|Alternative names||Fish cake|
|Place of origin||Japan|
|Region or state||East Asia|
|Similar dishes||Gefilte fish|
It is made by forming various pureed deboned white fish with either natural or man-made additives and flavorings into distinctive loaves, which are then steamed until fully cooked and firm. These are sliced and either served unheated (or chilled) with various dipping sauces, or added to various hot soups, rice, or noodle dishes. Kamaboko is often sold in semicylindrical loaves, some featuring artistic patterns, such as the pink spiral on each slice of narutomaki, named after the well-known tidal whirlpool near the Japanese city of Naruto. In Miyagi Prefecture, Sasa-Kamaboko (笹かまぼこ) is a regional kamaboko variation, pale white in colour, formed in the shape of bamboo leaves and often lightly grilled immediately prior to serving.
There is no precise English translation for kamaboko. Rough equivalents are 'fish paste', 'fish loaf', 'fish cake', and 'fish sausage'. Tsuji recommends using the Japanese name in English (e.g., 'sushi'). The Ashkenazi Jewish dish gefilte fish has some similarity.
Red-skinned and white kamaboko are typically served at celebratory and holiday meals, as red and white are considered to bring good luck.
Kamaboko has been made in Japan since the 14th century AD and is now available nearly worldwide. The simulated crab meat product kanikama (short for kani-kamaboko) is the best-known form of surimi in the West. In Japan, the prepackaged snack chīkama (cheese plus kamaboko) is commonly sold in convenience stores. In the city of Uwajima, a type of fried kamaboko called jakoten is popular.
Choice of fish
- Chicken grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)
- Golden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus)
- Lizardfish (Synodontidae)
- Japanese gissu (Pterothrissus gissu)
- Various shark species (Selachimorpha)
- Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma)
- White croaker (Pennahia argentata)
- Nibe croaker (Nibea mitsukurii)
- Daggertooth pike conger (Muraenesox cinereus)
- Gnomefish (Scombrops boops)
- Black bass
The Kamaboko organization of Japan specified November 15 for Kamaboko Day, established in 1983.
In Hawaii, pink or red-skinned kamaboko is readily available in grocery stores. It is a staple of saimin, a popular noodle soup created in Hawaii from the blending of Chinese and Japanese ingredients. Kamaboko is sometimes referred to as fish cake in English.
- Chikuwa (grilled surimi)
- Fish ball (boiled surimi)
- Hanpen (boiled surimi)
- Satsuma age (deep-fried surimi)
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