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The Best Ika no Shiokara (Salt Preserved Squid)

The Best Ika no Shiokara (Salt Preserved Squid)

I made gourmet ika no shiokara (salt-preserved squid) using just the body of the squid, omitting the legs and fins. I've also included instructions for cutting up a whole squid, for people who have only bought pre-sliced sashimi squid up until now. Sashimi also tastes better if you cut it up yourself.

Ingredients: 1 week's worth

Surume squid
3 large
Salt
as needed

Steps

1. Use the freshest surume squid you can get! The one on the right in the photo that looks fatter than the other one is actually still alive. The one on the left that looks thinner has died and is going into rigor mortis. After some time, the squid will loosen up again and become like the one on the right, but it won't have the same color and translucency as a live squid.
2. Remove the guts along with the legs, so as not to damage the inside of the body. Remove the cartilage in the back of the body too, taking care not to break it off.
3. Take out the sacs, taking care not to break any of it. The thin skin is still on the body, but this will be removed later.
4. Use the best quality natural salt you can get, and salt the squid generously. Leave for 1 and a half to 2 hours!
5. Scrape off as much of the salt as possible, then rinse the squid in sake or shochu to remove more of the saltiness.
6. The squid sacs are covered with a thin membrane, so peel this off with your hands (see photo). Crush the insides of the sacs (the "liver") and mix well, and salt with high quality natural salt. Since the squid is already salted, add salt while tasting! You can always add more later, so be sparing with the salt at this stage! The marinating liquid is finished!
7. Next we'll deal with the squid bodies. Peel the fins off carefully, and then pull off the skin starting from the top of the bodies in one go. Be careful not to peel off any of the body when you take the fins off.
8. Peel the skins off in straight strips to the end. Place the squid body on a cutting board with the side that you started to peel facing down.
9. Holding the pointed bottom of the body lightly, pull the skin up carefully to remove it. If you try to peel it off the other way it is harder to get off, so pay attention here.
10. A little bit of skin will remain on the edge, so cut about 5mm to 1cm off. Use this with the legs and fins for another dish.
11. Slice open the body as shown, and remove any traces of the guts carefully. Wipe clean with paper towels or kitchen towels. Peel off any thin membrane as much as possible. The more of this you take off, the better the results will be.
12. Slice the squid vertically then cut into thin strips as shown. I cut the squid in the photo into 6 pieces since it was quite big, but with a normal sized squid I think 4 slices is better.
13. Put the sliced squid sashimi from Step 12 in the marinating liquid you made in Step 6 and marinate. From about the 3rd day on, it will taste like shiokara, but it will taste good even right after it's mixed together! Adjust the salt to taste. You can add some miso or mirin if you like too.
14. The ideal ratio is to have about 3 squid worth of guts to 2.5 squid worth of the body, so use the leftover 1/2 body in squid with natto (in the photo) and so on. Or you can just eat it as-is with some wasabi soy sauce.
15. The legs and fins are not used in this shiokara. They are delicious as tempura (kakiage), or chopped up and made into fried burgers that kids love.

Story Behind this Recipe

I make this every time I go fishing and catch some surume squid.