Crispy Seasoned Whitebait ( Chirimenjako )
Crispy Seasoned Whitebait (Chirimenjako)
This recipe for whitebait coated with a crispy soy-and-sugar glaze makes a wonderful snack or appetizer on its own, and it washed well with beer, sake or cocktails.
5 oz ( 150g ) dried whitebait or small dried anchovies
2 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs Japanese soy sauce
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
Seven-spice chili powder ( Shichimi ) to taste ( optional )
Roasted White sesame seeds, to garnish ( optional )
Step 1 Roast the sesame seeds by placing them on a wok. Use medium heat then shake the wok until they darken slightly and you can smell them. Move them to a plate for further use.
Step 2 Place the dried Whitebait in a wok and dry-fry over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, shaking the pan frequently or stirring constantly until light brown and fragrant. Remove from the heat and set the fish aside in a small plate. If using fish more than 1 1/2 in (4cm) long, remove the heads and bones.
Step 3 Combine the mirin, soy sauce, sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and has a thick syrupy consistency. Add the whitebait and stir to coat well with the sugar glaze.
Step 4 Sprinkle with the seven-spice chili powder and white sesame seeds and serve.
This recipe intrigue me because it allowed me to 'fry' the fish without oil. I use the right temperature and even set the timer to copy this recipe exactly to the letter and it worked beautifully. But just for added flavour, you can always add 1 tsp of sesame oil at the sugar glaze right before you add the fish to it. And to make sure that the presentation is beautiful, after I dry-fry the fish, I put them in a colander that has big holes in it then shakes all the little pieces out. So only the beautiful whole fish left. It looks more neat just like in the photo.