Japan’s Most Challenging Food

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Chinmi. I am not a fan, not one bit. But my husband, Shinji, loves having some type of chinmi in the fridge at all times. Usually we have one or two types, but we recently traveled and Shinji picked up some along the way. Chinmi is fermented seafood, often including the guts or other parts of seafood like the liver. It is very intense and one only needs to eat a little bit of this when sipping on saké. But even if I am drunk on saké I have a hard time swallowing this. We did a tasting recently. Well, Shinji did a tasting and I took a tiny bit of each. Remember, although I was born in Tokyo, I grew up in Minnesota and this is as foreign to me as it is for many overseas guests.

Saba shiokara. Pacific mackerel is super salty, you can taste the crystals, of what surely must be salt. There are small pieces of the filet, making this the most appealing by appearance. We picked this up on a recent trip to Tottori to Sakai Minato port.

http://shop.sakaiminato.net/product.cgi?no=255

Aka Hoya. Red sea squirt is very chewy and a little funky. While it is called red, the color is a bright orange and the aftertaste lingers, way too long, and not in a pleasant way.

http://shop.shizengumi.net/?page_id=878

Surumeika koji zuke. Koji-fermented squid was my favorite of all in this tasting. It is slightly sweet, and has the texture of koji, meaning tiny bits of softened rice. We picked this up from Sakai Minato port on a recent trip to Tottori. I would have this again. You gotta love how the website suggests serving suggestions, like on crackers with cheese. That would make it even easier to eat.
Katsuo shuto. Fermented skipjack tuna innards. This is one of the most famous types of chinmi that is from Odawara, just south of Tokyo. It is rich in umami and has a thin chewy texture, like chewing on a balloon. This is one of the more easier chinmi, meaning it is palatable, if you are drinking a lot of saké.
English website for this product:

Awabi Toshiro. The liver of the abalone made the biggest impression. My notes from the tasting are as follows, “Will not go back there, ever, even if I am drunk.”

Ayu no uruka. Ayu is a freshwater sweet fish that is gorgeous when simply salted and grilled. However, this 3-year fermented chinmi is super salty, creamy, gross, way too funky. I come back to this word as nothing else comes to mind. Why would anyone eve think to eat this? Seriously…
It was the worst food tasting I have ever done in my life. Nothing will top this. We found two that I like and will have again. Hopefully none of these others will be in our fridge again.

All-You-Can Drink Warayakiya わらやき屋

Searing katsuo over straw

Searing katsuo over straw

Tokyo is filled with many nomihōdai, all-you-can drink spots. Restaurants offer different set menus with a selection of beverages and a time limit. These are fun gathering spots when getting together with friends. Recently we had a reunion and the nomihōdai restaurants are fun. The staff at the restaurant bring out the different courses while refilling your drink order. These spots tend to be very boisterous. Some have private rooms if you prefer that.

Warayakiya, near Shinjuku station, specializes in seared katsuo, skipjack tuna, seared over straw. Wara means straw and yaki means to grill. Warayaki-ya is a store that grills food over straw. The firing of the katsuo is done behind a glass window. The firing is very dramatic and the smell of burning straw wafts throughout the restaurant.

Katsuo tataki - seared katsuo

Katsuo tataki – seared katsuo

The katsuo is cut extra thick and served with salt instead of the usual soy sauce. Wasabi, ginger, garlic, daikon sprouts, or thinly sliced onions are garnishes that spice up the dish.

We did a seven course dinner with beverages for two hours. The usual price is 5,000 JPY but there was a promotion so that the meal was 4,000 JPY.  Beverages included beer, shochu, sake, and cocktails. Some of the other dishes included grilled shrimp and tempura sweet potatoes.

Warayakiya has branches in Roppongi, Akasaka, Ginza, and Shinagawa to name a few locations. For the money it was better than many nomihōdai spots. We enjoyed it and I would go back again. It’s a popular restaurant, so be sure to call ahead for reservations.

Warayakiya Shinjuku Sanchome

Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-15-11, Ad Hoc Shinjuku Bldg. 8F

www.diamond-dining.com/shops/warayakiya/

October Seasonal Seafood

sanma

At Tsukiji Market we are seeing many autumn seafood like oysters, wakasagi for deep-frying, and finally sanma for grilling with salt. Some of our favorite sashimi this time of year include katsuo, isaki, and if you get a kawahagi with a big liver we will mix the liver with soy sauce and dip the sashimi in the creamy mixture. Many of the fishy fish like saba, iwashi, and aji are in abundance.

