Archive for ‘fish’

April 18th, 2012

Breakfast in America

Could we have kippers for breakfast

Mummy dear, Mummy dear Supertramp may have inspired me to try kippers, but my husband’s love of deli breakfasts made it all possible…

You have no idea of my joy and excitement when I found out what kippers were and how frequently they were on the menu at local Jewish delis.  You see, I grew up eating kippers.  My mother cooks a really good kipper dish, which I always asks her to make when I go home to visit. In Japanese, kippers are called nishin.  My absolute favorite way to have it is by soaking dried kippers in water overnight, then cooking them in a soy sauce based broth until they’re tender.

When you travel to Japan, check the menu for migaki nishin.  It’s not as popular as sushi, still, I highly recommend that you try it. It’s usually served on warm soba noodles, but at home, I just eat it with rice.
“Boy, you are courageous”.  a veteran waitress told me when I ordered kippers at a Jewish deli in L.A..  I guess it’s not the most popular item for breakfast in America, but those like me, who do enjoy them, experience a delicious buttery, salty sensation.

My kippers were served alongside sauteed onions, potatoes, and eggs.   If they had come with a side of rice, I may had experienced the perfect breakfast.  Finally, it pays off to be married to a Jewish guy with an unhealthy obsession with breakfast.

January 26th, 2012

Fish bits

My husband doesn’t like seafood, but at least, he always tries.  He finds a few things here and there that he doesn’t mind , with ‘doesn’t mind’ meaning he wouldn’t go as far as saying he likes it nor would he order it by choice.

I noticed that most American fish dishes are fillets, so not only my husband, but also many of my sushi loving American friends are not big fans of seeing an entire fish on a plate, head and all! For Japanese people, ordering fish and receiving an actual, entire ‘swim ready’ fish is as normal as getting a pizza with pepperoni on it.I have news for you.  If you think an entire fish is disgusting, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Let’s take a look at what I ate lately.
Mentaiko, spicy cod roe, is a Japanese favorite. As a matter of fact this is always on top of our “what do you want to eat with rice?” list.  It’s kind of like cod roe kimchi without the pungent smell, and it makes both a great pasta sauce and fantastic drinking food.We don’t discriminate when it comes to odd fish parts.  Besides eggs, we’ll gladly eat fish milt as well.  Even better is cod milt, shirako grilled on a bamboo leaf.  Its cheese-like, creamy texture melts in your mouth and can be better than foie gras.

Speaking of liver, this is ankimo, which is a monk fish liver, salted, steamed, cut and served in ponzu.  American sushi places started serving this over the last few years or so.  Believe it or not, it’s actually a seasonal thing and best between November and February when water is cold and livers gets fat.  Just like foie gras, it’s basically fat…creamy, delicious fat.

If my husband reads this, I think he’ll dislike seafood even more.  He’s barely past fish and chips.  Oh well, one step forward, ten steps back.

July 29th, 2011

Fish out of water

Why did it take getting married for a Japanese girl to learn about Japanese culture?  What did I learn?  Well, for starters, our diet depends heavily on fish.  We eat fish for breakfast, bring fish to work for lunch, and, you guessed it, fish for dinner.  We use fish stock and eat fish raw, grilled, dried, fried, and even fermented.  If that weren’t enough, we even eat fish as snacks.  IWith that in mind, imagine my fish-phobic American husband’s horror when my father offered him a fish snack the very first time when they met.  My husband understands the honor code of Japan, if you are offered something, you take it and (pretend to) enjoy it.  Since that first meeting, my husband has tried many varieties of fish,  and has even found a few fish items that he likes tolerates (still not including fish snacks).Hawaii, as you know, is a beautiful island.  And, Hawaiians too, eat a lot of fish.  We spent our honeymoon there, and maybe as an act of love, my husband started to eat fish at least once per day while we are there. That’s quite an effort for a guy who needs to be forced to eat fish one or two times a year.  His reasoning?  On an island, the fish has to be fresh, which means, none of that annoying fishy smell.  Unfortunately, I agree with my husband on the smelly part, as many of the dishes at seafood restaurants in America do indeed smell.

We have a simple deal.  If the fish isn’t fresh tasting, I will resist my urge to make him try it.  So when I think there’s a chance of finding the freshest stuff, of course, we have to try it.  This was the case on our recent vacation to the Big Island, where we were thrilled to find a well-reviewed a food truck hat served only the freshest stuff.  Although it’s a truck, it is permanently parked on a lot next to a small fish market (which doesn’t smell) and seating was simply a few patio tables and chairs under a blue plastic tarp.  Imagine the exact opposite of a chain restaurant, complete with a vintage looking handwritten menu on the truck.  To order, you simply choose a fish and the way you want it prepared, and the owner herself, Dee Dee, cooks it right there for you.We picked Mahi Mahi, popular Hawaiian fish, known for its flaky meat like texture.  As I hoped, the fish was very fresh and tasty, which I could have told you without tasting a bite.  How?  My husband actually finished his first and to confirm its freshness, asked Dee Dee how long ago his meal was actually swimming in the ocean.  This morning,” she replied with a straight face.  Even though the dish was simply prepared (lightly breaded and fried), I would have a hard time duplicating it as I’d have to
1) move to Hawaii;
2) go to a dock to buy fish or
3) go fishing myself.
As I have no plan of moving to Hawaii, or waking up at 4AM, the only option I have left is to visit Hawaii as much as possible in attempt to convert my husband into a regular fish eater.  Who knows, with any luck, one day, he’ll be munching on fish snacks with my dad.