Green Bean Cheese Fish Cake

Ingenmame-Chizu Chikuwa 海苔チーズ竹輪

Do not be afraid of chikuwa! It’s actually quite delicious, nutritious and affordable. Chikuwa is a tube-shaped fish cake (its name actually means bamboo sphere) that is featured in all manner of dishes. In the school lunch repertoire, it is usually served stuffed and fried or stewed and simmered. When fried, the batter is often flavored with a more robust seasoning – sometimes curry or dried shiso (perilla)—and from time to time stuffed with cheese or cucumber for a savory surprise. Our fish cakes are stuffed with cheese and fresh green beans which provide a contrast between creamy savory cheese and fresh crunch and zest. Visually, the chikuwa tubes are brightened as well, reminiscent of bamboo forests awakening after a long sleep.

Ingredients:

1 package chikuwa (usually 4-6 per packet)
¼ cup cheese thinly sliced into matchsticks (a creamy white cheese works well
5-6 straight fresh green bean
2-3 tablespoons minced green onion
4 tablespoons white flour
1 tablespoon corn starc
3 ½ tablespoon water (or more as needed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
3 ice cubes½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 pinch salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Toothpicks (optional)

Cookware:

Large bowl, cutting board, large plate, frying pan.

Instructions:

          Combine the green onions, flour, corn starch, water, mayonnaise, ice cubes, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and combine. Set aside.

          Cut chikuwa through on one side so that the chikuwa can be opened up and flattened into a narrow rectangle.

          Insert cheese and green bean paralleling the long end. From the cheese side, roll the chikuwa back into a cylinder.

          Once rolled, secure at opposite ends with a toothpick if needed.

          Cut the roll in two equal halves and set aside on plate. Repeat instructions 1-4 until all the chikuwa have been rolled in this manner.

          When all the chikuwa have been filled, coat the rolls with the green onion batter and set aside each piece on a plate.

          Heat a pan full of a thin layer of vegetable oil to medium high. Cook the chikuwa until crispy and golden brown. Be sure to let each side brown completely before flipping it to a different size. (Note: Cheese may melt out, but this makes it more delicious!)

          Let cool slightly and remove the toothpicks. Serve.