.co.jp/edo-noren/708327/708328/

Some like it, while others don't. That's all.

Here are instructions on making hanpen (sorry, Japanese only)

http://www.ajiwai.com/otoko/make/hanpen.htm

Wikipedia entry of hanpen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanpen

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I'm glad to answer but I have not figured out how to use the smilies to show it.

Wow, hanpen has it's story as well. When I see the shape, I think of a sharkfin. Is that reasonable? I was fishing small sharks with my father once, and sometimes we ate. I recall a slight taste of ammonia or something. This evening I caught a cod: Sunday dinner, and cod is not very often minced.(We do have fish traditional fish mince products(balls, cakes, pudding) in Norway as well, but they are not kamaboko. I'll have a slice of bread now...

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I'm glad to answer but I have not figured out how to use the smilies to show it.

Wow, hanpen has it's story as well. When I see the shape, I think of a sharkfin. Is that reasonable? I was fishing small sharks with my father once, and sometimes we ate. I recall a slight taste of ammonia or something. This evening I caught a cod: Sunday dinner, and cod is not very often minced.(We do have fish traditional fish mince products(balls, cakes, pudding) in Norway as well, but they are not kamaboko. I'll have a slice of bread now...

Shark fin? :blink: The texture is completely different...

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I guess it is... I just thought of the triangular shape - the scary one you don't want to recognize while swimming.

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Kamaboko is really a handy thing to have around when you need a side dish or to fill up some space in your bento box! During a trip to Odawara, I picked these up. The variety of kamaboko there is staggering. If it weren't for the pretty bamboo basket packaging, I would have had a very difficult time figuring out what to get! The trio was actually really tasty, much better than any kamaboko I've purchased from the grocery store. I never appreciated that kamaboko can actually be somewhat complex before I ate these. Very noticeable flavors and a very nice texture. I just sliced them up and ate them on their own.

From the upper left, going clockwise: Sakura ebi, yuzu, aonori. I don't know what "chikubu" or "chikusei?" means. Help! :wacko:

gallery_31440_3297_70946.jpg

gallery_31440_3297_17950.jpg

Cute bag that says "kamaboko"

gallery_31440_3297_16104.jpg

"Gomoku age" I'm not sure exactly what gomoku means. It's associated with a lot of different dishes. 5 ingredients? I always wondered how "5 eyes" became a way to describe a flavor! I think that it is usually a mix of vegetables and some kind of meat, I'm assuming fish in this case...

gallery_31440_3297_24070.jpg

Can you tell I finally figured out how to post my images??? It was like a miraculous breakthrough! :cool:

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I don't know what "chikubu" or "chikusei?" means.  Help!  :wacko:

I did some gooling and found that chikubu is a product name of the manufacturer, Suzuhiro.

Gomoku age" I'm not sure exactly what gomoku means.  It's associated with a lot of different dishes.  5 ingredients?  I always wondered how "5 eyes" became a way to describe a flavor!

You are right. gomoku means five ingredients, as in gomoku zushi, yakisoba, chahan, etc. :biggrin:

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Off-topic:

I found this webpage (Japanese only), which examines what are actually "gomoku" in detail. Funny story!

Some "gomoku" dishes contain more than five ingredients, one contains only four, and so on.

I think 五目 is short for 五品目 five items.

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How to make kamaboko

400g approx of white-fleshed fish (let's say a scant pound)

1.5tsp salt

3 tsp mirin

4 tsp cornstarch (potato starch)

1 egg white

Skin, bone, and fillet fish. "Cut" fish by scooping with a spoon. Scrape flesh off bones too.

Wash fish thoroughly under running water to get rid of fat.

Reduce to paste in food processor.

Make into a log-shape on foil-covered board or plate.

Steam for 40 minutes. Cool, slice, serve with soy sauce/wasabi.

Grill skin and eat separately with salt or soy sauce if you want.

Make broth for miso soup with bones and head.

The choice of starch has a lot to do with the finished texture - I'll post on that later.

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Some info about some of my wife's and my favoriates:

Sasa kama (short for sasa kamaboko):

Sasa means bamboo leaf. It's a bamboo leaf-shaped kamaboko, and it's a specialty of Sendai, Miyagi prefecture.

It was also called "tenohira (palm) kamaboko", "bero (tongue) kamaboko", and "kinoha (tree leaf) kamaboko" but now it's usually called sasa kamaboko. According to one site, it got its name because the family emblem of the Date family was "take ni suzume" (sparrows on bamboos).

Saiku ("worked") kamaboko (not our favoriate)

In Toyama prefecture, kamaboko are often given as "hikidemono" (gifts given at wedding ceremonies).

