Chikuwa (ちくわ) – History, Recipes and Stores

Japanese traditional food is all the time famous for his or her mouthwatering fish dishes corresponding to sushi (寿司), sashimi (刺身), hitsumabushi (ひつまぶし), etc. With the creativity of Japanese people, they’ve created so many differing kinds of dishes from fish and every one has its own unique taste. Amongst these, have you ever ever heard of Chikuwa? Today, we would love to introduce about this dish to search out out what makes it so favoured!

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What’s Chikuwa?

Chikuwa is a sort of Japanese traditional fishcake made by wrapping surimi (すり身) with seasonings around a bamboo stick and steaming or broiling it. Chikuwa is commonly used as ingredient in oden (おでん), udon (うどん), game-ni (がめ煮), chirashi sushi (ちらし寿司), yasai-itame (野菜炒め) – stir fry vegetables, etc. Furthermore, there are also many Chikuwa products corresponding to cheese Chikuwa, Chikuwa bread, Chikuwa salad,… which can be easy to search out at convenient stores, restaurants or supermarket.

Chikuwabu is one other term refers to food product that is usually mistaken with chikuwa. Chikuwabu is wheat-based Japanese food item that is commonly utilized in oden. You’ll be able to easily find it at convenient stores and specialty stores all across Japan.

What’s surimi (すり身)?
Surimi is paste constituted of fish. As surimi is accessible in lots of forms, shapes and textures, surimi is broadly used as raw materials for Japanese dishes corresponding to Kamaboko (蒲鉾), Chikuwa (ちくわ), Satsuma-age (さつま揚げ),… Beside the favored dishes, surimi also appears in local cuisine and soup (Tsumire soup). Meanwhile, in Europe and United States, crab-flavored and lobster-flavored surimi are favourite products and are actually indispensable ingredients for salads and sandwiches. Because the result, the consumption of those products are increasing in Europe and United States market.

Health info

Nutrients per 100g

The nutrients in Chikuwa differs depending on the alternative of raw fish and producing method. Let’s take a take a look at the principal nutrients of grilled chikuwa listed within the Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan 2015 (Seventh revised edition) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT):

Nutrients of grilled chikuwa (per 100g)
Energy 121 kcal
Protein 12.2g
Fat 2g
Carb 13.5g
Calcium 15mg
Iron 1mg
Salt 2.1g

Because chikuwa’s principal ingredient is white fish (to make sumiri), it is comparatively low in fat and high in protein. Nonetheless, since salt is mixed in to make the paste, the quantity of salt is kind of high.

Use chikuwa as an alternative of protein bars

With individuals who exercises and are happening a eating regimen, have a healthy and well-balanced meal is actually necessary. They need to take great care to not fall into protein deficiency. Due to this fact, these people need to pay atten to food that may provide protein corresponding to meat, fish, soy products, eggs. One solution is protein bars that are in type of snaks or jelly drinks so that folks can easily buy and carry them anywhere.

As chikuwa is constituted of fish, it’s considered one of the food which you could soak up protein. If you desire to use chikuwa as an alternative of protein bars, let’s take note that chikuwa has a lower energy content and will be efficiently ingested with protein. Nonetheless, the quantity of salt is more 6 times than a protein bar so when you eat it too often, you’ll lead to taking in an excessive amount of salt. Due to this fact, in case you desire to complement protein with chikuwa, don’t forget to cut back the salt amount intake out of your eating regimen.

History of Chikuwa

Chikuwa is definitely considered one of the ingredients with the oldest history. When talking in regards to the history of it, additionally it is crucial to say “kamaboko”. There are numerous theory in regards to the origin of kamaboko, but in “Ruijuzoyosho”, an ancient book from the Heian period, there are traces of “kamaboko” and a dish just like chikuwa. In keeping with the image within the book, mashed fish was grilled on a bamboo stick and seved as considered one of the fish dishes. Because of this, the food called “kamaboko” has existed since precedent days. After that, references to kamaboko have been confirmed in documents from the Muromachi period. In keeping with the documents, surimi of fish wrapped around a bamboo stick and roasted over a fireplace was name “kamaboko” since it resembled to the “gama-no-ho” (蒲の穂) plant.

