Fried Ginger-Flavored Salmon


Note to self: Buy an new thermometer. Oh, and maybe spend more than $5.
I’d prepared the fish and started to heat the oil for frying when I noticed the little red line on my thermometer was no longer solid, but dashed.
-– -—- – ——- – –—- – ——- – -––––— ——— – — —— ———- – -––––—––— ———
I remember seeing nurses in movies (television?) shake thermometers to force the mercury down toward the bulb end, so I gave that a try. I took it outside because the thermometer had already been in the oil and I didn’t want to spray the kitchen with oil droplets. I shook it so hard that the little clip thing-y flew off into the garden, not to be found among the Chinese chives, day lilies, and grass… No matter: the line remained dashed.
By the way, that’s not mercury anymore. I remember how much fun it was to play with the slick silver balls of mercury when I was a kid. Apparently, in the last few years, they have discovered that mercury is very poisonous, so they have banned the sale of mercury thermometers.
At any rate, I had (bigger) fish to fry…
One can check the temperature of oil without a thermometer. There are two methods:
Submerge the tips of cooking chopsticks (they are long enough that you won’t burn yourself) in the oil.
Drop a small amount of a flour-water batter into the hot oil.

Chopsticks Method Temperature Batter Method
tiny bubbles
emerging from
the tips
drops to bottom
then floats
larger bubbles
drops to bottom
rises quickly
really large bubbles
very brisk
will not sink
breaks and scatters

You can use mackerel (as in the original recipe), shrimp, tuna, salmon, or cod.

Fried Ginger-Flavored Salmon
Sake no Tatsuta-age
2 to 3 servings
page 399

  • 3 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon sake (rice wine)
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced shiso, preferably, or parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 pound salmon fillets, cut into 2-inch-square pieces, skin attached
  • ⅓ cup potato starch
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Shogo amazu (sweet pickled ginger)

In a bowl, combine the shoyu, sake, mirin, shiso, and ginger. Marinate the fish in this mixture for 20 minutes.
Drain the fish, discarding the marinade. Wipe the fish with a paper towel, and lightly coat each piece with potato starch. Let the fish stand for 2 minutes.
Heat 1 ½ inches vegetable oil in a deep skillet to 340°F. (170°C). Fry the fish, several pieces at a time, until they are slightly golden and cooked through. Drain them on a rack.
Serve the fish on top of the salad greens, accompanied by sweet pickled ginger.


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More on the vacation: Honey Cake

6 thoughts on “Fried Ginger-Flavored Salmon

  1. Oh, I’m older than you, Tess, and was never allowed anywhere near a broken thermometor. I did shake down many a mercury filled one, however, and was very careful never to touch the mercury.

    The salmon looks delious, and I do love pickled ginger. It’s one of my favorite condiments. We try to eat salmon once a week and it’s nice to have options.

    L’shanah tovah to you and yours.

    • I don’t know if you are older than I am or not! I am past the half-century!!! YIKES…

      The mercury fun was not a sanctioned activity! But my brothers had a talent for finding activities that were interesting but not necessarily safe. The rafts, the underground clubhouse, the gasoline can, and so on… They were too curious. They are both very smart and not wise.

      I do like this way of deep-fried fish (and it is good for lunch cold). The potato starch makes an interesting coating—different from wheat flour.

      It’s a surprise, but daughter is coming for the holiday. Tomorrow!
      A year of good and sweet wishes to you as well!

  2. I had no brothers or any siblings, for that matter — I’m sure that makes a huge difference as far as mischief is concerned.

    Since I can’t have wheat, I’m no stranger to the uses of potato starch and rice flours. They work very well, but I haven’t tried the potato starch for frying…I plan to remedy that oversight. BTW, I CAN spell delicious — how very embarrassing to see such a blatant mispelling. Still, I can neither type nor copy edit.

    Wonderful news about your daughter’s surprise holiday visit. May you, too, have a year filled with sweet and good things. The year is beginning auspiciously with the visit from your daughter. :)

  3. It’s good that we finally started using some of the forest of Shiso plants (all volunteer) in the garden. Maybe some of your readers will have suggestions; shiso ice cream? shiso granola?

  4. I just came across your website looking for a tonkatsu sauce recipe because my Japanese grandmother passed away before I could get her recipe. I have yet to try any of the these recipes but they seem very good and I just love Japanese food because I was basically raised on it.

    On the topic of shiso leaves, I thought they could be used to flavor umeboshi pickles. I have always wanted to try to make umeboshi on my own so if you do happen to try that please share your experiences.

    • Unfortunately I can’t find umeboshi here, so I have never tried it.

      Most of the recipes on this blog are from Hiroko Shimbo’s book, The Japanese Kitchen. I really like this book and would encourage you to buy it if you want to learn home-cooking Japanese recipes.

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