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Kamaboko Dip

A fun appetizer and dip to share! Made from kamaboko (fish cake), cream cheese, mayonnaise, and popular pantry items. Pair with crackers or chips.

A serving dish of Kamaboko Dip and Ritz Crackers on the side.
Kamaboko Dip, ready to eat. Serve with Ritz Crackers ^_^

Kamaboko Dip

Hooray for Kamaboko Dip!

You know all the popular dips…spinach dip, crab dip, 7-layer dip? Well in Hawaii we have Kamaboko Dip. It is onolicious.

Kamaboko (steamed Japanese fish cake) is the foundation of the dip. It’s mixed with cream cheese, mayonnaise, water chestnuts, green onions, dashi powder, and sea salt to form a creamy, savory dip (with a bit of a crunch!)

We always pair this dip with Ritz Crackers ^_^

Containers of Kamaboko Dip sold at Costco Hawaii
Kamaboko Dip at Costco Hawaii (Waipio location)

Kamaboko Dip In Hawaii

99% of the time when you eat kamaboko dip in Hawaii, it will be at a family or friends gathering like a party or potluck. Guarantee someone (usually your auntie or friend’s mom) will bring a nice big serving of kamaboko dip and many of Ritz Crackers for dipping.

You can also buy kamaboko dip from places like Costco Hawaii. P.S. Definitely visit Costco Hawaii when you visit, our Costco locations carries many cool items that you won’t find at any other Costcos.

Ingredients for Kamaboko Dip: Kamaboko, mayonnaise, cream cheese, green onions, water chestnuts, Hondashi, and Ritz Crackers
Ingredients for Kamaboko Dip

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Kamaboko – Japanese steamed fish cake, sold in a log or black. More details on this below.
  • Cream Cheese – We like the Philadelphia brand.
  • Mayonnaise – We use Best Foods brand in Hawaii (we are crazy about Best Foods mayo on this island…more on this below!)
  • Water Chestnuts – Diced water chestnuts give a nice, bright crunch to this dip. Use the leftover water chestnuts to make Pork Hash.
  • Dashi Powder (or hondashi) – A tiny bit goes a long way. We alway keep a jar of dashi powder in the fridge because it can be used in so many other recipes like Scallops and Rice and Edamame and Hijiki Rice (both of which you can make directly in the rice cooker!), Hijiki Salad, Aburaage, and Simmered Daikon.
  • Sea Salt – Use Hawaiian sea salt if you can, but no worries if no can.
  • Green Onions
  • Ritz Crackers – You can use any chip or cracker to accompany this dip, but Ritz Crackers are the “traditional” pairing.
Ingredients for Kamaboko Dip: Kamaboko, mayonnaise, cream cheese, green onions, water chestnuts, Hondashi, and Ritz Crackers
Mixing the Kamaboko Dip

Method

This recipe require no actual cooking, and just 3 easy steps.

First Step. Grate (or finely chop) the kamaboko.

Second Step. Mix together in a mixing bowl: grated kamaboko, cream cheese, mayonnaise, diced water chestnuts, half the green onions, hondashi, and sea salt.

Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

Third Step. Remove from the refrigerator, top with the remaining green onions. Serve with Ritz Crackers (or any chip/cracker you prefer). Eat and enjoy ^_^

A plate of grated kamaboko
Grated kamaboko

Details, Details

Grating Versus Chopping Kamaboko
Definitely grate the kamaboko if you can.

Grating kamaboko can be a pain…be careful not to accidentally grate your fingers o_O. Why grate? Because it makes the kamaboko kind of sticky, and then it blends better with the other ingredients.

If you don’t have a grater (or don’t want to deal with cleaning it), just chop the kamaboko very, very finely. Chop it as tiny as you can get it.

Mixing The Green Onions
Some people like to mix all the green onions in at the beginning. You can do that, but it may make the dip a bit watery if you plan to keep it in the fridge for more than a day (eg. if you’re making the dip a day in advance for a party).

