Aug 19, 2013

SURIMI... "Mystery Meat From The Sea"

Hawaiian Saimin with Edamame and Kamaboko (Surimi)
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See recipe below
So what is this mystery meat called surimi that is so popular in Hawaii? The process for making surimi was developed in many areas of East Asia over several centuries, but it wasn't until 1969 that the surimi-making process was refined in Japan to revitalize Japan's fish industry, and to make use of what previously was considered "fodder fish". Surimi is a Japanese word that literally means “ground meat”, but in this case, surimi is processed fish paste made to taste like crab. It is made from white fleshed fish such as Alaska pollock, whiting, and other species of fish. The fish flesh is minced into a thick gelatinous paste that is then combined with various additives. The assortment of additives may include other fish products, but it is usually egg whites, vegetable oil and omega-3 oil, salt, sugar, starches, soy protein, MSG (monosodium glutamate), and spices. It is then formed into various shapes, steamed until fully cooked and firm.

Nutritionally, surimi is both low in fat and cholesterol, but is high in sodium. According to the USDA Food Nutrient Database 16-1, fish surimi contains about 76% water, 15% protein, 6.85% carbohydrate, 0.9% fat, and 0.03% cholesterol.

Approximately 3% of the world’s fish catch is processed into some sort of surimi paste. It is a food product that is very popular in many Asian cultures and is available in many shapes, forms, and textures, and often used to mimic the texture and color of the meat of lobster, crab and other shellfish.

The most common surimi product in the Western market is imitation crab meat. The US started manufacturing surimi in 1981, and now is the leading producer, followed by Japan and Thailand, however China's role as a producer is increasing, as well as newcomers including Lithuania, Vietnam, Chile, the Faroe Islands, France and Malaysia.

The bottom line is that surimi is a relatively low-cost protein that tastes good. In Hawaii you will find red-skinned surimi, or kamaboko as the Japanese call it, used in mac salads, sliced and added as a topping for saimin, or used in sushi. Surimi is often referred to as "fish cake" in Hawaii, and is readily available in Hawaii's grocery stores.

Recipes:
Hawaiian Saimin
with Edamame and Kamaboko

Ingredients:
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 (8-ounce) package dried Japanese soba noodles*
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Toppings (see suggestions below)

* Soba noodles can be found in the Asian food section of most grocery stores or in Japanese food specialty stores.

Procedure:
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 4 quarts of water and salt; bring to a boil. Add soba noodles and boil 4 to 6 minutes until al dente. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse under warm, running water. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add chicken broth and ginger; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and your favorite toppings; simmer for 5 minutes longer or until toppings are cooked. Remove from heat. Place cooked soba noodles in a large soup bowl; spoon broth mixture (with toppings) over the top and serve. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Topping Suggestions:
Edamame (cooked soy beans)
Kamaboko (fish cakes)
Sliced Spam
Cha siu or baked ham slices
Roast Pork slices
Sliced carrots
Shredded napa cabbage
Chopped bok choy
Sliced hard cooked egg
Sliced mushrooms
Scrambled or fried egg
Sliced green onions or scallions
Chinese parsley (Cilantro)
Cooked small shrimp

Limu Salad
Limu Salad
Limu is the Hawaiian word for seaweed. Limu salad is easy to make but you will have to find the ingredients. It is a combination of flavors and textures creating a delicious mixed Asian main course or side dish, and is a very common and well-liked potluck salad here in Hawaii.

Ingredients for salad:
1 (16 ounce) package of linguini, break in 1/2, cooked according to package directions, drained
6 ounces seasoned taegu (Korean spicy codfish found in Asian markets)
2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced lengthwise, then sliced into thin half circles
16 ounces imitation crab (surimi), pulled apart into strings
8 ounces seasoned Ocean Salad (Ocean Salad is a seaweed salad that is flavored with sesame oil, it can be found in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores or in Asian markets)

Ingredients for dressing:
You won't need all of this sweet and savory dressing, but it is great to keep in your refrigerator for other salads.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted, crushed

Garnish:
thinly sliced green onions at an angle
1 (1.9 ounce) bottle nori furikake (a sesame/nori seasoning found in Asian markets)

Procedure:
In a mixing bowl or jar, mix dressing ingredients, and refrigerate. In another bowl; combine linguine with taegu, cucumbers, crabmeat and ocean salad, refrigerate until ready to serve. when ready to serve, toss salad with dressing, as needed. Garnish with green onion and furikake. Serves 8-10.

Surimi Hand Roll
Ingredients:
12 half cut sheets of roasted nori
4 cups of medium grain rice (sushi rice)
1 Japanese cucumber cut into thin strips
1 avocado cut into thin slices
6 sticks of imitation crab (surimi) pulled apart into strings
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise

spicy chili sauce (I use Chinese 'Sriracha' sauce in moderation)
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup sushi vinegar (found at your local grocery store)

Procedure:
Cook rice. Transfer cooked rice into a large bowl and lightly flatten down. Sprinkle sushi vinegar over the rice and mix by cutting into rice and flipping over the rice. Fanning as you mix it helps to evaporate the moisture to give the rice a nice glossy texture. Place half of a sheet of cut nori in palm of hand, shiny side down. Spread sushi rice over the left side of the nori and spread a little mayonnaise, a little chili sauce, and sesame seeds. Top rice with imitation crab and vegetables. Starting at rice covered edge, roll to form a cone. Makes 12 cones.

Potato-Mac Salad with Surimi and Green Peas
There are many variations to Hawaiian mac salad, but this is my favorite.

Ingredients:
1 pound package elbow macaroni pasta
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound surimi (imitation crab), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (defrosted, no need to cook them)
1 cup celery (finely chopped)
1 cup shredded carrots
6 large hard boiled eggs (chopped)
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
3/4 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
3 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 chopped green onion (white and green parts) for garnish

Procedure:
Boil macaroni and potatoes in separate pots, 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked to your taste, drain & cool 30 minutes. Add all other ingredients to cooled macaroni and potatoes, in a large bowl. Gently stir to mix everything together. Keep cold in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The macaroni and potatoes will absorb the mayo, so you may want to make your salad a day ahead to let the flavors combine. You might also want to add more mayonnaise just before serving. Garnish with more chopped green onion. Makes 16 generous servings.

Surimi Poke
Ingredients:
1 - 1.5 pounds imitation crab (surimi, leg style)
1 Japanese cucumber sliced thin
1/2 cup onion cut into thin slivers
3 tablespoons green onions chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed
1/4 teaspoon chili oil, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon hawaiian salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Procedure:
Cut crab, onions, cucumber into bite-sized pieces, mix all ingredients, chill, serve. Makes 6 servings.

Crispy Coconut Crab Sticks
Ingredients:
8 ounce package frozen imitation crab (surimi, leg style)
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup of self-raising flour + enough water to make into a thick batter
Canola oil for frying
Thai sweet chili sauce (I use Mae Ploy brand)

Procedure:
Heat about 1 inch of the oil to about 350˚F (not too high or it will burn the coconut).

Cut the imitation crab legs in half. Dip one half into the flour batter and then sprinkle with the shredded coconut.

Deep-fry until golden brown and drain on paper towel. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce. Serve hot. Makes 28 appetizer servings.
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