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iriko - recipe to make a seasoned fish?

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I am looking for some advise or recipe to turn iriko - dried, tiny anchovies- into a prepared seasoned dish that is commonly available in Japanese markets. The dried fish is clearly simmered in some sort of soy sauce, sugar or mirin, and something vaguely spicey, sprinkled with sesame seeds. I had it like that and in a dish which included toasted walnuts and perhaps a little hijiki. My first attempt, simmering in japanese soy sauce, sugar, mirin with a few dried chiles resulted in the right texture but way too salty and not sweet enough - I need suggestions on the ingredients, right proportions and cooking methods.
My apologies to those who care for posting this question first on the international board - I can suggest a really good, and pretty cheap, nouvelle Japanese restaurant in Kyoto if anyone is interested.
Thanks for any and all suggestions.
Paula

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  1. Let me give you a classical recipe for "tazukuri" which is an integral part of "osechi ryori", the food served on New Year`s Day. I have made this several times. Have not added walnuts, but imagine it would be great as you find them pre-packaged like that. However, would suggest NOT doing hijiki with the fish. Hijiki is too moist and would not do well in the classic recipe. You could explore though...

    OK, classic method:

    100 grams dried mini sardines
    4 Tablespoons sugar
    4 Tablespoons mirin
    4 Tablespoons soy sauce
    3 Tablespoons sake

    In a dry pan, over low heat, toss the fish until they become crisp. Be careful not to burn the fish. They should make a snapping sound when you break it in half. This gives it the roasty "kobashi" taste.

    Leave to cool on a paper towel.

    In the pan, combine the sugar, mirin and soy sauce. Cook over medium heat until it becomes thick and syrupy.

    Add the fish and toss lightly.

    Add the sake to the pan and toss lightly.

    KEY POINT HERE: Transfer the fish to a lightly oiled bowl. If you do not, the syrupy fish will stick to the pan.

    Allow to cool and voila!

    Imagine you could do the same by adding the walnuts along with the fish.

    Very healthy snack, rich in calcium.

    Happy Eating!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Yukari

      oooh... I was hoping that you would answer this one. I have pasted the recipe in my file and it will get made soon.

      Gochiso-sama!

      1. re: applehome

        If you are interested, there is also a recipe to do this in the microwave. I am happy to post it if you are curious. I do not own a microwave so have not personally tried it, but it looks like it may just work.

        Feel free to email me directly if you have problems with the recipe.

        1. re: Yukari

          I would love to have the microwave recipe. The recipe posted by Yukari - thank you very much- looks excellent and I will try it tommorrow - but I find it never hurts to know more than one approach. Yukari's suggestion about dry roasting the fish seems exactly right - I was aware of a toasted taste which I ascribed to the walnuts. I think you must be correct about the hijiki, it would cause the fish to get soft.
          The version I had in Japan had some sesame seeds in it as well as the walnuts.
          Since my son's girlfriend's mother brought me these fish from Japan, and since the girlfriend is coming to dinner this Saturday I thank you the speedy posting.

          1. re: paula

            Microwave recipe - remember, I have not tried this. Would love to hear your thoughts on it. This recipe comes with sesame seeds!

            50 grams dried fish
            4 teaspoons sugar
            2 teaspoons soy sauce
            1 Tablespoon sake
            1 Tablespoon water
            toasted white sesame seeds

            Please work with me on the directions as they are in Japanese. I hope this works!

            Briefly rinse the fish in water. (I don`t understand this as it is quite opposed to the other recipe. But then again, I don`t cook with a microwave.) The amount of water you use is not part of the above recipe.

            In a wide, shallow dish, spread out the fish and cover with plastic wrap. Cook in the microwave. Directions are to steam them in the microwave. (It says up to 4 minutes, but I think the Japanese microwave ovens are not as powerful as what I am used to in the states.)

            In another bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, sake and water. Cover with plastic wrap and heat in microwave, for three minutes. (Again, watch and see what you think of the results.)

            Combine the fish and the sauce. The recipe says to lay it out on aluminum foil and to top with sesame seeds. I would consider lightly oiling the foil to prevent it from sticking.

            Voila - there you have it. Keep me posted!

      2. re: Yukari

        From a new Chowhound, thank you very much for sharing this recipe for seasoned iriko. Have made the iriko recipe twice with delicious results. Adjusted the sugar and mirin the second time to suit my taste. I especially like the tender crisp texture and toasty flavor resulting from the dry fry step. Your KEY POINT HERE tip is well taken and insures a happy ending to cooking seasoned iriko, which by the way and you might already know this, goes well with cold beer. Gochisosama-deshita.

      3. Hi Paula,
        This is a Koren recipe but it should help you a bit; I have not yet tried it yet but intend to, so I had saved it:

        Fried Dried Anchovies 'Myolchi Pokkum'
        2 cups dried anchovies
        1/4 cup cooking oil
        1/4 cup soy sauce
        1 T sugar
        2 T sesame seeds
        MSG if desired
        Wash anchovies and drain well.
        Mix with oil and fry for 3 minutes
        Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 2 minutes more
        These are eaten in small quantities as one of a number of side dishes in Korea. Dried squid shredded may also be prepared this way.

        Book title: Lee Wade's Korean Cookery, edited by Joan Rutt and Sandra Mattielli, publisher Hollym, Copyright 1985

        Link: http://www.hollym.co.kr