Ankimo, also known as monkfish liver, is a delicacy in Japanese cuisine. It is made from the liver of the monkfish, which is prized for its rich and creamy texture. Ankimo is often served as an appetizer or in sushi restaurants as a sushi topping. The traditional method of preparing ankimo involves simmering the liver and then marinating it in a soy sauce-based mixture. In this guide, I will explain in detail how to cook ankimo to perfection.
- 1 fresh monkfish liver (about 500 grams)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sake
- 1 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
1. Cleaning the monkfish liver:
- Start by rinsing the monkfish liver under cold running water to remove any impurities.
- Pat dry with a paper towel and carefully remove any blood vessels or membranes from the liver using a pair of tweezers or a sharp knife. This step is important to ensure the final dish has a smooth texture.
2. Preparing the steamer:
- Fill a large pot or steamer with water and bring it to a boil.
- Place the monkfish liver on a heatproof plate and set it inside the steamer.
- Cover the steamer with a lid and steam the liver for about 25-30 minutes until it becomes firm and cooked through.
3. Making the marinade sauce:
- In a separate saucepan, combine the water, sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and grated ginger.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the marinade cool to room temperature.
4. Marinating the ankimo:
- Once the steamed monkfish liver has cooled down, carefully remove it from the steamer and place it in a shallow dish.
- Pour the cooled marinade sauce over the liver, making sure it is completely submerged.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 to 24 hours. This allows the monkfish liver to absorb the flavors from the marinade.
5. Serving the ankimo:
- After marinating, remove the ankimo from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before serving.
- To serve, slice the ankimo into thin rounds, similar to how you would slice sushi.
- It can be enjoyed as is or served with a garnish of grated daikon radish, thinly sliced green onions, and wasabi.
- When choosing a monkfish liver, look for one that is fresh and has a firm texture. Avoid livers that have a strong fishy smell or feel mushy.
- If you're having difficulty finding fresh monkfish liver, you can substitute it with frozen liver, which is more readily available.
- Ankimo is typically served chilled, but you can also lightly sear the slices in a hot pan before serving if you prefer a slightly caramelized exterior.
- Leftover ankimo can be stored in the marinade for up to a week in the refrigerator.
In conclusion, cooking ankimo may seem intimidating at first, but with the right ingredients and techniques, you can recreate this exquisite Japanese delicacy at home. The process involves cleaning the liver, steaming it, preparing the marinade, and letting it marinate for a significant amount of time. The result is a silky and flavorful dish that is sure to impress your guests or satisfy your own cravings. Enjoy the delicate flavors of ankimo and experience the unique taste of this Japanese delicacy!