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 package hanpen (Japanese fish cake) (120 grams)
- 2 slices Kraft Singles American Cheese
- ½ 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.
- You can find hanpen in Japanese supermarkets in the fridge section. I got mine from Mitsuwa Marketplace.
- 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.
- If you want to eat fried hanpen cheese in Los Angeles, go to Furaibo.
Amy Tong says
This Hanpen Cheese sounds fun and delicious. I love Furibu too but haven’t been there for a while. Don’t think I’ve ever try this Hanpen Cheese there before! Oh, what have I missed out! Guess I’ll need to give your grilling version a try (as I don’t usually deep fry at home.) Thanks for sharing.
My husband and I sometimes order 2 portions of hanpen cheese at Furibo, because we love it too much! Remember to order it next time you go. But for now, you can try this version at home. 🙂
I have never ever heard of this before! Must look out at my local Japanese grocer though I suspect they may not carry it. I couldn’t even find yuzu. 🙁
Hanpen cheese may sound really weird, but I know you will like it after your try it. Hope you can find it, Jayne. It should be placed next to all those fish balls in a Japanese supermarket. Good luck!
lisa lawless (@lisaiscooking) says
I’ve never seen this before, and I love learning new things! I’ll be looking for it now.
I am glad to hear that I introduce you to something new! Hope you can find hanpen and you will like it!
BIJOY V M says
I am not still clear what is the procedure for preparing HANPEN. If anybody knows, can you give a reply ?
Hello! So you just cut the hanpen in half diagonally (to make 2 triangles). Then cut to make a pocket in each triangle, so you can put cheese inside. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions.