Japanese breakfast

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Katsuo - Skipjack Tuna - Yaizu, Japan

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the first things you see when you get off Yaizu train station is a large whimsical drawing of Katsuo (skipjack tuna or Bonito) musicians.  Drawn by the graduating class of the local high school, the fish are depicted as one happy bunch, and you soon find out why. Katsuo fishing has been the main industry of Yaizu since ancient times. Caught in the tropical waters of the south seas, most of the catch is frozen instantly and brought into Yaizu port for processing into Katsuobushi - smoked tuna, which is used for making "dashi" - the essential Japanese seasoning - miso soup is among the savory soups that benefits from Katsuobushi.  Of all tunas, Katsuo is considered the most fecund and sustainable.  I was in Yaizu, just at the start of katsuo season.  I spent a day at a katsuobushi factory and at the old Yaizu port  for a story I am writing on Katsuobushi.

An oil painting of Katsuo (skipjack tuna) drawn by Kuno, the  late owner of Marusho - 80 year old katsuobushi factory in Yaizu.  

A lunch in Yaizu of smoked eel and sashimi of Katsuo and baby sardines.   What a productive day!

Halibut Wrapped in Fresh Grape Leaves- Tehachapi

Posted on August 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

When people hear that we bought a ranch in Tehachapi, the frequently asked question is "Do you have any cows or horses?" A typical ranch or a farm would have some farm animals, and maybe a pond with ducks, but what we have is a weedy field, an empty corral, a mobil home with a feral cat and her kitten, and an orchard that needs some serious pruning.  Where do you begin? That is the question.

View of the ranch from the orchard

I wanted to ask the Tehachapi  to bring their sheep for grazing our land.  But we missed the shepards by three days this year.  They move hundreds of sheep from one valley to another so you have to catch them while they are in your area. I have to call the shepard and book by January next year, and the idea of having farm animals will be something to think about after we finish building the studio and barn.  For the time being, if I want to see farm animals, there are plenty in Tehachapi, including Alpacas and Lamas, which are quite adorable.

The weeds will die when the cold weather sets in and beautiful wild flowers will bloom again in the spring. Patience is a good virtue.

The orchard


We have a double unit mobile home, so it's quite spacious. We just finished fixing the roof of the mobile home.  We had to evict a colony of bats but I plan to put a  nearby.  My neighbor Mike told me that it's good to have around because they eat mosquitoes, and some species pollinate fruit and seeds. I also learned that they are endangered because humans are taking away their habitat.

Sunset at the ranch

Besides the roof, we made a lot of repairs in August: the water system, the oven, and some of the broken windows. We ripped out the ugly purple carpet.  We still have the pink walls to deal with but that's nothing. Our son, Sakae, came to visit the ranch and helped us out for a few days.

Muscat  grapes 

In the morning, Sakae and I went for a walk down the country road. Sakae spotted a family of deer.  We went to the local Latin fusion restaurant,  so Sakae could get his Mexican fix before he goes back to Seattle.  In the evening, we barbecued the halibut, which I brought from LA.  I seasoned the fish with salt, pepper and olive oil and wrapped it in grape leaves from our land. It's a Greek tradition. I didn't have any capers so It's a wannabe Greek dish. I think this dish would look more impressive with whole fish wrapped in grape leaves but this one wasn't bad for a first try.  The grape leaves keep the meat moist and adds a hint of flavor. I served the fish with baked potato and a simple green salad.  I also barbecued some spareribs because I knew this wouldn't be enough for the boys.  

Blanched grape leaves.

Recipe for Grilled Halibut wrapped in Grape Leaves
Serves 2-3

1 pounds Halibut fillets, skinned, cut to make 4 pieces


Fresh-ground black pepper

8 large fresh grape leaves, blanched and dried, or brined grape leaves, drained and dried.

1 tablespoons cooking oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 cloves garlic, minced

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon capers, drained (optional)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or other herbs of your choice

Light the grill or heat the broiler. Season the fish with salt and pepper and baste it with olive oil. Overlap two or three of the grape leaves and put a piece of the fish in the middle.  Fold the leaves to envelope the entire fish, so all the meat is covered. Brush some of the olive oil over the packet to seal the leaves and keep them from sticking to the grill. Repeat with the remaining fish, grape leaves, and oil, making eight packets in all.

