Shiokara : The Variety and The Eating Manner
Have you ever eaten or heard of “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.
Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛 : salted fermented squid guts)
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.
|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
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
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