Braised Shirataki with Tarako roe 鱈子と白滝の炒り煮

japanese cake

This is another small dish perfect for “Otoshi” お通し. It is made of “shirataki” 白滝 (a noodle form of konkyaku 蒟蒻) and “tarako” 鱈子 roe.  I often had this dish with additional ingredient of sliced “chikuwa” 竹輪 fish cake and seasoned with soy sauce and mirin as a side dish when I was a child (obviously not as “Otoshi” for a drink). I modified the way my mother used to make this dish and seasoned it with soy sauce and sake but no sweetness added (no chikuwa, either), so that it may go better with a drink of cold sake.

I decided to make this dish because I found frozen tarako in our freezer which appears not to be high in quality (I must have bought it frozen sometime ago). Shirataki, which means “white cascade” in Japanese, is Konnyaku or Konjac made into thin noodles by extrusion and is often used in Sukiyaki. It does not have many calories and, for that matter, not much taste but can absorb any flavor you add to it.

Tarako mixture: First, remove the tarako roe by slicing the membrane and, using a back of the knife, scrape off the roe from the membrane and put it in a small bowl. For the one package of shirataki, I used two small sacs of tarako but the amount is totally arbitrary. I add 1-2 tbs of sake and a dash of Tabasco (optional) and mix so that it will have nice thick saucy consistency.

Shirataki: I drain and wash one package of shirataki and cut into three portions to make the noodles more manageable and cook it in a boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes (mostly to remove the peculiar smell konnyaku and shirataki always have) and drain. Put the shirataki noodle in a dry non-stick frying pan on a medium flame. Stir to let the excess moisture evaporate (so that it can absorb more liquid seasoning). I add sake and soy sauce (1 tbs each) and stir until the liquid is almost all gone. You could add mirin here to make this dish a bit sweet. 

Add the tarako mixture and keep stirring until the color of the tarako become white and cooked through. Since tarako is salty you may adjust the amount of soy sauce accordingly. I mix in chopped chives (or scallion). I garnish with chopped chives when serving.

This dish has an interesting texture contrast of cooked roe and shirataki noodle. The addition of Tabasco adds a  very slight and slow acting pleasant heat to the dish. Sake is definitely called for.

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