These lucky items are shaped like sea bream, cranes, tortoises, and so on.

http://www2.hokurikutei.or.jp/backnum/05ma...kaku/index.html

Satsuma age:

Satsuma age is so called because it originated in Satsuma, the western part of Kagoshima prefecture. But the people in Kagoshima more often call it tsuke age, just like they call satsuma imo kara imo (kara = China).

One of my favoriate types of satsuma age is yasai (vegetable) age. As its name suggests, it contains cut or sliced vegetables. I especially like small ones with edamame in them; they go very well with beer!

I also like naruto.

http://www.tokai.or.jp/yaizu-city/suisan/p06-2.htm

(First photo)

When I was small, a thin slice of naruto was almost a required ingredient of a ramen, along with some nori, menma (seasoned bamboo shoots), and boiled spinatch.

The surimi product that my wife and I buy the most often is gyoniku (fishmeat) sausage.

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yummy fish cake, I love the good ol' pink one with the white middle. I still buy it for nostalgic reasons. Sometimes when I have no meat I put it in my curry with rice. It makes a nice substitute for chicken, beef, or pork, but it swells too much sometimes.

I want to try the hello kitty ones (:


BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

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By general request, I submit a photo of some surimi products:

gallery_16375_5_51742.jpg

Top: Gyoniku sausage. Favoriate of almost all Japanese (but not of torakris or Helenjp :raz: )

Left: Fake crab meat. Good in salad.

Right: Chikuwa. Used instead of meat in stir-fried vegetables, put in salad, etc.

One of my favorite preparations is to to put a stick of cheese or cucumber in the hole of a chikuwa and cut into four. Makes a good sake no sakana (dish to eat with sake).

Anyone interested to post a photo of their surimi products?

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I have merged the two kamaboko/fish paste product threads, so if you scroll up a bit there are quite a few pictures of various products but I can't wait to see more!


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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kamaboko is one of those products that I have never grown to love. I eat it and actually enjoy it when served to me, but I rarely purchase it and serve it myself.

My favorite has to be pretty much any of the kamaboko type products in oden, the gobo maki being my favorite.

Sometimes a couple slices of a really good kamaboko dipped in a wasabi-soy sauce really hits the spot.

I thought it was just me. I like a Kamaboko slice in soup but cannot eat too much.

I bought the white one with the pink swirl to add to my sons ramen ( I always add shredded scrambled egg to his ramen for extra protein) but he didnt wanna eat it.


Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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Good!(the merge) Loads of kamaboko in one huge pot!

Actually I should spend time to read through thoroughly. I will some day, but I have one question, that maybe is a little difficult to answer, but that I find interesting;

Is there someone who knows about links between local fisheries/fish species and local kamaboko varieties? Like for instance the popularity of shark-based hanpen in Kanto.

Actually I don't know if there are kamaboko producers who use "local surimi" today.Even though kamaboko is a Japanese phenomonon, surimi mince has been global the last decades. But there might still be traces of old times, and it could be that some of the local kamaboko types are related to fish types originally caught in the region. One dish of Norwegian "fiskeboller" to the one who can answer! (link)

http://asko.custompublish.com/sunnmoumlre-...6060-45095.html

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nuppe, I found this table.  Get a good translator to translate it! :biggrin:

Super! I think...

If the table is related to my last question, I'm very curious - and impressed. Well, I'm curious no matter what. I have someone I think can help me with translation, but I'll have to wait a few days. I'll prepare for the fish balls anyhow :wink:

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I took some photos of the oden section and the kamaboko and other surimi products section of a local supermarket today, if anyone is interested.

Oden section:

gallery_16375_5_85949.jpg

gallery_16375_5_106983.jpg

gallery_16375_5_62524.jpg

gallery_16375_5_3714.jpg

gallery_16375_5_138862.jpg

gallery_16375_5_95513.jpg

Kamaboko and other surimi products section:

gallery_16375_5_126615.jpg

gallery_16375_5_79553.jpg

gallery_16375_5_40955.jpg

gallery_16375_5_85246.jpg

gallery_16375_5_87786.jpg

gallery_16375_5_122718.jpg

Usual sights for me and others living in Japan. For those living overseas, do you have any questions?

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Thank you. First of all this made me realize that I would need a patient guide if I should move into that section.

I took some photos of the oden section and the kamaboko and other surimi products section of a local supermarket today, if anyone is interested.

Oden section:

gallery_16375_5_85949.jpg

gallery_16375_5_106983.jpg

gallery_16375_5_62524.jpg

gallery_16375_5_3714.jpg

gallery_16375_5_138862.jpg

gallery_16375_5_95513.jpg

Kamaboko and other surimi products section:

gallery_16375_5_126615.jpg

gallery_16375_5_79553.jpg

gallery_16375_5_40955.jpg

gallery_16375_5_85246.jpg

gallery_16375_5_87786.jpg

gallery_16375_5_122718.jpg

Usual sights for me and others living in Japan.  For those living overseas, do you have any questions?

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