Fish Pickled In Rice Bran Base?

Posted on Oct 10, 2014 in Hiroko's Blog

pickled mackerel on turnipI pickle and enjoy bounty summer vegetables in rice bran base during summer. But, I never pickled fish in the same base. By the way, here is a link to my nuka-zuke, pickling vegetables in rice bran base at The below is a quote from this article.

” What is common in these traditional fermented pickled vegetables is that they are the product of lactic acid fermentation and are wonderfully probiotic because of the bacteria that cause the fermentation process. These bacteria are proven to do so many good things in our gut. There they contribute to the growth of a healthful microbial community. They strengthen our immune system. They assist in good digestion. They help to prevent constipation. They improve the body’s use of vitamins and minerals. They help to reduce blood cholesterol. And they decrease our sensitivity to allergens. All of these wonderful benefits have been well demonstrated.”

saba nukazukeRecently my business friend, Masakatsu Nakaura, visiting New York City for a Food Show from Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, gave me a mackerel pickled in rice bran base. I was born and raised in Japan, but had never heard or tasted such a fermented fish in rice bran. According to Kaneishi Company , one of several companies which produces this historical, unique food products, the production process goes like this. Salt cure the cleaned and headed mackerel during cold winter months for 3 months. The fish is, then, rinsed and pickled in rice bran. The fish remains in the pickling base in wooden tub with a heavy stone on top of it for a year or two. The long fermented fish is firm in texture. There is no bad odor like long pickled funa-zushi (more information in The Sushi Experience ), the preliminary form of sushi. It is quite salty but comes with lots of umami, good flavor, which are the products of fermentation.

I filleted the pickled fish, boned and cut it into small cubes. I served it on top of crisp turnip slice to my American dinner guests. Everyone loved it.

It was wonderful to learn that the ancient techniques of preserving fish like this still practiced and appreciated in Japan today, no matter how small the market is. Thank you very much Nakaura-san! Here is Nakaura-san’s company link. His company makes yubeshi which I blogged about almost a year ago.