Satsumaage is another term for agekamboboko, or fried fish-paste loaf. The loaf can contain many different kinds of fish, both light and dark. And of course, there are regional specialties. Most often shark is the main ingredient. The term Satsuma refers to its connection to the Satsuma Family Clan, and, more specifically, Nariakira Shimazu, who around 1846 encouraged exchange with the Ryukyu Kingdom, now known as Okinawa and its associated islands. The Ryukyu Kingdom shared much exchange with China, incorporating many cooking techniques into the culture. Among them was the notion of deep frying and the development of certain types of fish balls, a popular cooking item in China. From this exotic origin springs the satsumaage. (Serves 2-3)
2 pieces satsumaage
7 to 10 small slices mochi
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 (2- x 1-inch) slices cheese that melts easily (mild cheddar jack, for example)
Chopped green onions (for garnish)
1. Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the satsumaage and mochi slices. Brown on both sides.
2. Once the mochi and satsumaage are browned, reduce heat to low, add the soy sauce, and stir quickly to ensure that it is incorporated. Add a dash of water, so that the soy sauce does not begin to burn.
3. Once the mixture begins to caramelize, top the satsumaage and mochi with cheese, and melt. After the cheese has melted, carefully flip each piece cheese sides down, and brown the cheese. (Be careful of burning.)
4. Once the cheese has browned and melted to a satisfactory degree, remove the satsumaage and mochi from the pan, and top with green onions. You may cut the satsumaage into bite-size half moons, if desired.