Akagarei 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)        

Amadai 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicas)

Ayu 鮎 sweet fish (Plecoglossus altivelis)

Bora flathead mullet or Gray mullet (Mugil cephalus)               

Chidai 血鯛 crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Hon kamasu 本カマス barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)       

Hon kawahagi 本皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)   

Hon shishamo 本ししゃもcapelin or longfin smelt (Spirinchus lanceolatus)

Ibodai疣鯛 Japanese butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)

Isaki 伊佐木threeline grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Itoyori イトヨリgolden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Kaki 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Katsuo  鰹   skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kohada 小鰭   gizzard shad (Konosirus pumctatus)

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)

Maaji 真鯵 horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas)        

Maiwashi  真鰯  sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Masaba真鯖   pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Mebachi maguro 目鉢鮪 bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)

Medai 目鯛 butterfish (Hyperoglyphe japonica)

Mekajikiめかじき swordfish (Xiphias gladius)        

Sanma 秋刀魚 Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Sawara さわら Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Shirosake 白鮭   chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)                              

Sujiko筋子 salmon roe still in the sac                         

Surume ika スルメイカJapanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Tachiuo   太刀魚   cutlassfish or largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus)

Takabe タカベ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Wakasagi 若細魚 Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)                                        

Warasaワラサ yellowtail  (Seriola quinqueradiata)        

Watarigani 渡蟹 swimming crab (Portunus trituberculatus)    

 

Other fish you may see in the market

 

Ainame 鮎魚女fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)                         

Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Asari 浅利 Japanese littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Ayu     ayu or sweet fish ( Plecoglossus altivelis)                

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya ホヤ sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)  

Kinki 黄血魚 thornyhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai or kinme 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)  

Maaji  真鯵  horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas) 

Madai 真鯛 sea bream (Pagurus major)

Makarei 真鰈 Japanese common flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Mebaru 目張 rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Mirugai 海松食 geoduck (Tresus keenae)           

Sazae 栄螺 turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Tairagai 平貝 penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tobiuo 飛魚 flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

Tsubugai   螺貝   whelk (Buccinum undatum)

September Seasonal Japanese Seafood

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Kamasu barracuda

Kamasu and sanma are two fish in season now that we love to simply season with salt and grill.

katsuo sashimi

Katsuo sashimi

Katsuo we love as sashimi, or if we find it in the market seared on the outside (tataki) we’ll cut it into thick slices and garnish with garlic and ginger and serve with the sweet kanrō soy sauce from Kyushu.

Following are other seafood in season in September in Japan.

Amadai 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicas)

Ayu 鮎 sweet fish (Plecoglossus altivelis)

Bora flathead mullet or Gray mullet (Mugil cephalus)    

Chidai 血鯛 crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Hon kamasu 本カマス barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)

Ibodai疣鯛 Japanese butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)

Isaki 伊佐木threeline grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Itoyori イトヨリGolden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Katsuo  鰹   skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kohada 小鰭   gizzard shad (Konosirus pumctatus)

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)

Maaji 真鯵 horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas)        

Masaba真鯖   pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sanma 秋刀魚 Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Shirosake 白鮭   chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Sujiko筋子 salmon roe still in the sac                         

Surume ika スルメイカJapanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Takabe タカベ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Warasaワラサ yellowtail  (Seriola quinqueradiata)        

Watarigani 渡蟹 swimming crab (Portunus trituberculatus)

Other fish you may see in the market

Ainame 鮎魚女fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)                         

Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Asari 浅利 Japanese littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya ホヤ sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Kinki 黄血魚 thornyhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai or kinme 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Makarei 真鰈 Japanese common flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Madai 真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Mirugai 海松食 geoduck (Tresus keenae)

Mebaru 目張 rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Sawara 鰆 Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae 栄螺 turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Tairagai 平貝 penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 belt fish or largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tsubugai   螺貝   whelk (Buccinum undatum)

