Japan – Satsuma-age

by Zayna Khan

Satsuma-age is a Japanese fish cake that is actually a fish meat patty that is fried and served. Surimi is actually a paste formed of seafood meat and when mixed with white flour, then formed a solid patty. This patty is ready to fry and serve. This dish is more like a deep-fried fish patty but the way of making and using different ingredients make it more like a fish cake or cutlet. This is very delicious fast food made up of seafood. The cooking technique is quite unique in the sense that first fish meat is cook and mashed to form a paste-like texture. Then this paste is seasoned with herbs, spices, and flour. Then solid cutlets are formed to fry them.

Satsuma-age is made up of any seafood meat but most commonly used meat is fish. So in that case, we can called Satsuma-age, a fish cake. We can mix two or three kind of fish meat, or mix seafood like fish, octopus, squid, etc. The seasoning is very basic and pure to get the actual flavors and aroma of the specific dish.


We can call this dish a fish cake that means if fish is the ingredient used in this dish and then fried like a fish cake. The physical appearance and the main element of the dish are like an original fish cake, we can call them a fish cake.

Fish cake is basically a fish fillet or grounded fish meat that formed into a flat patty shape. This fillet or patty is coated with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs then fried. The appearance of the fish cake is like a fried fish, its taste is almost the same.

Fried fish is more different in the sense of outer coating and seasoning. This satsuma-age is like solid fish meat paste seasoned with desirable herbs and spices. Then a flat-shaped patty is formed by adding flour to maintain the consistency of the paste and so that it may hold the shape of the satsuma-age. Then coat it with eggs, bread crumbs, and fried. By frying in the deep oil, we can get the same appearance as the fish cake. So it is also known by the name fish cake.

The only different is in the cooking procedure to make this dish is formation of surimi.


Surimi is actually a paste made up of ground meat like seafood, chicken, etc. This is prepared by cooking meat with water and some salt until they tendered and soft enough. Then it is mashed and blend into a paste form. This paste is seasoned with spices, salt, some vegetables like onions, spring onions, carrots, capsicum, etc and white flour is added to make a thick moisture-free paste. The paste of the meat must is tough by adding flour to absorb the water into the meat.

Now, this thick compound paste is turned into any shape. Satsuma-age is a flat patty, so this paste is turned into a flat cutlet shape. This is coated with eggs, flour, breadcrumbs, and deep-fried.

Surimi is usually prepared from crab meat to make crab sticks, fried crab, etc. Sometimes, color is added to the surimi paste to get the exotic effect to the dish. If you are using crab meat in the surimi paste for an amazing dish, orange color is added to mimic the meat where it comes from.

There are different types of surimi cooked and sold in Japan for different dishes like:

  • Pork surimi
  • Beef surimi
  • Chicken surimi
  • Crab surimi
  • Salmon surimi, etc


There are some stewed dishes from which surimi is dipped. Many sauces like soya sauce, ginger sauce, mirin, sake usually have this fried satsuma-age dipped in them. Following are the stewed version of satsuma-age :


This is a dashi stock in which soya sauce is added and cooked with vegetables and meat pieces. Sometimes, cooked satsuma-age is added to this stew. This gives a very flavorful and aromatic texture to the dish.

Vegetables, eggs, meat pieces, satsuma-age, fish cakes are added to dashi broth and cook them together for this amazing dish, oden.


Udon is stewed noodles into chicken dashi broth with meat and vegetables. Udon is Japanese comfort food having all the elements like vegetables, meat, wheat noodles into the soup. This is a very flavorful and nutritious food. To get exotic flavors, satsuma-age, Abura-age, tempura, prawns, fritters are added into udon.

Elements of udon are :

  • Noodles
  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Broth


Nimono is a stewed simmer dish in which Shiru stock is the main base of the dish. This dish has also many other sauces that must be added on like mirin, sake, soya sauce, miso, vinegar, etc.

Fish, vegetables, potatoes, yam, meat, eggs are added into this stew and cook until thick and serve.


There are different seafood used to add into the surimi to get that seafood amazing taste and texture. There are following fish types and seafood add in satsuma-age :

  • Cod
  • salmon
  • Haddock
  • White fish
  • oily fish
  • Crab
  • Tuna
  • Black bass
  • Tilapia, etc


HIRATEN : Flat cutlet shape of satsuma age, fish cake.

HONEKU : Short version Honekeri Tempura, Cutlass fish Satsuma-age.

GANSU : White Fish kind of cutlets

IKATEN : Squid wrapped Satsuma-age.

GOBOUTEN : Rounded Burdock wrapped sticks.


Surimi preparations

  • Pollock fillet : 200 grams
  • White fish : 200 grams
  • Kosher salt : 1 teaspoon
  • Sake : 2 tablespoons
  • Rice vinegar : 2 tablespoons
  • Ginger crushed : 1 tablespoon
  • Eggs : 2
  • White flour : 2 tablespoons
  • Corn starch : 2 tablespoons
  • Olive oil / canola oil : 4 tablespoons

Additional vegetables

  • Onions : 1/2 cup
  • Mushrooms : 2/3 cup
  • Corns : 1/4 cup
  • Peas : 1/4 cup


  • Salt : 1 teaspoon
  • Katsuobushi : 2 tablespoons
  • Shichimi : 1 tablespoons
  • Oil : for frying


  • Eggs : 2
  • Breadcrumbs : 1 cup


  • Take fish in a cooking pot and steam it until it tender and cooked properly. You can boil fish in water but steaming is much more preferable for satsuma-age.
  • Now when fish is cooked properly, take fish with all surimi spices and ingredients together and mashed them preperly.
  • The combination of cooked fish with white flour, corn starch, eggs, spices makes it more like paste consistency.
  • This paste is known as surimi, cooked fish with spices and flour to make it thick tough paste.
  • Cook vegetables in steam so we can add it into the surimi paste.
  • Now add cooked vegetables into surimi and our satsuma-age batter is ready to shape.
  • We can shape it into flat patty, as a traditional satsuma-age shape.
  • Now coat it into eggs and into breadcrumbs.
  • Heat the oil and fry them to get exact light golden color.
  • Serve and ENJOY 🙂
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