Nizakana: Flounder Simmered with Shishito (カレイの煮付け)
Nizakana can be made with any kind of fish and is well suited for smaller fish that can be simmered whole. Flounder with eggs, komochi, is a favorite in Japan. The mild-mannered Japanese shishito peppers adds color, nutrition and a contrast of flavors.
Nizakana is great because it is quick an easy to make, adds some novel flavors to your fish repertoire and it goes well with other non-Japanese dishes. Nizakana goes equally well with sake or white wine.
Give nizakana a try. The basic recipe can easily be riffed upon and adapted. If you can get whole fish, try doing it nizakana style, even with the head on. I really want to do some Minnesota panfish; sunfish, bluegill, crappie, etc nizakana style. Smallmouth bass, perch, small walleye could all be cooked this way and taste quite similar to what people enjoy in Japan. If you can obtain fish with egg sacs, leave them in!
Nizakana: Flounder with Shishito Peppers
- flounder or similar ‘white meat’ fish
- shishito peppers (small green bell peppers, sliced are an alternative)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup sake or cooking sake (white cooking wine can be substituted)
- 4 tablespoons shoyu
Place fish in sauce pan and add water, mirin and sake. (If mirin cannot be obtained, just add sugar to the sake.) The size of the pan should be such that the fish is submerged in the broth.
Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
Add shoyu and sugar if desired.
Add shishito and simmer until cooked and remove from heat and serve immediately.
If you are using a ‘blue’ fish such as mackerel, add some ginger.
Flounder with Eggs (子持ち)
Komochi, literally means ‘has egg/child’.
Komochi Flounder in the Pan
The orange parts are the eggs.
Simmering with Wooden Cover (Otoshibuta)
Otoshibuta: ‘Otoshi’ means to push down and ‘buta’ (futa) means cover. The purpose of the otoshibuta is to submerge the fish as much as possible in the broth. If you don’t have an otoshibuta, just use a regular lid and spoon the broth over the fish as necessary.
Simmering in Sweetened Shoyu and Sake
Mirin contains a lot of sugar and makes food silky and shiny in appearance.
Shishito will cook very quickly and should not be overcooked.
Nizakana – Done!
Nizakana – Served