Shiokara: Varieties and How to Eat the Chinmi
“Shiokara (塩辛)” is a Japanese food delicacy or “Chinmi (珍味)”. It is made of raw fish or fish guts pickled in salt and fermented by enzymes or microorganisms that the seafood itself has.
Shiokara can be preserved for a long time as the Chinmi has a high salt concentration. Although it looks bizarre, many Japanese like eating the fermented seafood with a bowl of white rice at meals.
Since the plain taste can make the distinctive salty taste of Shiokara thin and weak, steamed 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; conventional and simplified.
The ones produced by the conventional method can be kept at room temperature because they have a high salt concentration.
On the other hand, the ones 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: Shiokara using squid)
Most Japanese people associate Shiokara with “Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛: Shiokara using squid)“. But other than Ika no Shiokara, there are many varieties of Shiokara using various kinds of seafood.
Below 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 sweet shrimp. This product is probably made by a simplified method because it needs to be stored below 10 degrees 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)|
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 fermented seafood.
Ochazuke is a Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of a bowl of white rice entirely soaked in green tea, which is usually garnished with salty or savory toppings. If you want to know more about Ochazuke, this article will help.
Butter and Shiokara RiceImage: cookpad.com
In addition to Ochazuke, Shiokara also pairs well with butter, for, like rice, butter can make the saltiness of Shiokara thin and weak. Besides, butter imparts depth to the taste of Shiokara.
Other Recommended Ways
- Shiokara is recommended as the main ingredient for pasta dishes. In fact, some Japanese home cooks like to make pasta using it.
- Shiokara and natto (fermented soybeans) are actually a must-try combination.
- I also recommend combining Shiokara with fresh vegetables.