Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Shirasu Tiny Dried Sardines


Had a very northeast Asian dinner last night. Besides the kimchi and kkakdugi (radish kimchi), I also prepared a little stir-fried shirasu (dried baby sardines in Japanese cuisine, but smaller than niboshi). The humble nature of this meal--small fry and fermented veggies--gives me a certain satisfaction. Doesn't mean it's not super flavorful, though!

I had shirasu a fair amount growing up at my grandmother's, though just plain (dried and salted, as they come in the package) on rice. Salty savory goodness.

Here's a handy link describing niboshi, shirasu, chirimen-jako, and iriko, all dried small sardines of varying size and dryness.

Or are they anchovies? There seems to be some confusion about this...anyone know for sure?

There's also an analogous dried baby anchovy/sardine in Korean cuisine called myeolchi. And when you stir-fry it, the dish is called myeolchi-bokkeum.

Here's the spicy-sweet-savory stir-fry I did:


Spicy Sweet Shirasu Stir-Fry

4 oz. shirasu
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, sliced or minced
4-6 Chinese dried peppers, cut in half, seeds shaken out (called tien tsin peppers by some transliteration? In any case, the kind you see in your gongbao/kungpao chicken dish)

sauce
1 TBS soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 TBS rice wine

  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet or wok over medium heat until it flows quickly over the surface. Add sliced shallot, garlic, and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant and beginning to brown.
  3. Add shirasu to the pan/wok and pour sauce over everything. Stir-fry to distribute the sauce evenly, and continue cooking until the sauce has dried out. Remove from pan/wok and serve over freshly steamed rice.

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