Smoked aji

I smoked the remaining aji over sakura wood chips.  I think I am becoming more proficient at calculating cure concentration, and curing and smoking times, and the fish came out very well (my last batch were under-cured and over-smoked).  Also I think I have settled on sakura for smoking this kind of oily fish as it is quite sweet and not too overpowering. 

For me, smoked fish means one thing: kedgeree.  This time, I did not have Indian rice at home so I had to make do with the rather sticky Japanese version.  It is a very simple recipe, as the rice and lentils go into the rice cooker and all that is left is to grill and shred a smoked fish and cut the accoutrements, boiled egg, raw green chilli and ginger.

Once the rice/lentil mix is done, it is ready to eat.  Sadly I do not have a chafing-pan, but the rice was indeed “baled down the throat with a spoon”.


13 responses to “Smoked aji

  1. The rice looks gorgeous! What colors the rice, is it the lentils?

  2. A healthy pinch of turmeric.

  3. Is there a video that shows how to split the aji? Also, are sakura wood chips
    available in the U.S.? I want to try to smoke those fish!

  4. Hi Jim,
    I am working on the video!
    Not sure about the availability of sakura wood chips in the US. I have found a similar flavour is achieved – though not perhaps so sweet – using beechwood. Also apple might be good.

  5. Greetings Adam,
    Thank you for the reply. Will thatvideo of splitting aji be on dvd? I,m an old guy who is not very good on the computer, so I don’t know how to “down-load”.
    I found a site, “” in Iga, Japan that carries sakura wood chips, but it is $8.00 for a 3.5 ounce bag. That sounds expensive to me. Do you have any suggestions, or is that a fair rate?
    I very much appreciate your website, am looking forward to exploring all it has to offer, and am very envious of the fishing! Here in Alaska, it is pretty much limited to salmon, halibut and cod. Not bad, but….

  6. Hi Jim,
    I have had several requests for posting an aji-slicing video on my blog (I have so far done them for goby and whiting only). I just need to get round to videoing it.
    Yes that sounds expensive. I usually use wood chips made by a company called Soto; they cost 450 yen per 500g bag at my local DIY store. I buy beechwood chips made by the same company online from Japanese Amazon, as it is not usually stocked in most stores.

  7. Greetings Adam,
    I looked up Soto on Japanese Amazon, but its site is in Japanese and I do not speak or read Japanese. I am thinking about contacting Amazon to see if they can set me up with a contact for Japanese Amazon. However, if it would not be an imposition, could you contact JA to find out if sakura wood chips are even among the products they ship internationally? I would very much appreciate that effort.
    Where on your site are the goby and whiting splitting videos?
    And, I did ask if your secret tartar sauce recipe is really “secret”.

  8. Jim,
    It appears you can buy the chips online from Japan, from the site Rakuten:
    Also I am pretty sure you can browse Japanese Amazon in English, there usually is a button in the top right of the homepage that says “In English”.
    And yes, the tartare sauce recipe really is a secret!

  9. Greetings Adam,
    I mentioned on the aji haul page that I located the goby and whiting videos. I am interested in that knife style. Is it a Tsukiji Masamoto? When you say kodeba, what size is it?
    In the cooking tag, toward the end, are those whole, breaded and fried fish, whiting? I may try to find them in a Japanese market in Anchorage, as the whiting I am familiar with are considerably larger and I believe they would present a serious pin-bone problem.

  10. Hi Jim,
    The blade of the knife is 12.5cm long. It is made by a company called Kikusue.
    Yes the Japanese whiting is S. japonica, which grows to about 25cm in these waters (more in Kyushu) and the ones you catch regularly tend to be less than 20cm. Related species in other parts of the world – like the King George whiting – grow much bigger and I can see the pin bones being a nuisance. These can be plucked out with a pair of tweezers, like you would for sashimi, I suppose. Then again, I have grilled or shallow-fried fillets of rainbow trout 30cm or more without removing the pin bones and haven’t really noticed them.

  11. Greetings Adam,
    I learn more from you every time. I found your site about the kitchen knives because I was looking on the web for Kikusue. Much there to maintain interest.
    I am smoking some cod today. It is quite cool here (+22F.), so I will probably have the heat on for 5 hours before I apply wood for smoke for an hour. The pieces are mostly from the loin, about 2 1/2 inches long, but some pieces from the belly if they are thick enough.
    I saw some pictures of you with cod, and I thought I’d ask if you had ever tried to smoke it. If not, I think you’d like it.

  12. Hi Jim,
    No I haven’t tried smoking cod, but it sounds very good. Next time I head up north – for I have to travel 500km north to Iwate to catch cod – I will try to reserve some to give it a go. It is rare my cod survives past the first day though, usually it ends up as fish and chips straight away.

  13. Greetings Adam,
    How long before your fishing season starts? I plan on an ice fishing trip about 200 miles to the east and north of here, but will wait til mid-March when the daylight is considerably longer.
    You need to be very careful when brining cod. I use 1 cup salt and 1 cup light brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Brine the pieces no longer than 30 minutes as there is considerable shrinkage of the flesh which condenses the salt.
    I use beechwood. I would have tried sakura, but it doesn’t look like that is going to work out. Rakuten has not been very positive in my dealings with them.

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