Again I go MIA for a few weeks. The usual excuse: work gets in the way of me and the blog. I’ll eventually fix this situation but for now I can only work on my cooking/blogging with some restrictions and many interruptions. The good news: I relocated to LA and now I actually have a kitchen and all my kitchen gear out of storage. FINALLY. It’s awesome and the apartment gets a lot of sunlight which is a first. I can finally start doing more photography in natural light during the weekends. The other good news is that my new home is not even a block away from the awesome Marukai market on pico boulevard which leads me to…. shishamo. I had no idea what shishamo was until now. These beautiful sardine-looking fish are eaten whole after pan fried or deep fried. I didn’t use any batters but I think that’s my next shishamo project. They can make great appetizer or to garnish dishes. Their flavor has a ton of personality with sweet notes and a solid of presence.
I also bought ramen noodles and nira. Nira is a pretty interesting one. Looks like a large overdeveloped chive but it tastes less oniony and a lot more garlicky. Perfect. I have nothing but great things to say about nira. Great finishing garnish and in my next nira projects I will be trying cooking with it like I would with garlic. I also thought of nira chimichurri. The herb itself has very long and delicate leafs. Anyways, thought I’d share my first nira experience with you guys.
This dish isn’t so much a well thought out recipe but more like a testing bed for other dishes and new ingredients (new to me). I didn’t spend any time thinking about it and simply threw it together. Sometimes rolling the dice in the kitchen is the way to go… many times actually, working with what’s available in the pantry or the fridge, making it all somehow work… you know what I’m talking about. Anyways, it might need some more adjusting because right now its more a confused dish than it is a fusion one. I have to say I still loved it and would make it, share it, and eat it over and over again so I hope you don’t get discourage by me not giving it an A+ and try it at home. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy! hope everybody is loving the summer days on this hemisphere!
- 8-10 shishamo fish
- 1 chicken liver (optional)
- 200 grams of dry ramen noodles
- 2-3 tsp chilli paste
- 2-3 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped nira
- 10-20 trimmed shimeji mushrooms
- drizzle of sesame oil
- Brine the fish in salted water. Just salty enough about 2% salinity. Brine for 20 mins.
- Mix the chilli paste and oyster sauces. Mix half of the chopped nira. Reserve
- Strain the fish and dry it using paper towels.
- Deep fry the fish at 400F in vegetable oil for about 3 mins. Work in batches if necessary.
- Cook the ramen noodles in salted water. About 2% salinity. Cook al dente.
- Pan sear the chicken liver, lower the temperature and allow for the core to cook but keep it on the pinky side. Remove from the pan. Carefully slice with a sharp knife.
- In the same pan you cooked the liver, deglaze with water and reduce the liquid until very syrupy. Steam the shimeji mushrooms for a minute or two allowing them to get coated in the liver glaze.
- Drain the noodles and mix in the oyster/chilli/nira mixture.
- Mix all the ingredients in a couple of bowls and garnish with the rest of the nira.
- Drizzle some sesame oil to seal the deal.
- To make a brine that is 2% salinity you would have to work with a scale. For every 100g of water, make sure you have 2 grams of salt. But you can skip all this and just season the water and taste until it's pleasantly salty. Not overly salty.
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Looks so good! I’m so glad ur back in LA
Welcome back, again, Paul! Always a pleasure to read your posts.
Can’t get those fishes here, but I can get other small fishes and when very fresh they are great deep fried. I toss them in flour to get them more crispy.
PS to make a 2% salt solution, use 2.5 tsp of regular table salt for every 4 cups of water.
thank Stefan! I really appreciate it! Yeah, i would totally toss the next batch in flour or even a tempura batter. I think either way would be a fun way to eat them. Thanks for the non-metric 2% salinity tip!
Beautiful! So much fun to have a major Chinatown where you live! I never really wanted to live in LA, even as a younger person (I’m just not a city person and I’ve never HAD to live in a huge city) however I miss California terribly, and you are going to discover its benefits daily! Jealous!
thanks Mimi! I lived in Vancouver 2 years and now I’m back in LA. I lived in LA 16 years before my Vancouver experience. I learned to love LA. It wasn’t easy and took me years but this is pretty much home. I have yet to discover a ton of stuff around here. This city is big and complex.