Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kaki No Tane ("Persimmon Seeds" Sembei) with Peanuts

This is another one of those snacks that I have seen for years in Japan and never bothered to buy. A big reason for this is that most of the time kaki no tane (kaki = persimmon, no = of, tane = seed) is sold in fairly large quantities. I'm sure there are small packs around, but I just never went out of my way to find them. This is the sort of snack that people buy for their families to nosh on, perhaps while watching television.

There are many companies that produce these. Mine just happened to be made by a company with no on-line profile named Sweet Box, Inc. (株式会社スイートボックス). I found this at the 99 yen shop and figured that this was a relatively small bag and cheap so it was past time to try this well-known and oft-enjoyed savory snack. These are frequently eaten with beer or other alcoholic beverages and are part of the category of snacks to be eaten with alcohol called otsumami.

The bag is 150 grams and contains 6 packets. Each packet is 120 calories. There are generous amounts of peanuts in each bag and that's what you smell when you open a packet. The sembei doesn't really carry much of a scent.

The little slivers of sembei are slick and shiny. They taste like plain sembei, but carry some heat. The heat isn't present on the first bite, but comes cumulatively and as an aftertaste. The peanuts are blanched so they just carry a nice peanut flavor with no heavy roasted or burnt flavors. The sembei is quite crispy and the entire mix isn't salted. The ingredients include peanuts, rice, starch, soy sauce, sugar, dried bonito extract, hydrolyzed protein, salt, sea tangle extract, seasoning, sorbitol, paprika color, caramel color, and spices extract. I'm guessing their savory nature comes from the soy sauce mainly, but also whatever spices are in the final extract.

These are very good, even for someone who isn't mad about sembei like me. I love the mix of the peanuts with the crispy and very mildly hot little pieces of sembei. Even though this was a very cheap brand made by a no name company, it seems very well-made and fresh tasting. This is a snack I'll definitely pick up again some time, particularly at 16 yen per serving.


Helen said...

My husband just loves these! I'm slightly allergic to peanuts so I never bother with them, but he'll go through quite a few packets a night with his beer.

I don't see the attraction myself, but they are really popular in my little abode!

Orchid64 said...

I think that the texture and the slight spiciness are what sell me. They are really crispy and I'm a fan of anything nutty or hot. Last night, I was dousing some Spanish rice with habanero sauce and wondering if I should add more sauce even though my mouth was on fire!

I don't think the kaki no tane are over the moon great, but I did enjoy them as a modest snack and didn't feel quite as bad about eating them as I might chips (if for no other reason than they have peanuts which are arguably not the worst thing you can eat).

Thanks for your comment!

Bryan said...

Oh man, these are my favorite - and you're right, they're awesome with beer especially while watching a hockey game on TV. =) I actually have never bought them in a large bag - they sell them at Marukai over here in 6-packs.

I like the small packs because they control portions and also it tends to last longer and not get stale. It's great to tide you over until the next meal, I take 2 packs along whenever we hit the flea market. Only thing is that eating them makes a very strong smell that causes other shoppers to stare sometimes, haha!

Orchid64 said...

I think the smell is one of the things that turned me off a bit to these for a long time. It is distinctive, but not unpleasant or anything.

Though are you sure they're staring? They might be turning in awe and saying, "hey, isn't that Internet psuedo-celebrity Brian from Cheap Eats and Cheaplander"? ;-)

Kelly said...

My husband loves these too Helen, but he loves the Wasabi flavour! I buy it for him for a special treat now and then.

I also got him some white chocolate kaki no tane a while back which as bizarre as it sounds was actually quite nice...

I don't mind kaki no tane, because they have the peanuts, so it's a nice savoury munch-a-thon. I guess i'm more attracted to Japanese snacks than western snacks because they are more to my taste.

claire ridgeon said...

Where can I buy or order on line someone gave me some from Japan and have just left me wanting more plz help me xx

Orchid64 said...

Claire: You can't buy this particular kaki no tane brand in the U.S., but you can buy another version at Walmart (and it's called Kaki no tane in English, too). I don't know if you have Walmart where you live, but that's the easiest way to get it that I know of outside of Japan.