Shishamo is a deep-fried fish dish that has a mild taste with an enjoyable grainy texture. The term Shishamo can be translated to “Willow Leaf Fish” which is a kind of smelt. The fish used in the dish is an anadromous fish that is indigenous in North America (Pacific Northwest) and Japan (Hokkaido).
The Japanese name of the dish demonstrates that fact that the fish resembles a willow leaf. In Japanese cuisine, the fish is fried or grilled then served (as a whole fish). You have to enjoy fish eggs to enjoy the Shishamo as after it is deep-fried, the skin turns crispy and it encases the cooked caviar. The dish can be dipped into any of your favourite toppings. The best choice of topping would be a light ponzu or a tempura-style dipping sauce. Other perfect choices include mustard sauce, green herb sauce, lemon, minced garlic or even plain vinegar.
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Ingredients (4 servings):
- 10 Ounces of Shishamo
- 1 tsp of Salt
- 3 Cups of Oil (For Frying)
- ½ Cup of Flour
Ingredients for the Dipping Sauce
- 1 Cup of Dashi Soup Stock
- ¼ Cup of Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp of Sugar
- ¼ Cup of Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine)
- Start making the dish by first washing the fish thoroughly and then patting the fish dry with a paper towel. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour and the salt together.
- In a small saucepan, pour in the dashi, mirin, soy sauce and sugar to be mixed well together. Bring the dial-up to medium heat to cook the ingredients and then bring it to a simmer and stir the ingredients well. Ensure that the sugar is dissolved. After it has been cooked, set it aside to be cooled.
- Pour some oil in a wok to be heated at about 180 degrees Celsius. Arrange a line of paper towels, with the dipping sauce at hand. Dredge each fish lightly in the bowl of flour and salt. Shake off the excess salt and then deep fry the fish for about 2 to 3 minutes. The skin of the fish should be a mouth-watering golden brown appearance.
- After the fried fish is cooked, place it on the paper towels to let the oil soak up. The dish is best eaten immediately after it has been cooked.
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