Tobiuo 飛魚 flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

August Seasonal Japanese Seafood

 

katsuo

Katsuo tataki

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Katsuo sashimi topped with myoga, shiso, and garlic

Den17

Katsuo as done by chef Zaiyu Hasegawa at Den

Look for seafood from this list when eating out in Japan or in the supermarkets or at your fishmonger. Most of the seafood listed here you can enjoy as sushi or sashimi. At home we like to have tachiuo as sashimi with a bit of sesame oil and sea salt. Ayu is best salted and grilled. And while we don’t cook hamo at home we look forward to having it out at restaurants, especially with a bainiku (umeboshi) dressing. At home we often have katsuo topped with lots of yakumi like shiso, myōga, and garlic then dress it with a soy sauce and sesame oil dressing. Katsuo can be bought raw or seared on the outside as tataki).

Ayu 鮎  sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Dojou 泥鰌 loach (Misgurnus Anguillicaudatus)

Hamo   pike eel or pike conger (Muraenesox cinereus)

Hiramasa 平政 yellowtail amberjack (Seriola lalandi)

Hoya  ほや sea squirt(Halocynthia roretzi)

Inada 鰍 young amberjack (or yellowtail) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Stages of buri: wakashi, inada, warasa, buri

Indo maguro Southern Bluefin tuna 

Isaki 伊佐幾 chicken grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack or yellowtail (Seriola dumerili)

Katsuo 鰹 skipjack tuna (or bonito) (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kensaki ika 剣先烏賊 swordtip squid (Loligo edulis)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kisu 鱚 Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica)*or shirogisu

Kochi 鯒 bartail flathead (Platycephalus)

Koyari ika槍烏賊  baby spear squid (Loligo bleekeri)

Kuruma-ebi 車海老 Japanese tiger prawn (Penaeus (Melicertus) japonicus)

Ma-aji 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Ma-anago 真穴子 whitespotted conger (saltwater eel) (Conger myriaster)

Ma-iwashi 真鰯  Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Managatsuo 真名鰹 silver pomfret (Pampus punctatissimus)

Ma-tako 真蛸  common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)

Nijimasu 虹鱒 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Shiira  しいら 鱪 dorado or mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)

Shima aji  島鯵 striped jack or white trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)

Shinko (Konoshiro) 鰶 dotted gizzard shad (Konosirus punctatus)

Surumei ika するめいか Japanese common squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki すずき 鱸 Japanese sea bass (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚  cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Takabe たかべ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Unagi 鰻 Japanese freshwater eel  (Anguilla japonica)

July Seasonal Japanese Seafood

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Simmered ma-anago

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Seared katsuo

July Sashimi

July sashimi

 

Some of our personal favorites include ayu (salted and grilled), shitabirame (meuniere), shijimi (miso soup), benisake (salted and grilled), and for sashimi – surumeika, kinmedai, takabe, and isaki.

Ainame 鮎並 fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)

Akashita birame 赤舌鮃  red-tongued sole (Cynoglossus joyneri)

Awabi abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)

Ayu 鮎 sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Benisake べにさけ 紅鮭 sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Dojou 泥鰌 loach (Misgurnus Anguillicaudatus)

Hamo   pike eel or pike conger (Muraenesox cinereus)

Inada イナダ young Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Isaki 伊佐幾 chicken grunt  (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Ishidai 石鯛  barred knifejaw (Oplegnathus fasciatus)

Ishimochi イシモチ nibe croaker (Nibea mitsukurii)

Iwana 日光岩魚 whitespotted char (Salvelinus leucomaenis pluvius)

Kamasu 大和叺 barracuda (Sphyraena japonica)

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack or yellowtail (Seriola dumerili)

Katsuo 鰹  skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi 皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kinmedai 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kisu 鱚 Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica)*or shirogisu

Kochi 鯒 bartail flathead (Platycephalus)

Kuro maguro 黒鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Maaji 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Maanago 真穴子 whitespotted conger (Conger myriaster)

Maiwashi 真鰯  Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Makogarei 真子鰈 marbled sole (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Masaba 真鯖 Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Mejimaguro めじまぐろ young tuna (genus Thunnus) if it is a young bluefin tuna it will be called honmeji, if it is a young yellowfin tuna it will be called kinmeji.

