Aji (Horse Mackerel)

Aji I took thirty on the a.m. half-day boat. 

hiraki After eating the largest fish as sashimi, the survivors were dealt with as himono.

Thanks as always to Bentenya in Kanazawa Hakkei. 


7 responses to “Aji (Horse Mackerel)

  1. Hi Adam-san,

    It is hard to catch Aji in Osaka Bay because they have moved to Pacific Ocean for warmer water. I am missing Aji very much because I love Sashimi and himono of Aji very much. Your himono looks very nice and I would like to have it for breakfast every day.
    Can you enjoy Shirogisu fishing in your territory in this season? I am wondering whether we can catch them in this season in Osaka Bay or not. I will try to find Shirogisu in Osaka bay, although I have never caught them in February/March. I love tempura of kisu.



  2. Hi Shin-san,
    Good to hear from you again!
    Winter aji is very tasty. The ones here in Tokyo Bay are generally non-migratory (itsuki) so one can catch them all year round. I may go again next weekend.
    Yes, likewise shirogisu can be caught all year in Tokyo Bay, although I prefer to go fishing for them in spring and summer. Personally I feel it is better not to catch the fish during winter as they are resting and the stocks need to recover; other areas such as Sagami Bay forbid taking kisu during certain months in winter for this reason.
    I too enjoy kisu tenpura but I also like them breadcrumbed and deep-fried or as himono.

  3. They’re absolutely beautiful.

    I really miss fresh fish. (I’m originally from Dalmatia in Croatia, and now live inland in the UK)

  4. Whereabouts in the UK are you? Depends where you are but if you search for it, you can get good seafood…it is of course expensive though. Over here in Japan we are spoiled for choice, so much variety and the fish and shellfish fresh enough to eat raw, even those bought from local supermarkets. I rarely eat meat like beef or pork now, although I do miss lamb which we used to eat a lot back home.

  5. I’m almost as far inland as you can get… We do have an OK fishmonger, with lots of variety of fish, but it’s not always the freshest.

  6. I’ve enjoyed your “instructional” videos in the past for cutting kisu and haze. How do you prepare small fish for himono? The wife just went back to Tokyo last Tuesday, and I’m asking her to bring me back an aji-saki, deba-hocho, sharpening stones and a telescopic net. I’ve got to check your old knife post and take a look at what else you use.

    Aren’t there two ways to open up a fish w/ head? Belly-side and dorsal side? Is there a preference? Official way?

  7. Jay K,
    The haze and shirogisu for himono are done just as they are for tenpura; in fact, with shirogisu you can leave the bone in. With aji, you leave the head and bone in and cut from the ventral side of the fish instead. The next time I catch some aji I will try to make a video for you.
    Cutting from the dorsal or ventral side (se-biraki or muna/hara-biraki) depends on the fish, and its intended cookery. The one exception is koi carp, which is always cut from the dorsal side to avoid damaging the gallbladder and contaminating the flesh with bile.
    For using Japanese knives, you will need, other than the knives themselves, at the very least:
    – nakatogi toishi (medium-grain whetstone)
    – toishi naoshi (grinder to flatten the whetstone)

    Although not entirely necessary, but will complete the set:
    – shiage toishi (fine whetstone)
    – sabitori (pumice-like stone for removing rust)

    You can buy all these things in one trip, to the Tsukiji Masamoto shop at the entrance to Tsukiji fish market. They are very helpful and nice. Of course I am not connected in any way, financially &c., to them. Just always had good experiences there, which I can’t say the same for about certain other well-known stores here in Tokyo.
    Kikusue in Asakusa is also a favourite of mine, but if you are buying all the stuff I’ve listed here, Masamoto will be cheaper.

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