Shiokara: The Variety and Eating Manner of the Chinmi
Have you ever eaten or heard of “Shiokara (塩辛)”?
Shiokara is the salted fermented seafood that is known as a Japanese food delicacy “Chinmi (珍味)”. It is made by pickling raw fish or fish guts in salt and getting the salted seafood fermented by the enzymes and microorganisms that the food itself has.
Shiokara can be preserved for a long time 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 can make the distinctive salty taste of Shiokara thinner and weaker, plain white rice goes perfectly with the processed seafood.
Shiokara is a traditional Japanese food with over a thousand years of history and in modern times it can be made by 2 different 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 stored below 10 degrees Celsius because they are made using less salt.
Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛 : salted fermented squid guts)
Most Japanese people associate Shiokara with the salted fermented squid called “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 needs to be stored below 10 degrees Celsius. (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 needs to be stored below 10 degree Celsius. (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 needs to be stored below 10 degrees Celsius. (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 needs to be stored below 10 degrees Celsius. (Amazon.co.jp)|
How to Eat Shiokara
Ochazuke (お茶漬け)Image: FC2blog dt125kazuo
As I mentioned 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 common Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of steamed plain rice entirely soaked in green tea which is usually topped with salty or savory foods. If you want to know more about Ochazuke, this article will help.
Butter and Shiokara RiceImage: cookpad.com
In addition to Ochazuke, Shiokara also works especially well with butter, since, like rice, butter can make the saltiness of Shiokara thinner and weaker and impart depth to the taste of Shiokara.
Other Recommended Ways
- 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 also recommend eating Shiokara with fresh vegetables