Kayoko, Johnny, and I spent last week in paradise (aka Yelapa, Mexico). Watching whales from our balcony while reading Invisible Man was the highlight of my trip. You couldn't beat the scenery, but unfortunately the food was not at paradise-level.
While on vacation, the subject of chikuwa came up (probably because we were craving it). Chikuwa is fishcake in the shape of a tube. Fish surumi (a paste made from minced fish), seasonings, egg white, and starch are mixed together and then molded around a metal stick and steamed. It's one of Kayoko's favorite foods and we were joking about how "Chikuwa" should be her middle name.
So naturally, when I got home, I picked up some chikuwa and started thinking about an ideal way to prepare it. Chikuwa and mayo are a classic combo, so I decided to add some miso into the mix and place it all on toast.
The caramelizing of the miso-mayo on toast is an umami explosion and sprinkling some ao nori after toasting gives this quick snack yet another dimension.
1 tube chikuwa
1 piece of toast
1 tsp Kewpie mayo
1 tsp red miso
1/2 tsp ao nori (garnish)
1. In a small bowl, mix mayo and miso together.
2. Spread the miso-mayo mix on toast.
3. Cut chikuwa into fourths: once, length-wise, then again in half.
4. Lay the chikuwa on the toast side by side.
5. Place in toaster for 3-4 minutes (keep an eye on it; remove earlier if necessary). The miso-mayo mix will bubble a little on the toast and the chikuwa should look lightly toasted.
6. Sprinkle ao nori over chikuwa.
This one's for you Kayoko Chikuwa Akabori!