Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara

Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方
Shiokara is made of salted squid semi-fermented in its own guts and is a kind of chinmi, literally ‘rare taste’. Japanese like shiokara on rice or with sake. Shiokara is one taste that you might want to miss when you visit Japan, but we show how to make it in this article.

Making Shiokara

Shiokara, like other chinmi in Japan is popular among drinkers, Miwa, a salt devotee loves shiokara on rice. To make ika-no-shiokara, you just need a fresh squid (ika) and salt (shio). The amount of salt can be varied depending on your taste. Here are the main steps that are required.

  1. Clean the squid saving the kimo ‘liver’ (digestive gland) from the internals.
  2. Remove ‘skin’ and slice squid body (and legs if desired).
  3. Sprinkle with salt and leave over night.
  4. Pass guts through sieve.
  5. Add sliced squid to pressed salted guts and leave over night. If available, add thin sliced kombu (dried kelp) as well.
  6. Add a small amount of sake and mirin for fragrance. Allow to ferment for several more days.

Be sure to check out our shiokara series:
How to Clean Squid
How to Make Shiokara (this article)
How to Eat Shiokara

Shiokara: Squid Digestive Gland Ready for Salt
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Sprinkling Salt
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Sprinkling Salt
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

And Then the Telephone Rang

We suddenly got ordered over to Kichisen for Christmas Cake, on the telephone before we left, Miwa asked Mr. Tanigawa about his shiokara recipe. He told her that he doesn’t have any recipes and to just bring over her salted squid and guts and he would check it.

When we arrived, Miwa took out two plates, one of salted sliced squid and the other of salted ‘liver’ (actually a kind of intestine) which she had dutifully wrapped in furoshiki. Mr. Tanigawa ordered a disciple out of the kitchen to turn the shiokara ‘inside out’.

The technique here is to put the salted ‘liver’ on some kind of wire mesh and push the liquid part into a bowl below with the gland sac remaining on the mesh.

Amount of Salt: Miwa had intended to remove a lot of the salt, the amount shown in the photo below is far too much. There are two approachs to salting; sprinkle on a little salt and pass through the sieve or cover the glands in salt, let rest over night, wipe away most salt and then pass through the sieve.

Mr. Tanigawa, who has no recipes, recommends using a small amount of salt to start with (see second photo above) and add more later to taste. With salt, you can always add it, but you can never remove it. If you can use the salt content of dried kombu, that will give a more mellow and complex taste. This is a very ‘Kyoto’ approach.

Shiokara: Passing Through a Sieve
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Passing Through a Sieve
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Passing Through a Sieve
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Passing Through a Sieve
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Passing Through a Sieve

Shiokara: Adding Sliced Squid
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方
On a towel, remove blot off the salt.

Shiokara: Adding Sliced Squid
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Adding Sliced Squid
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Adding Sliced Squid
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方
Add and stir well.

Shiokara: Adding Sliced Squid
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Adding Sliced Squid
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Adding Strips of Kombu
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方
Add kombu to mellow and add complexity.

Shiokara: Adding Strips of Kombu
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

Shiokara: Kichisen Uses French Salt
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方

So, Does Shiokara Taste Good?
Well, Peko, a devotee of most Japanese chinmi, is actually not a big fan of shiokawa. So, let’s wait a few days and get a report from Miwa.

Shiokara: Leftover Digestive Gland Membrane (Gore)
Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara 珍味: 塩辛の作り方
They cut up the gore and added it to the shiokara too. You might skip that step.

12 Responses to “Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara”

  1. [...] « Kyoto Style Dorayaki: Gion Shimogawara Azuki Mikasa Chinmi: How to Make Shiokara »  Print This Post  Email This [...]

  2. Chris says:

    That wire screen thing is what the French call a tamis. You can buy one just like that at the place that sells hand-made wire cookware up north of Oike, between Karasuma and Kawaramachi. They were pretty inexpensive, I think, maybe about 5,000 yen. If you buy one, see if you can get one with a replaceable screen: the screens are very delicate, and if you ding one you don’t want to have to buy the whole thing over again.

  3. momo says:

    Wow! very very interesting – I’ve eaten a lot of Japanese food in my day but I have yet to try this! I remember my uncle mori talking about this… although I cannot really remember exactly what it was all about- I would definitely like to try this someday!

  4. chingyo says:

    I was always wondering about this stuff…very classic jii-chan material. I would say this is more tolerable if you’re drinking hot shochu or sake with it…but by itself – ge! An acquired taste, I guess.

  5. Peko-P says:

    Hello Chris, Replaceable screen? Thank you for the heads up! I don’t think that I would have made the right choice.

    Hello Momo, Shiokara isn’t top on my list of yummies in Japan, but I did think that this article shows what chinmi is all about — usually a part of a fish or shellfish fermented in its own guts with salt. Shiokara, often comes in a tiny bowl, like less than a teaspoonful at the beginning of a course meal, like kaiseki, and that is pretty good…

    Hello Chingyo, Yes, jii-chan (older drinkin man) material (or perhaps, matériel) is right on the mark.

    I am not really into it on rice (in larger servings), even washing when washing it down with lots of alcohol.

    If you are a foodie and in Japan, I would say that you must try some chinmi. It is extreme eating but some of it is quite good. Karasumi, salt-cured mullet roe is much more accessible, it reminds me more of cheese than fish eggs. Much more expensive than shiokara though.

  6. Julie says:

    OH MY GOODNESS….

    I love Shiokara, my mother used to make it for me when I was a kid…. She used to joke that since I loved chinmi so much, I would probably end up a big drinker… she was wrong. I just like salt!

    My last meal would be a big bowl of rice, shiokara and umeboshi, perhaps some mozuku too. :)

    Im a simple kinda girl…

    Thank you SO (x10000000) much for posting this. :)

    Oh and for all you readers who ever see it at the Japanese market, dont be scared to try it. You may not like but you can always say you tried it. (p.s. if you dont like it – send it this way ) :D

  7. Peko-P says:

    Hello Julie,

    Wow, you are a REAL salt lover, just like Miwa! Miwa is not much of a drinker either though.

    I like your advice, don’t be afraid to try things in the Japanese food market. In more than 10 years of eating weird stuff in Japan, I have *maybe* gotten sick once. (I ate a raw egg and the next day had a fever. I have eaten a lot of raw eggs since and never had any trouble.)

    I am glad you liked this post, please come back to KyotoFoodie!

    Peko-P

  8. Mora says:

    I LOVE shiokara!!! There is nothing better than great shiokara, a bowl of perfectly cooked rice, and a superb dry sake served cold. Now THAT is one of my “last meals on earth” if ever there were one. Thank you for all of the photos and great detail in the explanation of how to make your own shiokara.

  9. gaga says:

    How interesting. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but I’d still be willing to give this a try. It looks delicious…

  10. MMmmm I love shiokara it’s one of those things like natto I think, you either love it or hate it. I’m curious, do you ferment it at room temperature or in the fridge?

  11. Peko-P says:

    Hello Mora, I guess you are more convinced than I am – but enjoy!

    Hello gaga, Yeah, if you have the stuff that is light in taste, it isn’t too bad. The stuff Miwa made here is super potent, 4 squid worth of internals went into it. That is too much for me.

    Hello Marc, We fermented it in the fridge, I think that it CANNOT be fermented at room temperature.

  12. Alex R says:

    I live in California in the U.S. and a restaurant that does traditional food from Osaka occasionally has this on their menu and I love it. I ask if they have it when I go in.

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