The holiday season is here, giving us several fish that are at their peak during the winter months. This time of year also brings back Hirezake, a Japanese tradition that we encourage everyone to experience at least once. We have a lot happening at Shiro’s and we hope to see you this holiday season!
Seasonal Fish + Appetizer Special
Kan Buri (Cold Season Yellowtail) – This fish earns its name simply because of its premium landing spot in the winter – Noto Peninsula. Noto is considered ideal because it is part of the Ishikawa Prefecture, centered in the Japan islands, and facing the west coast of Japan. This location is situated right in the middle of the journey for Kan Buri, so the fat is given just enough time to build, but not enough time for the fish to start losing weight from swimming long distances.
Kan Buri (Cold Season Yellowtail)
Akamutsu (Rosy Seabass) – The best this time of year, premium Akamutsu usually comes from the east coast of Japan, and top specimens will be line-caught. Imagine the flavor and texture of Kinmedai, but a bit fattier and more oily, with a lovely, sweet flavor and aroma. Interestingly enough, when it’s caught off the west coast of Japan (Sea of Japan or “East Sea”), it is called Nodoguro. The fish is generally served raw, or slightly seared ever so briefly with a torch burner. It is considered the king of white fish in taste and price.
Akamutsu (Rosy Seabass)
Anko Kara-age (Deep-fried Monkfish) – Despite its appearance, this fish tastes excellent, especially in the winter. One of the most fearsome looking and ugly fish in existence, it is called “anglerfish” because the first ray of its spinous dorsal sticks out of the head like a line and bait, a device for attracting prey to the wide mouth. With an extremely big head, the mouth is filled with large, sharp teeth that are used for feeding on fish, octopus and squid. The outer skin of the fish is very slimy and the inner skin very rubbery, making a knife and cutting board useless for breaking down the fish. Instead, a large hook is inserted into the lower jaw while the fish hangs from the ceiling for cleaning, unveiling the tender interior meat.
Anko Kara-age (Deep-fried Monkfish)
Hirezake (Hot Sake with toasted Blowfish fins) – There is a chill in the air, signaling that winter is here! Warm up with a unique twist on sake. The fin of the Fugu (Blowfish or Puffer Fish) is grilled over a flame until charred and then steeped into a cup of HOT sake. Gelatin in the toasted Fugu fin gives a milder and slightly sweeter, distinguished taste to this longstanding Japanese tradition that is quite rare in the U.S.
Hirezake (Hot Sake with toasted Blowfish fins)
Our chefs cooked up Chicken Kara-age (Japanese style chicken nuggets) for one of our staff meals recently – a dish that is the definition of comfort food. Similar to fried chicken, except with a marinade of soy, mirin, sake, ginger, garlic and a hint of sugar. Super juicy and crunchy! We enjoyed it with a side of Ponzu sauce, grated Daikon and Salmon skin salad.
Chicken Kara-age (Japanese style Chicken nuggets)
Recipe – Tokyo Style Custard Pudding
This Tokyo Style Custard Pudding (similar to Creme Brulee) is very popular in Japan and couldn’t be easier to make!
- 1 c whole milk
- 1 c heavy whipping cream
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 oz sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pour milk into a small pan, heat close to boiling point (but don’t boil). Turn the heat off and add cream.
- Put egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl and mix well.
- Pour the milk mixture slowly into the egg mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Scrape all the sides of the bowl.
- Add vanilla and mix. Use a very fine mesh or cheese cloth to strain the mixture. Distribute in equal amounts into 5 cups.
- Add 1 inch of water into a shallow pan, bring it to boil. Turn the heat down to simmer (water not bubbling), place cups with mixture into water bath, put on a lid (or tightly sealed foil) and steam about 30 min in a 300 degree oven.
- Insert a skewer to see if it’s solidified. If not, steam a little longer.
- Sprinkle with sugar and torch it if you have a blowtorch. (Optional)
Tokyo Style Custard Pudding
Our chefs have been donating their time to the local community! We recently handed out our award-winning Sushi at Seattle Magazine’s 50th anniversary celebration that honored the past, present and future of Seattle. We also had the privilege of catering at the Museum of Flight, where we presented row after row of Sushi, Sashimi, Tempura and many more specialties. We are open this holiday season to cater your event too, adding that unique and polished touch for a memorable holiday get-together.
Shiro’s @ Seattle Magazine 50th Anniversary
Shiro’s @ The Museum of Flight
Shiro’s will be closed on Christmas and New Years Day so we can spend time with our loved ones. We wish you, our guests, a wonderful holiday season!