Shiokara : The Variety and The Eating Manner

Have you ever eaten or heard of “Shiokara (塩辛)”?

Shiokara (塩辛)

Shiokara is the salted fermented seafood unique to Japan. It is made by pickling raw fish or fish guts in salt and getting the salted seafood fermented by the enzyme and microorganisms that the food material itself has.

The preservative quality of Shiokara is high as the Japanese food has a high salt concentration.

Although Shiokara looks bizarre, many Japanese like eating the fermented seafood with steamed plain rice at meals.

In fact, since the plain taste of rice makes the distinctive salty taste of Shiokara thinner and weaker, plain white rice goes perfectly with Shiokara.

Shiokara is a traditional Japanese food with over a thousand years of history and in modern times there are two types of making methods, that is, the traditional one and the simplified one.

The Shiokara produced by the traditional method can be kept at room temperature because they have a high salt concentration, while the ones made by the simplified method usually need to be preserved below 10 degrees because they are made using less salt.

The Variety

Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛 : salted fermented squid guts)

Ika no Shiokara

Most Japanese associate Shiokara with salted fermented squid “Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛)“. But other than Ika no Shiokara, actually there are many varieties of Shiokara made using various kinds of seafood. Here are some examples.

Shiokara Varieties
Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛), 260g The main ingredient is squid. This product is probably made by a simplified method because it should be preserved below 10 degrees. (Amazon.co.jp)
Ama-Ebi Shiokara (甘エビ塩辛), 200g The main ingredient is deep-water shrimps. This product is probably made by a simplified method because it should be preserved below 10 degrees. (Amazon.co.jp)
Salmon Shiokara (サーモン塩辛), 200g The main ingredient is salmon. This product is probably made by a simplified method because it should be preserved below 10 degrees. (Amazon.co.jp)
Kaki no Shiokara (牡蠣の塩辛), 70g The main ingredient is oyster. This product is probably made by a simplified method because it should be preserved below 10 degrees. (Amazon.co.jp)

How to Eat Shiokara

Ochazuke (お茶漬け)

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Image : FC2blog dt125kazuo

As I wrote above, many Japanese like to eat Shiokara with plain white rice, and we sometimes make “Ochazuke (お茶漬け)” with the salted fermented seafood.

Ochazuke is a Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of steamed plain rice entirely soaked in green tea. If you want to know how to make Ochazuke, this article will help.

Butter and Shiokara Rice

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Image : cookpad.com

In addition to Ochazuke, Shiokara also works really well with butter because butter can make the salty taste of Shiokara thinner and weaker and imparts depth to the flavor of Shiokara.

Other Recommended Ways of Eating Shiokara

  • Shiokara is recommended as a main ingredient for pasta dishes. In fact, some Japanese home cooks like to make pasta using the fermented food
  • The salted fermented seafood unexpectedly matches well with Natto fermented soy beans
  • I recommend eating Shiokara with fresh vegetables

Tomo

Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

2 Responses

  1. February 26, 2017

    […] can know more about ‘Shiokara‘ and ‘Kamameshi‘ in my past […]

  2. June 18, 2017

    […] Shiokara is a fermented food that is made from salted fish or its guts without heating.The Japanese delicacy looks bizarre but tastes good.Shiokara is also salty so we eat a small piece of Shiokara with white rice.I wrote about Shiokara in the past. […]

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