July 19, 2009

Shijimi (Corbicula Clams)/シジミ

I learned only yesterday from a TV show that shijimi can be frozen and that freezing shijimi increases their umami components. So,when I went shopping today, I just had to buy a pack of shijimi.

In Japan, shijimi are a common ingredient of miso soup. It is said that they are good for the liver, and are a cure for a hangover.


Nancy Heller said...

Having now tasted the frozen ones - do you agree that freezing increased the umami?

Hiroyuki said...

Nancy Heller: I was unable to tell any difference in taste. I think I should make a side-by-side comparison to discern any difference in umami components. Besides, I just froze the shijimi for only about four hours.

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David said...

Your blog is wonderful! I get more ideas here than any other Japanese food blog.
Do you have to wash the clams before you freeze them? Or do you just freeze the entire package, as is? Also, when you want to use the frozen clams for miso soup. do you have to let them thaw or do you just add them to the soup? Thanks!

Hiroyuki said...

David: Thanks for your compliment!
First, put the shijimi in a bowl, and wash them under running water by rubbing them together. Then, remove sand from the shijimi (although I omitted this step). To do this, make a 1% salt solution in flat-bottom container, and soak the shimiji in it for 3-5 hours, making sure that the shijimi do not overlap with others and that the solution does not fully cover the shijimi so as not to suffocate them.
When making shijimi miso soup, simply put the frozen shimiji in a pot of cold water, add some instant dashi, bring to a boil, keep simmering for some time until they are open, turn off the heat, and add some miso.

Removing sand from clams is called suna nuki (sand removal) in Japanese. If you want to be meticulous, place a flat-bottom colander in a flat-bottom container, place the shijimi in the colander, and add a 1% salt solution, making sure that the shijimi do not overlap with others and that the solution does not fully cover the shijime so as not to suffocate them. This way, you can be sure that the shijimi do not take in the sand they have spat out.
Visit the website below, and view the first two photos, and you will see what I have just described.
Note: To remove sand from asari (short-necked clams), use a 3% salt solution.