During that point, kamaboko was a luxury dish and was mainly eaten by aristocrats. Nonetheless, as time passes by, the item luxury progressively modified and from the Edo period, even strange people could eat it. Over the long period of history, a wide range of food products using minced fish appeared so the name “chikuwa” was born to dishtinguish from the unique kamaboko. Chikuwa (竹輪 ちくわ) means “bamboo ring”, it’s so called since it resembles the cut end of a bamboo stalk. The truth is, “kamaboko” that was mentioned within the history is the prototype of chikuwa that we all know today.

Various varieties of Chikuwa

Kinds of Chikuwa

Chikuwa will be broadly divided into raw chikuwa and grilled chikuwa.

Chikuwa (ちくわ)

Raw chikuwa

This sort is thin and short with a dark brown color in the middle and white color at the top. The fish used as raw materials are Alaska pollock and golden threadfin bream. These fishes are safe to eat raw so you may eat chikuwa as-is or use for salads.

Grilled chikuwa

This sort one is thick and long and is principally used for simmered dishes and oden. Along with Alaska pollock and threadfin bream, people also use horse mackerel as raw materials.

Popular regional chikuwa

Although chikuwa is known throughout Japan, there are some regions with their unique chikuwa which you could not find anywhere else. Let’s go and discover what’s interesting in regards to the regional chikuwa!

Tofu chikuwa

Tofu chikuwa

It is a special product of Tottori Prefecture with the weird material combination of momen tofu and white fish meat in a ratio of seven:3. As an alternative of grilling, tofu chikuwa is steamed so this dish is exclusive by its white appearance. In comparison with others, Tottori products is wealthy in protein and low in calories.

Ago-chikuwa

One other special product of Tottori prefecture constituted of chikuwa. In Japanese, “Ago” is the dialect around Nagasaki and it means flying fish, the seasonal fish of June and July. Ago-dashi is dashi from dried flying dish and this dashi has a refined taste and flavor. This specialty of Tottori is constituted of this ago-dashi and has a firm skin and chewy texture.

Noyaki Chikuwa

Ago Noyaki Chikuwa (アゴ野焼きちくわ) from Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture is a high-class chikuwa constituted of “ago” that we just mentioned above. Ago chikuwa is commonly thicker than regular chikuwa and is characterised by grilled marks all around the chikuwa.

Take Chikuwa

Take Chikuwa

Take Chikuwa is favourite cuisine in Tokushima prefecture. This product is grilled with minced fish meat on a brief bamboo stick and is sold without removing the bamboo stick. The dishtinguishable characteristic of Take Chikuwa is to carry the stick and eat as-is. It’s also perfect as cocktail snack with the amazing texture.

Shrimp Chikuwa

Shrimp Chikuwa

Shrimp Chikuwa is specialty of Ehime Prefecture which has the unique pink color and thick texture. The principal ingredients of shrimp chikuwa is homemade tofu, minced white fish and shrimp from Setouchi area. It is strongly recommended to eat it with wasabi or soy sauce. As well as, you may also use it as ingredients for miso soup.

Botan Chikuwa

Botan Chikuwa (牡丹ちくわ) means peony chikuwa and is produced only in Aomori prefecture. Using a special method, the pattern in botan chikuwa is analogous to the petals of peony flower. Because of this, this specialty from Aomori known as “Botan Chikuwa”.

The way to make Chikuwa?

As Chikuwa is a preferred dish and you’ll find it at convenient stores or supermarket, it would be a more interesting experience to make it by yourself. You’ll be able to make it to eat it as-is or use as ingredients for oden, nimono, etc.

Recipe

Ingredients
White fish (sea bream and cod) 300g
Salt 3g
Frozen egg white
Sugar 9g
Starch 9g
Ice 3 pieces
Sake 1/2 tbsp
Other ingedients
Cucumber
Cheese
Carrots

The way to make Chikuwa?

Preparing the fish

  • Remove the bones and skin from the fish. Be certain that there isn’t any bone left.
  • Cut the cod fish into 3cm squares.
  • Mix the ocean bream and small pieces of cod together.
  • Wash quickly with ice water to do away with fish oil smell after which drain the water with a sieve.
  • Take the fish out of water and put right into a tray. Cover with paper to remove the water.
  • Wrap the fish by the wrapper and keep the tray within the freezer.

Making the surimi

  • Put the half-frozen sea bream and cod into the food processor.
  • Add salt, frozen egg white, sugar, potato starch and three ice cubes. Remember to make use of the food processor that may cut ices.
  • Switch the food processor on and use a pulse function and repeat 2-3 times until the feel is smooth.
  • Finally, add sake to regulate the firmness in order that it would be easier to wrap arounf the bamboo later. Surimi is now complete!

