All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.



Made of white fish, egg white, sugar, salt, etc. Eaten as is without cooking by dipping in wasabi soy sauce or as a topping for soup noodles, or used as an ingredient in various dishes including saute and stew. Often formed on top of a small wooden board. White and pink are typical outer colors. White and red are the color combination for happy celebrations, and white and red (pink) kamaboko is included in the New Year's meal.

Products from several manufacturers are usually available at large Japanese grocery stores. As a rule of thumb, higher priced ones are made with higher quality ingredients with fewer additives (including starchy stuff vs. fish, the main ingredient) and taste more refined.
Some Japanese grocery stores carry pricier kamaboko (Suzuhiro from Odawara at Seattle Uwajimaya) in December or when the New Year's holiday season approaches.

Tubular kamaboko with lightly grilled outer surface. The name (lit. bamboo rings) comes from its appearance, which resembles bamboo. Chikuwa filled with cheese or vegetables is a common, quick item in lunch boxes for schools and offices. Other than that, it is usually cooked.

Oblong, flat kamaboko with lightly grilled outer surface, which resembles bamboo leaves, as the name suggests (lit. bamboo leaf fishcake). It is usually used in cooking. Because one piece is usually enough for a dish for two and it is easy to defrost each piece, sasakama is the most useful fishcake in our kitchen.

Some contain vegetables for variation.
Boil to remove extra oil before use. This is especially important when products are made in the US -- many products made in Japan today (and thus imported products) use higher quality oil for deep-frying, which does not significantly affect the taste of final dishes. Lower quality oil results in a greasy taste and smell if no prep-cooking is done.

Very fluffy fishcake made of white fish, yamaimo mountain yam (a relative of nagaimo Chinese yam), egg white, salt, etc. 

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