I like to mix half the green onions in at the beginning and save the other half to top the dip right before serving. It also looks much prettier this way.

A block of kamaboko
Block of Okuhara kamaboko

What Is Kamaboko?

Kamaboko is a steamed Japanese fish cake. It’s pink and white and typically sold as a log or block. These are several local Hawaii brands that make kamaboko including Amano and Okuhara (pictured above).

You can find kamaboko at all supermarkets in Hawaii…and even at Costco Hawaii and our local drugstore. On the mainland, you can find kamaboko at Japanese markets.

We usually slice kamaboko and serve it with saimin (try get the cute pink and white swirly design kamaboko if you’re using it for saimin!) We also use kamaboko in fried saimin and dry mein.

Best Foods Mayonnaise
Jar of Best Foods Mayonnaise

About The Mayonnaise

You can use any brand of mayonnaise you prefer, but in Hawaii we always use Best Foods Mayonnaise. It’s the same brand we use for our mac salad and basically anytime mayonnaise is featured in a local dish.

So if you want to nail the exact “local flavor” of this dish, do your best to get the Best Foods brand. Note: Best Foods is sold under the Hellmann’s name on east of the Rocky Mountains (so random!)

A serving dish of Kamaboko Dip and Ritz Crackers on the side.
Kamaboko Dip, ready to eat

Questions and Tips

How to serve this dip?

Serve this fish cake dip chilled. Serve it with chips or crackers to dip. Ritz Crackers are traditional, but this goes good with all chips or crackers! You can even use it as a sandwich spread or serve it with celery or carrot sticks.

How to store this dip?

Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

How long does this dip keep?

3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Any variations we can do on this dip?

Yes! A few ideas:
– Add minced red onions.
– Add sour cream (reduce the amount of cream cheese and mayonnaise accordingly).
– Replace the dashi powder with garlic salt.
– Omit the dashi powder entirely.

No kamaboko?

You’d think this kamaboko recipe would be impossible to make without the main ingredient… But! You can actually substitute some or all of the kamaboko with shredded imitation crab meat.

Spooning a forkful of Kamaboko dip onto a Ritz Cracker.
Dip (or spoon on) and eat!

Kamaboko Dip Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

A serving dish of Kamaboko Dip and Ritz Crackers on the side.

Kamaboko Dip

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A fun appetizer dip to share! Made from kamaboko (fish cake), cream cheese, and mayo, this dip features many popular pantry items. Ritz crackers are the traditional pairing, but feel free to use any chip or cracker. Serve chilled. Enjoy!

Instructions

    1. Grate (or very finely chop) the kamaboko.
    2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the grated kamaboko, cream cheese, mayonnaise, diced water chestnuts, half the green onions, dashi powder, and sea salt.
    3. Spoon into a serving bowl and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
    4. Top with the remaining green onions. Serve with Ritz Crackers (or any chip/cracker you like). Eat and enjoy! ^_^

Alan

Sunday 15th of November 2020

Wow! I had forgotten all about kamaboko dip! I haven't had that in over 40 years or so. That really brings back memories. I think I will make some for Thanksgiving next week. One more thing -- one of my favorite sandwiches many moons ago was to take the kamaboko dip but with red onions, and make a sandwich out of it. I really used to love that sandwich. I also used to make sandwiches out of canned red salmon and mayo, just like tuna instead I used canned salmon. Super Ono!!

Kathy

Sunday 15th of November 2020

Hi Alan! Same, same! I haven't had kamaboko dip for a long time. But then spotted it at Costco Waipio last week and all these memories came back! Love the idea of doing a sandwich with red onion. I know a few people who like to mince red onion real small and mix it into the dip for a bit of a bite. Cool idea with the canned salmon instead of tuna...we grew up with the tuna but I can see the salmon tasting super ono ^_^ - Kathy

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