田作りtadzukuri means “building a rice paddy”, it’s the name of these baby caramelised fish served for Osechi Ryori. But such snacks are available year round.
It’s obviously made to favor an abundant production of rice. The slender fish look like a rice paddy in herb, in the making.
These small dried fish are called “gomame” (small beans).
NB : This is not the classic recipe. They do it with white sugar.
It’s simple. Take the gomame dry fish (and not the dust in the bottom of the pack) and roast them in a pan without anything, while stirring well during about 3 minutes. That won’t smell too good.
In another pan, heat very slowly 2 tbs of soy sauce, 2 tbs of powdered kurozato (black sugar) and a little water. When the sugar is dissolved, pass on high heat. You should get a bubbly very sticky sirup. Out of the fire, add a tbs of water in order to have just the texture to pour it on the fish. Let cool.
I made another batch with walnuts and sesame seeds instead of the fish.