August 5, 2014

Migaki Nishin/身欠きにしん

The other day, I got one pack of migaki nishin (fully dried) at a bargain price: 180 yen per 100 g. Fully dried migaki nishin usually costs around 300 yen per 100 g. Migaki nishin is dried herring (beheaded, gutted, and dried, but not salted). There are three types of migaki nishin: 
Hon boshi (fully dried), dried for one month or so
Hachibu (nanabu) boshi (semi-dried), dried for one week or so
Nama boshi, soft (half-dried), dried for one day or so
先日、身欠きにしん(本干し)を一パック、特価で買いました。100 gで180円です。本干しの身欠きにしんは通常、100 gで300円前後します。身欠きにしんとは、(頭を落として、内蔵を取って、干した(塩には漬けていない)にしんのことで、三種類の身欠きにしんがあります:
生干し, ソフト(一日程度干したもの)
The label says, "Hon gawaki" (fully dried). I guess this is synonymous with "hon boshi".
Fully dried migaki nishin must be soaked in "kome no togi jiru" (milky water resulting from washing uncooked rice) overnight or longer. If you don't have kome no togi jiru available, use water plus some rice bran instead.
Kome no togi jiru has some rice bran in it, and rice bran has the effect of removing lipid peroxides.

Migaki nishin, soaked overnight.

This morning, I checked the migaki nishin. I was a little worried that they might go bad due to the hot weather, and I was relieved to find that they seemed OK. I wanted to keep soaking them in the water until the evening, but because of the hot weather, I decided to put them in the fridge.

Migaki nishin at around 4:00 p.m.
Some recipes say to simmer them in bancha (coarse tea) to remove aku (harshness) and odor. I found one recipe that says to simmer in the kome no togijiru used for soaking, and I decided to follow this step. This particular recipe says to simmer them for one hour, but I simply simmered for 30 minutes or so, while I was making potato salad and making preparations for nimono ingredients.
I drained the kome no togijiru, set aside the kigaki nishin, washed the pot, and added 2 cups (200 x 2 = 400 ml) water, 60 ml soy sauce, and 60 ml mirin, and added carrot, atsuage, kuruma fu (wheat gluten), konnyaku, and migaki nishin. I simmered for 15 minutes.
米のとぎ汁を捨て、身欠きにしんを置いておいて、鍋を洗い、水を2カップ(400 ml)、しょう油60 ml、みりん60 ml入れ、にんじん、厚揚げ、車麩、こんにゃく、身欠きにしんを入れました。15分煮ました。
My portion.
This nimono is quite similar to the one I previously made:

Migaki nishin is widely used in various parts of Japan, including Niigata, of course. In Kyoto, for instance, migaki soba is very popular.


Sissi said...

The world of food is amazing... Half of my life 99% of the fish I had was herring (pickled in various ways) and yet, I have never even heard of dried herring. Not to mention eating it. I had no idea dried herring existed in Japan.
I like dried and salted cod a lot (Portuguese speciality, though it exists also in other countries in the world, for example French overseas territories), but of course it's completely different.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Your pickled herring and salted cod are as mysterious to me as migaki nishin and bo dara (dried cod) are to you (laugh)!