Wrapping and grilling the chikuwa

  • Take out 1/3 if the surimi and place on a flat surface.
  • Stretch it right into a rectangle with the length of about 10cm. Make the thickness as flat as possible.
  • Place a bamboo stick on the sting of the surimi and wrap it across the bamboo. Watch out to not make the surimi peeled off.
  • Wet you fingers and shape the Chikuwa.
  • Grill the chikuwa slowly and rotate the bamboo little by little in order that the chikuwa brown nicely. When the chikuwa turns into an exquisite baked color, let it cools down for some time.

Serving

When the chikuwa cools down, you have got finished the dish! Remove the bamboo stick or simply eat as-is with the bamboo stick when you like. Itadakimasu!

Stores and Restaurants

Making and having fun with chikuwa at home seems fun. But when you should not have enough confidence in your cooking skills, or it’s just you might be too busy for making it on your personal, it will be an awesome idea to search out some stores where you may rely and stop by in your way home to purchase some chikuwa.

Yamasa Chikuwa (やまさちくわ)

Chikuwa (ちくわ)

Yamasa Chikuwa’s principal store is in Uomachi, Toyohashi city, which was once a vigorous fish market. Starting as a fish wholesaler when founded, Yamasa Chikuwa now becomes a preferred stores where you’ll find a wide selection of products like chikuwa and kamaboko. Especially, the principal store has a limited item called “Yakikamoboko with scallops” which accommodates loads of fresh scallop. Beside chikuwa, we also recommend you are attempting this product for once because the amazing taste will last long in your mind.

Address: 97 Uomachi, Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture
Phone number: +81 532-53-2211
Opening hours: 7:00-20:00 (open day by day)
Website: https://yamasa.chikuwa.co.jp/

Surimiya (すりみや)

Surimiya is a Japanese restaurant that sells nabe (Japanese style hot pot) and oden. There are quite a lot of amazing dishes corresponding to oden, satsuma-age and chikuwa. The soup is nice and mix thoroughly with the freshly grilled chikuwa. Should you want an enjoyable dinner with family and friends, this could be a extremely nice alternative.

Address: 1-3-1, Kandasudacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Phone number: +81 3-3526-6647
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday: 11:30 – 14:00(L.O.14:00);
17:00 – 22:30(L.O.21:30, Drink L.O. 22:00)
Saturday: 1:30 – 14:00(L.O.13:30, Drink L.O. 13:30)
16:00 – 22:00(L.O.21:00, Drink L.O. 21:30)
(Close on Sunday and holiday)

Chimura – Motoucho principal store (ちむら 元魚町本店)

Chikuwa (ちくわ)

That is the principal store of Tottori Chimura that sells tofu chikuwa – specialty of Tottori prefecture. Motoucho has a protracted history and that is where you may benefit from the real-taste of Tottori tofu chikuwa. Beside the food, the restaurant also serve drinks corresponding to beer, sake or tea. There are also some stores of Chimura in Tottori. You’ll be able to access the web site and where probably the most convenient restaurant to go and luxuriate in!

Address: 3 Chome-223 Motouomachi, Tottori
Phone number: +81 857-22-3825
Opening hours: 10:00-16:00 (close on Sunday)
Website: https://www.toufuchikuwa.com/

Tora-ya kamaboko (とらや蒲鉾店)

Chikuwa (ちくわ)

Founded in 1969, Toraya made and sold chikuwa at Hinagu onsen, Kumamoto Prefecture. The shop becomes increasingly more popular and eventually turns right into a specialy “Hinagu Chikuwa”. Until now, Toraya remains to be a preferred store where you may benefit from the special chikuwa from Kumamoto. Should you get a probability to come back to Yatsushiro city, don’t forget to come back over here!

Address: 327 Hinagu Uenishicho, Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Phone number: +81 965-38-0179
Opening hours: 7:00-19:00 (open day by day)
Website: https://www.tora-ya.net/

Takeaway

As Japanese traditional fish cake, chikuwa is popular throughout Japan in addition to overseas. It’s utilized in quite a lot of dishes as oden, nabe, yasai-itame and so forth. Chikuwa is just an easy dish but the great taste of it’s undeniable. How about stopping by a store, buying some chikuwa for yourself and putting it into your udon? That’s so amazing experience for a chilly winter day!

If you desire to discover more about Japanese fish cake, click here to get details about Kamaboko.

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