Niji masu 虹鱒 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Oni okoze  鬼虎魚 spiny devilfish (Inimicus japonicus)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams or water clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shima aji  島鯵 striped jack or white trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)

Shiro ika 白いか  swordtip squid (Loligo (Photololigo) edulis)* or kensaki ika

Shitabirame 舌平目 (or ushinoshita) four line tongue sole(Arelia bilineat)

Surumeika 鯣烏賊  Japanese common or flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki 鱸  Japanese sea perch (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Takabe たかべ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Tobiuo 飛魚 Japanese flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

Unagi 鰻 Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica)

May Seasonal Japanese Seafood 5月旬の魚

katsuo tataki

The cold waters still bring fish rich with fat that shines in sashimi or is nice for grilling. Asari clams are great for making into a quick vongole style pasta. And perhaps my favorite this time of year is katsuo simply seared on the edges, sliced thickly, and served with some soy sauce and garlic. This time of year, the katsuo is referred to as “hatsu-gatsuo”. Katsuo actually is in season two times a year. This is the first time we see it, hence the name “first katsuo” in Japanese. The meat in the spring is very rich and intense in flavor and is lean without any fat which makes it refreshing. Katsuo tataki is particularly nice if you can garnish it with fresh myoga and dress it with a citrusy ponzu sauce.

Hotate we like as sashimi or cooked meuniere style. Takikomigohan of scallops is also a nice change-up. Mebaru is a light, white fish that is nice as himono. Don’t throw away the head of tai as it is lovely when salted and grilled. Shinji also likes to keep the bones of tai after he has filleted the fish to make a broth. Simply make some kombu dashi, add the bones and simmer for about ten minutes. A delicate broth, but rich with the umami from the fish bones and kombu.

Iwashi (sardines) and isaki (threeline grunt) are just starting to become rich with fat as we approach the rainy season.

Ainame  鮎魚女  Fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii

Akagai 赤貝   Ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii) 

Aoyagi   青柳   Surf clam (Mactra chinensis) 

Asari  浅利   Japanese littleneck clam (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Ayu      Ayu or sweet fish ( Plecoglossus altivelis)

Chidai   血鯛   Crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Ginzake 銀鮭   Silver (Coho) salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutsh )

Hiramasa 平政 Giant amberjack (Seriola lalandi)

Hotate 帆立貝   Scallop  (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya  ホヤ   Sea squirt (Ascidiacea) 

Minami maguro 南鮪 Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) 

Isaki 伊佐木 Threeline grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum )

Ishigarei 石鰈 Stone flounder (Kareius bicoloratus)

Katsuo      Skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Karauni   殻雲丹   Sea urchin (Anthocidaris crassispina)

Kinki 黄血魚   Thorny head (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai 金目鯛   Splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kihada maguro  黄肌鮪   Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) 

Kisu キス Sillago (Sillago japonica)

Kurodai 黒鯛   Japanese black porgy (Acanthopagrus schlegelii)

Okoze 虎魚   Scorpion fish (Lnimicus japonicus(Cuvier))

Maaji  真鯵   Horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas)

Maanago 真穴子 Conger eel (Conger myriaster  )

Madai  真鯛   Red sea bream (Pagurus major)

Maiwashi 真鰯 Sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Mirugai  海松食   geoduck (Tresus keenae)

Mebaru 目張   rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Makogarei   真子かれい   Marbled flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae Gunther)

Mongōika もんごういか   Kisslip cuttlefish (Sepia lycidas) 

Sakura ebi  桜蝦    Sakura shrimp (Sergia lucens)

Sawara      Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae   栄螺   Turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shirauo 白魚   Whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

Shira ebi 白海老   Glass shrimp (Pasiphaea japonica)

Sumiika   墨烏賊   Cuttlefish (Sepia (Platysepia  esculenta Hoyle)

Tairagai   平貝   Pen shell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tachiuo   太刀魚   Belt fish or Largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus Temminck&Schlegel)

Tokisake   時鮭   Young chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Tsubugai   螺貝   Whelk (Buccinum undatum)

Shako   蝦蛄   Mantis shrimp (Oratosquilla oratoria)

Shiro ika 白烏賊 Swordtip squid (Photololigo edulis)

Torigai   鳥貝   Cockle (Fulvia mutica)

