Agemono, or deep fried dishes, are fairly popular in Japan, as it’s likely that you have tried them in your local Japanese restaurant. While many people associate Japanese food with raw fish in various forms (sushi), there are a wide variety of meals that are common in Japan.
Many of these dishes require the finest blades from the best Japanese knives to be made just right, as much of Japanese cuisine is based on simple, yet elegant presentation and a respect for the food. A dull knife will always treat the food poorly, which is a disrespectful practice.
Here are some of the top deep fried dishes:
This is as basic as it comes. Karaage is simply a way of cooking food in oil that has been cut into small pieces and marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and then lightly dusted with an outer coating like flour. This is usually done with chicken, but it’s not uncommon to see other things like fish and meat.
This is actually quite a similar technique to tempura.
Nanbanzuke might have a hilarious translation (southern barbarian pickle!) but it’s basically a fried fish in vinegar.
There are other dishes like this from other countries and cultures, but you will frequently see salmon or mackerel fried (either whole or in pieces) and then marinated for a while in vinegar and other ingredients to get the right taste.
It is certainly much different than many North American fried dishes, but a refreshing meal, to be sure.
First step, cook meat, fish, or veg. Then, chop it up nicely and combine with potatoes in mashed form (or a white sauce, though we prefer the potato method).
Roll your concoction in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs like you would for other fried foods. Flatten your patty and then fry it in oil to get a crisp, golden outside.
This is the local variant of the Portuguese croquette, and is a very charming little bit of food that goes very nicely with a wide variety of foods. You can eat them as-is, put them into a sandwich, put them on top of other foods (like soups and salads), and they’re actually sold on the street sometimes, in the same way that North Americans might enjoy food truck items.
Tempura is one of the most well known deep fried Japanese foods.
Basically, it’s just food that has been battered and deep fried. Unlike many American dishes, it is very common to put vegetables into the mix. It would be very easy to try at home if you had a deep fryer, which we recommend you do at least look at, particularly from our friends at Fryer HQ. It is a wonderful thing to make these tasty foods in your own kitchen, and it is much less expensive than going out each time you crave this delicious style of cooking.
As you can see, many of these dishes come in smaller quantities. This means it is important that each morsel of food is exquisitely prepared, and one simply cannot prepare in this manner without the top knives. Read our other posts for more information on the Knives of Japan.