The Use of Starch in Surimi

Surimi is a fish paste made from deboned fish that is used to create imitation crab legs and other seafood. To preserve it, the paste is combined with cryoprotectants like sucrose, sorbitol, and phosphates and then frozen.

The frozen paste is thawed and mixed with starch. It is then extruded as a film onto a belt, which takes it into an oven where the fish protein is heat-denatured and the starch is cooked. The film is rolled to form striations, shaped, colored, and cut. The final product may be frozen or refrigerated based on the required distribution.

400 years ago, potato and tapioca starch were used in surimi products as they created a cohesive, elastic texture that matched seafood. Nowadays, highly-stabilized, moderately crosslinked tapioca starch, either alone or with native tapioca starch, is popular because of frozen distribution. Modified waxy maize and unmodified corn starch are also used to increase cuttability.

Kim reported that the gel strengthening ability of starch correlates with starch paste viscosity.

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