Renga Kaisendon

It’s Easter season and Sham El Nessim is just around the corner. This year I am presenting you with a dish that brings together both Egyptian and Japanese culture (as most of my dishes do…).

Sham El Nessim is a a traditional Egyptian feast where salted fish is the highlight. Smoked Herring, known in Egypt as “Renga” is one of my absolute favorites. It has a deep smokey flavor and doesn’t smell too fermented as it’s more aggressively aged cousin, known as “Feseekh”. If you are into old, smelly cheeses then there’s a chance you would prefer Feseekh over Renga.

The salting and fermentation of fish is no strange concept to Japanese culture. In fact, this was precisely the starting point of sushi as salt and rice were used to preserve fish for extended periods of time when fishing was not possible.

I have recently been approached by the lovely team of CBC Sofra’s Radwa el Sherbiny and asked to appear on her show with a Sham el Nessim recipe for her audience. (link to follow once the episode has aired) So, I decided to make something I am very familiar with in my own home. The Renga Kaisendon is a dish that I came up with over 5 or 6 years ago but never really got a chance to share it. Kaisendon is a classic Japanese rice bowl topped with fresh or lightly marinated fish. The very salty flavor of the Renga pairs perfectly with the neutral taste of steamed white rice! I also added some fresh herb, ginger and spring onion to further combine both traditions for eating this special pair of ingredients. The avocado is optional and doesn’t really fit in any of the two cultures of origin, but I find it adds a nice creamy touch to the overall mouthfull.

Happy Easter! Kol sana wento tayebeen and I hope you will enjoy my Renga Kaisendon this season!

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