Mild in taste with a pleasantly grainy texture, deep-fried shishamo are a perfect vehicle for a sauce of your choosing. A light ponzu (our sauce of choice) is nicely balanced, and doesn't overwhelm the taste of the fish.
- About 10 ounces shishamo or other smelt fish
- 1/2 cup flour, for dusting
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- At least 3 cups oil, for frying
- For the dipping sauce:
- 1 cup dashi soup stock
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Sections of lemon, for squeezing over fish
Wash and dry the fish. In a medium size bowl, combine the flour and the salt.
Place dashi, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar in a small sauce pan and mix well. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer and stir, dissolving sugar. Let cool and set aside.
In wok, heat oil to about 350 F. Have ready a plate lined with paper towels, and the dipping sauce at hand. Lightly dredge each fish in the bowl of flour and salt, shaking off excess salt. Deep-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until skin is golden brown. Place the fried fish on the paper towels to soak up oil, then eat immediately with sauce and sections of lemon.
Wok or other vessel for deep-frying