What is hanpen? It is a Japanese fish cake with a mild taste. It is unlike any other fish cake or fish ball that I have ever tasted. Hanpen is really soft and fluffy. I know it may sound bad, but the texture is kind of like marshmallow. Trust me, it is incredible delicious!
I first tried hanpen at a Japanese restaurant called Furibo. They stuffed the hanpen with American cheese, wrapped them with seaweed, dipped in batter, and fried. The hot and gooey melted cheese oozed out from the soft and crispy fish cake. It is a dish that is hard to forget. I always crave for it. But luckily, I found hanpen in Japanese supermarket. Instead of frying it, I sear it with some garlic until golden brown. It makes a great appetizer or side dish.
Hanpen Cheese (Fish Cake with Cheese)
– 1 (120g) package hanpen (Japanese fish cake)
– 2 slices Kraft Singles American Cheese
– 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
– 1 garlic clove (minced)
- Take the cheese slices and cut them in half diagonally.
- Cut the hanpen in half diagonally. With a sharp knife, carefully cut a slit into the long edge of the triangle to form a pocket. Fit two slices of cheese into the pocket. Repeat with the other half of hanpen.
- In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the stuffed hanpen. Sear until golden brown on one side. Add the garlic and stir around. Turn the hanpen over and sear the other side until golden brown and the cheese is melted. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve immediately.
- Hanpen is already cooked, so all you want to do is heat through and give it a nice seared.
- If you do not want the cheese, you can just sear the hanpen with garlic. It is still very delicious.
Where can you get hanpen?
You can find them in Japanese supermarkets in the fridge section. I got mine from Mitsuwa Marketplace.
Want to eat the fried hanpen cheese?
Furaibo (2068 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025)