Grill or broil the fish packets, turning once, until just done, about 8 minutes in all for 3/4-inch-thick fillets.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest, capers, lemon juice, parsley, and  salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the sauce over the grape-leaf packets.

Kappo Cuisine - A personal style

Posted on February 20, 2011 at 1:19 AM Comments comments (1)
On a recent trip to Sado Island in theSea of Japan on the northwestern coast of Niigata,
I had a free night alone. My Sadoan friend Ken Hirashima suggested I havedinner at a nearby
Kappo style restaurant called Goshima , which was tucked away in a quiet residential area behind the inn
where I was staying. The snowy weather discouraged him from suggesting any other place.
Kappo means “To cut” and "To Cook." The setting of Kappo is similar to small sushi bar, with counter seating and a few tables.
The Kappo chef will prepare a variety of dishes - sliced raw, grilled, steamed, braised and deep fried –
right before your eyes, and may engage in some lively conversation.

Grilled head of Snapper
Kappo falls somewhere between the traditional Kaiseki cuisine and the casual Izakaya style cuisine.
Kaiseki offers a seasonal course menu of elaborately prepared dishes, which are served in
an environment that is serene. Izakaya, on the other hand, offers an a la carte menu that consist
mostly of small plates. Drinking is the focal point of Izakaya style of dining. With Kappo,
it’s completely up to the chef. This can range from formal to casual, classic to modern Japanese.
Fusion can come into play. Prices vary. First timers are sometimes turned away.
It is through the introduction of the regular customers and their word of mouth that keeps
these small Kappo establishments going. To get to know Kappo, the best route is to find a
friend who can introduce you to the restarant they frequent.

Sashimi with local fish

Cod Milt Nabe

When I entered Goshima, a small stove was set up to heat the place. There was a counter with
six stools and a room with tatami mats on an elevated platform.

When Goshima, the owner chef for whom the restaurant is named, saw me come in, he must have thought that I
was a wayward tourist because he immediately tried to turn me away. “We don’t serve dinner here.
We just have nibbles and sake,”he said in an apologetic tone. By then, I had checked the menu
on the wall and I was sold.

A young woman came out and set a pot containing something fishy on top of the stove. “Welcome,” she said
smiling. She was much friendlier than Goshima. “What is it?” I asked her, bending down to look what was inside
pot. I was still wearing my down jacket and scarf around my neck. “It’s shirako nabe,” she said, pointing to the
white knotted rope like thing. It was cod fish milt – a sperm filled gland of a male fish. I turned to Goshima
and announced myself. “I am a friend of Hirashima of Manotsuru brewery down the street.” Goshima finally
seemed relieved that I knew someone from the area. “Dozo,” he said. I was invited to take a seat at the counter.
I hung my jacket and sat down Goshima serves locally brewed sake, sochu, and a few wines from California
and France. I chose sake.

HOW TO ORDER Goshima suggested that I try “Omakase” – leave it to the chef. He said it would cost 2500 yen for the
course menu. He asked me if I was okay with that? It was very reasonable compared to most places in
Tokyo where a small plate of sashimi could cost you that. It is a good idea to go by what the chef
recommends, as the Kappo chef will mostly go to the market himself to buy the ingredients.
In no time, Goshima prepared a beautiful plate of sashimi of snapper, squid, tuna, and yellowtail
and other local fish I had never heard of before. “It’s been a good winter for the fishermen,” 
Goshima said, “Almost too good to believe.” I was happy to hear the news, especially since
I heard that the fishing industry has been on the decline and many of the fishermen were struggling
to make ends meet.

Goshima showing the rare pencil thin fish

WHO YOU MIGHT ENCOUNTER An hour went by and I was still the only customer at Goshima. I came at 6pm so that was early
for a place that could be for people who drink sake and nibble on food. The inclement weather seemed to be
affecting the business. Goshima served me a rare local fish – it was a long fish that look like a stick, with a tiny
mouth and big eyes. It had coral pink skin. “They are a delicacy and can command a high price at Tsukiji
fish market in Tokyo, but it didn’t make it there today because the fishermen only caught two in the net,”
said Goshima. Its sashimi was tender and sweet. He made tempura out of the remaining half of the long
fish. I prayed that there were plenty more of this fish in the ocean.

