The Japanese food discourse is incomplete without mentioning Narutomaki, a seafood cake with a cute pink swirl in the middle. What Narutomaki taste like will interest you. However, if you are yet to try it, you’re missing out.
Adding a bowl of ramen, miso soup, or chicken udon noodle soup makes a big difference. But, if you’re wondering what Narutomaki taste like before adding it to your diet, look no further. We’re here to help.
Narutomaki has this mildly fishy taste that leads many people to believe it is made solely from fish. However, it is sometimes made from seafood, including shrimp and sometimes squid. It has a very mild flavor and chewy texture and often goes well with ramen noodles.
A lot of people may not care for Narutomaki by itself. But when it is added to certain foods, it brings the whole meal together. It makes your food taste better, looks more appetizing, and makes the meal way more satisfying.
What is Narutomaki made of?
Narutomaki is made out of surimi and food coloring. The food coloring adds the characteristic pink swirl to the middle. Then, the paste is rolled and steamed to create what Narutomaki taste like. The taste we all know and love.
What fish is in Narutomaki?
Narutomaki is made out of white fish paste, a major determinant of what Narutomaki taste like. The fish is cleaned, rid of all bones and fat, and then processed into a smooth paste and other ingredients to cook the meal.
Where to find Narutomaki
To experience what Narutomaki taste like, you must know where to find it. You can get Narutomaki at any Japanese restaurant or Asian supermarket. Asian stores usually have aisles specifically for fish cakes and kamaboko.
Visit any Asian store in your area to get some. If you don’t find it there, you can always order online via amazon and have it delivered to your doorstep.
While Narutomaki is not needlessly tricky to make, you need to put a lot of care into it to ensure it comes out well. So, to start, get your ingredients ready.
- Egg white
- Pink food coloring
- Whitefish paste (If you don’t want to get pre-made, you can always make the paste yourself using white fish. We’ll tell you how).
Preparing whitefish paste
- Clean your fish thoroughly and remove the skin, bones, and fat.
- Squeeze the excess water out with your hands and pat with a paper towel until it is completely dry.
- Add your fish or surimi to a food processor and the other ingredients (sugar, salt, egg white, and mirin) except the pink food coloring.
- Process until you get a smooth paste. Afterward, separate the paste into two halves.
- Mix one half with the pink food coloring, and leave the other half untouched. Here comes the fun part.
- Flatten the colorless paste into a rectangle and spread it on a plastic wrap.
- Do the same to the colored paste.
- Place the pink paste on the white, but only on the top half.
- Ensure that there is a layer of white paste at the top and the bottom.
- Roll the paste carefully, ensuring that you do not leave any air pockets.
- Ensure to roll lengthwise so that you get to see the pink spiral in the middle (If you want to get those unique edges, place your roll on a bamboo mat and lightly press on it to shape).
- Put your roll in another plastic wrap before placing it in the steamer.
- Allow it to cook for about 15 minutes before it is ready.
- Allow it to cool. Cut and serve with your ramen or soup.
Read also: Does Mirin Need To Be Refrigerated?
If you prefer not to go through the hassle of preparing Narutomaki yourself, you could also buy frozen Narutomaki. If that’s your preference, boil the Narutomaki to warm it before adding it to your meal. Alternatively, you could grill it or throw it in the oven or some hot oil for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot you want it to be.
Defrosting Narutomaki is easy. Put it in an airtight plastic bag and submerge it in warm or room temperature water for about 30 minutes. This works fine when you don’t want to cook it for long before eating.
Best ramen to take with Narutomaki
For apparent reasons, at the very top of the list would be Ichiraku ramen. This is Naruto’s favorite in the series, and ours too! However, you can also enjoy it as a topping with any other ramen of your choice!
Read also: Is Chicken-Flavored Ramen Vegetarian?
To prepare Ichiraku ramen just like Naruto would like, use this recipe:
- Pork ribs or chicken
- 4 packets of ramen
- Tonkatsu soup
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Green onion
- Bean sprouts
- Put the Tonkatsu soup in a pot and bring it to a boil.
- Cut the meat into large rectangular pieces and add them to the soup.
- Allow it to cook until it is tender.
- Scrape off the foam build-up every 8-10 minutes.
- Combine soy sauce, ginger slices, mirin, and Worcestershire sauce dash in a separate pot.
- Add your meat to the mixture and allow it to cook on low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes so the meat absorbs the flavor.
- After that’s done, cut your meat into thin slices and set it aside.
- Wash the bean sprouts, boil them for 1 minute, and then set them aside.
- Cut the green onions into thin slices and set them aside.
- Cook the ramen noodles. It would be best if you typically cooked them in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes; you don’t want soggy noodles. Once the noodles are cooked, drain and set aside.
- Now that all your ingredients are ready, all that is left is to combine them. Fill a bowl of noodles up to three quarters with Tonkatsu soup, and add the cooked bean sprouts, green onions, meat, and Narutomaki as garnish.
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I write about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. I also talk about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things