Tazukuri is quick and super easy to prepare, and keeps well in the refrigerator for weeks. (Not that it ever lasts that long in our home!) It's one of the Osechi Ryori New Year side dishes, but it also makes a tasty and healthy snack that can be enjoyed anytime, on it's own or as a side dish in a meal with rice.
The name "tazukuri" means "making rice fields". Anciently, these tiny dried fish were used as fertilizer in rice fields and helped to bring in an "abundant harvest". This has become the symbolic reason they are part of the New Year celebration.
Our family all love the little dried fish even without cooking them, so making them into Tazukuri just makes them disappear even faster! I think the addition of walnuts is a relatively recent thing, not everyone adds them, but we love walnuts, so in they go~
100g Small Dried Fish
4 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp Sake
2 Tbsp Shoyu
A sprinkling of Sesame Seeds (optional)
A small handful of walnuts (optional)
1. Toast walnuts by placing them in a frypan and gently heat, stirring, until fragrant. Tip onto a plate.
2. Wipe frypan clean, then toast dried fish in a similar manner until crispy. Tip onto a plate.
3. Wipe frypan again, then place sugar, mirin, sake and shoyu in frypan over low heat and swirl to dissolve sugar. Gently bring to the boil, simmer 1 min, then remove from heat.
4. Add fish, walnuts and sesame seeds to the frypan, toss to coat well.
5. Tip onto an oiled plate and toss again. (The oil is just to prevent too much stickiness)
In our osechi ryori box, top right corner: