First, let’s prepare the sardine fillet. With a paper towel, remove the excess moisture thoroughly. Remove the tail fin.
Check out the skin-side and you’ll see this back fin.
To remove this, cut out the middle of the fillet lengthwise.
Then, cut the fillet into 4 pieces.
Next, mince the umeboshi, pickled plum with a knife until it turns into a paste.
Cover the sardines with the umeboshi paste evenly.
Then, coat them with the mayonnaise.
Now, place each fillet onto a shiso leaf in a tray.
Wrap the fillet with the shiso and place them with the seam-side down.
Sprinkle any type of wheat flour on both sides of the shiso wrapped sardines.
And now, let’s make the batter. Put 2 tablespoons of ice water into a bowl.
Combine the flour and potato or corn starch and add it to the ice water.
Leave some pockets of flour in the batter and avoid overmixing. This will help the batter to have a crispy texture.
Drop a small bit of batter into the oil to check if the temperature has reached about 170 °C (340 °F).
Now, coat each sardine with the batter.
And place the sardines into the oil.
When the outside begins to get crispy, flip the pieces over.
Deep-fry them until they are lightly colored.
Remove the Shiso Wrapped Sardines and place them onto a cooling rack.
Arrange the pieces in a basket. Finally, garnish with the momiji leaves and the lemon wedge.
Those who don't like the taste of umeboshi may still enjoy this dish.
Using ice water and a small amount of potato starch for the batter will help make the outside crispy.
If sardines are not available, try beef, pork, chicken or other types of fish for this recipe.
Please check out our Sardine Tsumire-jiru recipe to fillet the sardine.