Chikuwa is made from the flesh of fish that has been turned into a paste, salted, formed into its chikuwa shape and cooked. In Japanese, this kind of product is referred to as “neri shokuhin” or “nerimono.” Chikuwa is one of the nerimono considered an essential for oden. Formed by molding fish paste around a stick made of bamboo or a similar material, chikuwa looks like a section of bamboo once it is cooked and removed from the stick, and, when it is cut, the cross section looks like that of a cut piece of bamboo. Thus, the name “chikuwa” – the Chinese character 竹 (chiku) means “bamboo,” and the character 輪 (wa) means “ring.” Chikuwa is cooked by steaming or roasting. The latter produces a firmer texture.
Text by Kitchen Nippon