How to Prepare Botanebi (ぼたんえび) for Nigiri Sushi

48356541221_82238482b1_k

In season during autumn and spring, Botanebi, or Pandelus Nipponesis, are shrimp that live at depths between 300 to 500 metres. The highest quality Botanebi are caught in the cold waters of Hokkaido, where they taste the sweetest.

Just like Amaebi, Botanebi are sweet and typically served raw as nigiri. Similarly, they start off as males and ultimately change sex into females in order to maximise their reproductive potential. The same method as Amaebi can be used to determine their freshness. Their flesh should be firm and not slimy. Furthermore, their head should be pinkish-red with no black spots, with the head of the prawn becoming darker and darker as the shrimp goes bad.

48372229467_03d378f7e8_k
The last Botanebi at the bottom is less fresh than the rest as can be seen from the darker head.

Botanebi is large enough to be served on a single nigiri but is butterflied along the back, allowing it to spread out and coat the rice. This is in contrast to Kuruma ebi, which is cut along the front. This is because Kuruma ebi is cooked, which means the flesh has tightened. If cut from the back like Botanebi, the flesh would not spread out.

Preperation of Botanebi (ぼたんえび):

48356616647_762661fcb5_k

Begin by removing the head of the shrimp.

48356504391_5efa56c87e_k

Peel away the shell but leave on the tail end for presentation.

48356649237_76272723a8_k

Make a small cut along the back of the shrimp, butterflying it in order to allow it to spread over the rice.

48356532681_62fe89994d_k

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s