 

 

April Seasonal Japanese Seafood 4月旬の鮮魚

uniuni

uni pasta

uni pasta

spring sashimispring sashimi by Shinji Sakamoto

kinme sushi 

kinmedai sushi

Tai Carpaccio

madai carpaccio

Saikyo masu

Saikyo miso marinated honmasu

The cherry blossoms have peaked in Tokyo as the weather has warmed up. This time of year we are seeing the last of the creamy shirako (milt) that we love so much as well as many fish eggs. The nabé hot pot is put on the higher shelf in the kitchen as we are not using it a few times a week as we were just last month. Being married to a Japanese fishmonger we eat a lot of seafood, from our breakfasts, usually with a grilled fish like a salted salmon or a himono (salted and air-dried fish) and seasonal sashimi at dinner. Here are some of our favorite dishes this time of year followed by a list of Japanese seasonal seafood you’ll come across if visiting Japan in April.

There is so much to love about Japanese seafood in spring. In particular, there is a a pink-fleshed kinmedai (splendid alfonsino) that has a supple texture which is spectacular as sashimi or sushi. If you are lucky the sushi chef will just sear it to bring out a unique texture and aroma. Kinmedai is also often served as nitsuké, simmered in a sweet soy broth until just cooked through. In Japan, look for kinmedai from the port of Choshi in Chiba as it is line-caught and harvested in shallow waters so it is rich with fat.

Uni on its own may be hard for some to swallow, but once it is cooked with garlic, olive oil, and tomato paste and topped over pasta it becomes a luxurious lunch. A very easy dish that anyone can whip up in minutes with this recipeKatsuo is in season in the spring and then again in autumn. This time of year it is lean, while in fall it is rich with fat. We love it this time of year as sashimi.

 Madai (sea bream) is available all-year long as it is a commonly farmed fish. But, this time of year we can get wild madai that has a better texture than the farmed fish which can be flabby. We love the wild madai for a simple carpaccio (above) topped with shiso, myōgabenitadé, and chives. Myōga is in the ginger family and adds a fresh pop to the dish, shiso adds a minty aroma, and the benitadé adds a bit of pepper. Shinji also loves the honmasu (cherry salmon) this time of year. Here he marinates it in a sweet Saikyō miso marinade overnight and then grills it.

Most of the Japanese fish names are linked to a photo of the fish.

Ainame  鮎魚女 fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii

 Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

 Aoyagi   青柳  surf clam (Mactra chinensis)

 Asari  浅利  Japanese littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Bora    flathead mullet or gray mullet (Mugil cephalus)

Chidai 血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Chiayu 稚鮎  young ayu or sweet fish (Plecoglossus altivelis)

Honmasu 本鱒 cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou)

Hotaru Ika   蛍烏賊擬   firefly squid  (Enoploteuthis chunii)

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya 海鞘 sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Ishidai  石鯛  black seabream (Oplegnathus fasciatus)

Katsuo   鰹  skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kasago   笠子  scorpion fish (Sebastiscus marmoratus)

karauni  殻雲丹  sea urchin (Anthocidaris crassispina)

Kinki 黄血魚  thorny head (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai 金目鯛 (sometimes called kinme) splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kihada maguro  黄肌鮪   yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kohada  小鰭  gizzard shad (Konosirus pumctatus)

Kurokarei 黒鰈   flounder or black plaice (Pleuronectes obscurus)

Kurodai 黒鯛   Japanese black porgy (Acanthopagrus schlegelii)

Maaji 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Magarei 真鰈 littlemouth flounder (Pleuronectes herzensteini)

Madai  真鯛  sea bream (Pagurus major)

Mategai   真手貝  razor clam (Solen strictus)

Mirugai  海松食   geoduck (Tresus keenae)

Mebaru 目張   rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Nishin     Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Okoze 虎魚   scorpion fish (Inimicus japonicus)

Sakura ebi  桜蝦  sakura shrimp (Sergia lucens)

Sawara    Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sayori   針魚  halfbeak (Hyporhamphus sajori)

Sazae   栄螺   turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shako  蝦蛄  mantis shrimp (Oratosquilla oratoria)

Shirauo 白魚  whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

Shira ebi 白海老 glass shrimp (Pasiphaea japonica)

