Fugu is a puffer fish delicacy eaten in Japan which, if prepared incorrectly, can be deadly to eat. This is because there are toxic parts of the poison tetrodotoxin in the fish’s organs which neat to be prepared properly in order to prevent it from contaminating the meat.
There are always those who cannot resist the temptation of trying fugu and who, despite lacking experience, prepare their fugu themselves. Whilst fugu is certainly one of the most unusual delicacies in the world, it is advised not to add it to your bucket list unless you are certain it is prepared safely.
The very daring will find a special attraction in eating the liver of all things because it is so wonderfully fat and smooth and is therefore particularly tasty. However, this is the part full of poison and the Japanese consciously accept food poisoning when eating it.
In the province of Ishikaga, the ovaries are also dried and inserted. It is said that this is supposed to dilute the poison and then make the organ edible as a particularly delicious delicacy.
What Happens if you Eat the Poison of Fugu?
The poison affects the nerves. At first there is a numb feeling on the tongue and hands until the whole body becomes numb and paralyzed. This can lead to cardiac arrest.
There is no antidote for the poison and since the year 2000, 23 people have died from eating fugu according to government sources.
Before we begin with the recipe, it’s very important to note that this dish should only be prepared by highly specialized, licensed chefs in Japan, and as such, it is not recommended to be prepared at home. Please proceed carefully below and treat this recipe only for curiosity purposes if you’re not a licenced expert.
Origin & Cultural Significance
There was a time when it was forbidden to eat fugu in Japan. When the shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi rounded up soldiers to attack Korea in the 17th century, many of his men are said to have died. Not because of enemy hands, but because they ate fugu in Shimonoseki.
Thereupon the shogun forbade the consumption of fugu fish. Hirobumi Ito, who became the first Prime Minister of Japan in 1885 and came from Shimonoseki, allowed his compatriots to enjoy the delicacy again.
“Fugu wa kuitashi, inochi wa oshishi”, which translates to “I want to eat fugu, but I am attached to my life”, is a traditional Japanese saying. In order to stay alive, the cutting of the fish is crucial. The ovaries and liver are particularly dangerous, as they contain the poison tetrodotoxin, or TTX for short. But there are differences among the more than 20 edible fugu species.
- Fugu or puffer fish
- Peel the fish skin carefully by forming a cut around the mouth. This fish has no scales.
- Using salt, thoroughly and delicately wash the fish and remove the eyes during the process.
- Gut the fish using a sharp knife. It’s extremely important to be extra careful around the liver and the ovary region. A slight cut will make the poison escape out of the fish.
- On a clean board, cut along the bone and form rectangular slices.
- To prepare stew, cut the head into pieces and boil.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 0.25gCarbohydrates: 0.16gProtein: 16g