Satsuma-age (薩摩揚げ) is a fried fishcake originating from Kagoshima, Japan. Surimi and flour is mixed to make a compact paste that is solidified through frying. It is a specialty of the Satsuma region. It is known by a variety of regional names throughout Japan.
The paste is made from fish and seasoned with salt, sugar, and other spices and molded into several shapes. It is made not only from ground fish but can include wood ear, beni shōga, onion, Welsh onion and other vegetables, squid, octopus, shrimp and other sea foods, and some spices. In fishing villages, it is made from local fishes, for example sardines, shark, bonito or mackerel. it is often made by mixing two or more kinds of fish.
People eat Satsuma-age plain or lightly roasted and dipped in ginger and soy sauce or mustard and soy sauce. It is used in oden, udon, sara udon or nimono (stewed dishes).
Commonly Satsuma-age used cod as a filling; however, as cod stocks have been depleted other varieties of white fish are used, such as haddock or whiting. Satsuma-age may use oily fish such as salmon for a markedly different flavour.
The fish used to make surimi (Japanese: 擂り身, literally "ground meat") include:
There are varied histories of Satsuma-age, but the most famous birthplace is the Satsuma district in Kagoshima. It is said that, in about 1864, the Shimazu clan brought it to Satsuma from Okinawa through some exchange and invasion. In those days, Okinawans called fried-boiled fish paste chigiage. After it was brought to Kagoshima, it was produced as tsukiage and selected as one of the best 100 local dishes.
Depending on the region, the dish is known under different names. In Tōhoku and the Kantō region it is called "Satsuma-age" after its place of origin in Kagoshima. In the Chubu region it is known as "Hanpen". Hokkaido and west Japan people call it "Tempura" (different from Tempura). In Kyushu and Okinawa, this dish is called "Tempura", "Tsukeage" or "Chikiagi".