Get Familiar with a Variety of Traditional Japanese Crackers [Senbei]

For centuries Japanese Senbei has been enjoyed. It was introduced in Japan during Tang Dynasty via China. Early days Senbei was made from potato with cake-like texture. Contemporary Senbei is made from roasted rice. In eastern Kanto, dough is prepared from rice flour [non-glutinous] and flat discs are made. These are roasted or baked over a flame. In western Kansai, glutinous rice is used to make crackers.

If you want to try Senbei then order Bokksu subscription box. It is sold in the supermarket, departmental stores, and street food stands.

Different kinds of toasted Japanese crackers

Classic flavors

  • Shoyu – Rice cracker is dipped in or brushed with soy sauce, as they get toasted on the flame. It offers them deep savory flavor and wonderful aroma.
  • Nori – Toasted rice crackers are wrapped in thin sheet of nori [dried seaweed]. It is also made by mixing powdered or shredded nori pieces in the rice dough prior baking.
  • Togarashi – Spicy food fans find togarashi a favorite. The rice crackers get coated heavily with chilli flakes and powder, after toasting. Flavor is very spicy!
  • Kuro Goma – Black sesame seed is added to the rice flour dough. You get a delicious and nutty senbei with attractive speckled surface.
  • Ika – Grilled squid is mixed with binding agent and baked flat. A whole squid can be placed on rice cracker surface and baked. Ika cracker has striking appearance and tastes delicious.
  • Ebi – Finely minced shrimp is added to the rice flour dough, prior baking. Shrimp color adds red and pink threads to toasted Senbei.
  • Kuromame – Cooked black beans are added to rice flour dough. The rice cracker is a little thicker than other kinds.
  • Zarame – Zarame sugar has large crystals, so sugared rice crackers are made from them.

Regional varieties

  • Nure – In the Chiba region, nuri rice cracker is a wet type. During cooking, it is dipped in the soy sauce, so it becomes chewy and moist.
  • Mentaiko – It is a popular cracker of the Fukuoka Mentaiko is kind of spicy fish roe. Mentaiko is mixed in the rice dough, so spicy and salty flavor gets well-merged, while baking.
  • Kare or curry – Rice cracker is from Hokkaido region and is made to pair with popular curry shop. Japanese curry is mild and sweet than curries in Thai or India but are aromatic and spiced up well. They taste awesome with toasted senbei.

Other senbei

  • Arare – The shape of Arare sensbei is small and it is roasted on flame. Arare are available in different shapes like seed or tiny stars. They can be combined with wasabi peas to make popular snacks.
  • Kawara – These are sweet crackers that are enjoyed with coffee or tea. Eggs, sugar and flour are used to make kawara. It is a cookie wafer rather than rice cracker. Kawara means tiles in Japan. Original kawara were made in roof tile shapes used in homes. Today, you get them in variety of patterns, decorations, and shapes.
  • Hone – A popular bar snack made from eel left over or fish’s spine bone. The bones are deep fried till they become crispy and then seasoned. These are enjoyed with Japanese sake.

Flavor and aroma of toasted and hot sensbei is irresistible!

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