Sumiika  墨烏賊  cuttlefish (Sepia (Platysepia) esculenta)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tairagai 平貝  pen shell or fan shell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tobiuo 飛魚 Japanese flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

Tokisake 時鮭   young chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Torigai 鳥貝 heart clam (Fulvia mutica)

Tsubugai  つぶ貝 whelk  (Buccinum undatum)

November Seasonal Seafood 11月旬の鮮魚

November Seasonal Sashimi

Monkfish Liver

We love this time of year as the seafood is rich with fat as the waters turn cold. Some of our favorites this time of year is ankou (monkfish), for its meat which we often make in a nabe (hot pot) but also for its liver.

The photo above is of monkfish liver that we made at home. The liver is often sold at supermarkets this time of year. Simply marinate in a bit of salt and sake, roll up in plastic wrap and then foil, steam until cooked through, then chill and slice. Serve with a citrusy soy ponzu and a sprinkle of shichimi (seven spice). Many Japanese gourmands call it the foie gras of the sea, albeit not as rich, so a delicate treat.

We also love sashimi this time of year. The other photo is of kinmedai, wild warasa (young yellowtail), madai, tachiuo, aori ika, and maguro. All are in season this time of year.

Katsuo is lovely seared tataki-style, as sashimi, or even better yet, a sashimi salad with many different yakumi condiments paired with a homemade citrusy ponzu dressing. Scallops we love as sashimi or sautéed in butter. Swordfish calls out for a sweet soy teriyaki sauce. And while salmon is available all-year long, must of it is farmed and imported. We look for domestic, wild salmon this time of year.

 

We love oysters raw, or in nabe, or best of all – breaded and deep-fried as kaki furai.

Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Akagarei 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Ankou 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Ankimo – monkfish liver

Aori ika 障泥烏賊 big fin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana)

Ara 𩺊 rock cod (Nuphon spinosus)

Buri 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Chidai   血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Ginsake 銀鮭 coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

Hamadai 浜鯛 ruby snapper (Etelis coruscans)

Hirame 鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Hokke 𩸽 arabesque greenling (Pleurogrammus azonus)

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Ibodai 疣鯛 butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)

Itoyoridai 糸縒鯛  golden threadfin-bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Katsuo 鰹  skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi 皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kurigani helmet crab (Telmessus cheiragonus)

Maguro  鮪 tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Maiwashi 真鰯  Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Medai Japanese butterfish (Hyperoglyphe japonica)

Mekajiki   女旗魚  swordfish (Xiphias gladias)

Mishima Okoze – Japanese stargazer (Uranoscopus japonicus)

Mizudako 水蛸 North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Sake 鮭 salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Sanma 秋刀魚 Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Shirako – milt sac, often from cod, prized when from fugu

Shishamo – Japanese longfin smelt (Spirinchus lanceolatus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tarabagani 鱈場蟹 Alaska king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Tsubugai  つぶ貝 whelk  (Buccinum undatum)

Warasa 鰤 young Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Yanaginomai – yellow-body rockfish (Sebastes steindachneri)

November Seasonal Japanese Seafood

Chidai

Chidai

Autumn is a great time for Japanese seafood as a lot of the fish are rich with fat. This time of year we love sanma, both as sashimi, or simply salted and grilled. Katsuo done tataki-style, seared on the outside and rare on the inside, calls out for some shochu or nihonshu. And when it gets really cold, Shinji loves kanburi, or the winter buri (Japanese amberjack) rich with fat and as sashimi.

This list of November seafood is short as I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but I do hope to update it later this month along with links to photo of the seafood.

Akagarei flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Ara – rock cod (Nuphon spinosus)

Buri – Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Chidai – crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Ginsake – coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

Hamadai – ruby snapper (Etelis coruscans)

Hokke – arabesque greenling (Pleurogrammus azonus)

Katsuo – bonito or skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi – thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kurigani – helmet crab (Telmessus cheiragonus)

Medai – Japanese butterfish (Hyperoglyphe japonica)

Mishima Okoze – Japanese stargazer (Uranoscopus japonicus)

Mizudako – North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Sanma – Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Shishamo – Japanese longfin smelt (Spirinchus lanceolatus)

Yanaginomai – yellow-body rockfish (Sebastes steindachneri)