Sweet And Salty Tsukudani and Kiriika
Sweet and salty Tsukudani originated as a method for preserving fresh fish. In Japan, clams, fish, and squid are plentiful. It is important to be able to preserve the fish of each season for future use. Kiriika is the squid that has been preserved and Tsukudani includes all seafood and sea vegetables. The simmering sauce is quite dark, as its major ingredient is soy sauce. Tsukudani is so very rich, that you can only eat a small amount. It is heavily seasoned and best if eaten with steamed rice. Just a small spoonful is all you need with a bowl of rice. You can also put a little Tsukudani in your rice balls when you make them. This is the comfort food of Japan!
You will find many shops throughout Tokyo that preserve meat the same way. Like the fish or squid it is served over rice or a small amount placed inside of rice balls. What a delicious way to keep your meat for several months.
Salt in many forms preserves food nicely. The Japanese have used soy sauce for years. It is just in the last few years that other countries have been learning this lesson from the Japanese. If you use a soy sauce that is all natural or organic, then your finished product is chemical free. The Japanese make many natural soy sauces. This is a proven technique since ancient time. You can buy Tsukudani in any Japanese Market in the United States. It is also easy to prepare at home. Here is a Japanese recipe for the marinade.
4 Tbs tamari soy sauce or dark soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar
6 Tbs. sake or any sweet cooking wine
2 Tbs. mirin or sweet cooking wine
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. of grated ginger
Marinate your fish or meat for 24 hours and then dehydrate in commercial drier or place on a rack in the hot sun of summer. Try this at home for fun. It is delicious. It will make you want to travel to see all the many different types of Tsukudani and how they are made.
On your next Japanese adventure, be sure and visit the Tsukiji Fish Market. Take time to roam the outer market and you will find many Tsukudani shops. Tsukudani is a wonderful comfort food!
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