Assorted seafood sashimi

Finally, one person walked in. A lone diner. He looked like a regular because he just went straight
to the end of the counter, took a bottle of sake out of the small fridge and made himself comfortable.
My fish sausage tempura arrived about then. The sausage was made from fresh pureed local seafood
and wrapped with fragrant shiso leaves. There was also the fish milt pot, which was served in a small
table top cooking unit, a plate of the cod fish roe and monk liver. It was a lot of fish to eat on my own. I learned that the man at the end of the counter, ta dentis,t had dinner at Goshima every night when he wife and children were away in
Tokyo. Lately, that was happening a lot, but it was not my business to ask why. Goshima made him a
kimchii cabbage hot pot and a dish of crab croquettes and shredded cabbage salad – neither dish
was on the menu. They both looked delicious.

The dentist turned out to be Hirashima’s family dentist. Once that was known, he shed his guard
and became talkative. Just as I was thinking, Goshima served me the head of grilled snapper.
I wasn’t sure if I can eat another piece of fish.
fish, but I kept going. Then another man walked in. He was also a regular. Goshima introduced 
him to me as the sake sommalier of Sado. He had won some blind folded sake contest. He checked
to see what sake I was drinking and brought out a different local sake from the fridge to try.
Besides being the island’s unofficial sommalier, he was also the prep school teacher, who
had taught Hirashima’s wife, Rumiko, when she was a teenager. Talk about a small village.

The little stove that heated the room - Nabe wth Cod Milt
It was past 9 pm and still only three customers, all enjoying their food, sake and company in
their comfort zone. I had eaten so much fish, I felt like a fish tank. I asked for the check. To finish
the evening, Goshima treated me to a piece of homemade apple pie that the young woman who
worked there had baked. It was of course not on the menu. I was greatful for the fish, Goshima’s
cooking, and the company of quirky regulars. The apple pie tasted sweet.



Himono -Dried Fish and Mollusks - Sado Island

Posted on February 2, 2011 at 2:16 AM Comments comments (1)

String of Fish

As I was gettig ready to leave Sado Island in Niigata last week, I came upon the most beautiful string of fish.  I crossed the snow covered street to take a closer look. It was Himono-salted dry fish.  The fish had just been salted that morning and hung to dry.  

I grew up eating a lot of Himono, having lived near the seaside of Kamakura as a child.  When I walked by the local fishmonger's shop on my way to school, I would always find him cleaning fish. He made himono first thing in the morning. I would watch him while I waited for the bus to come.  He split and gutted the fish one by one, and dropped the innards into the stone tub right next to his cutting board where the fishmonger kept his gold fish as pets. These gold fish were fed so well, they were as big as Koi.  

To make himono, the fish are soaked in a brine and then laid flat on a large screen to dry in the open air.  The sun and the wind aid in the drying. This method of drying retains the umami of the fish, without drying the meat out.   Kamakura was famous for mackerel Himono, Aji-no-himono. It was my favorite way to eat fish.

Squid drying.

When I moved to Los Angeles, my mother would come visit me once a year. She always brought suitcases full of care packages  - one of which was a styrofoam box full of Himono. I can still recall the image of my mother when she came out of the plane on a wheel chair one time.  She was holding the box of fish on her lap.  I  thought something terrible happened to her during the flight because I had never seen her on a wheel chair before. It turned out she just didn't feel like carrying the heavy box.  My mother always went over board with souvenirs.  She never got any of the fish confiscated by customs.  

Himono is an ancient invention that allowed people to preserve and transport fish when refrigeration was not available and is still a popular food in Japan. Himono can be fishy in taste for some people.  A good introduction to Himono is to eat it as appetizers with sake. The way to serve Himono is broiled or grilled. You don't need to add any seasonings because the salting intensifies the flavors of the fish.  Some come smoked.  Mollusks like squid and small need only to be pan fried dry.   Heated or grilled, Himono softens up. You can keep Himono in the freezer for 3-6 months.

Fresh flounder hanging.

Squid drying

Fin of sting ray





Grilling a Whole Fish - Isaki

Posted on May 30, 2010 at 8:56 PM Comments comments (0)

Isaki (called Grunt in English) is scaled, cleaned and stuffed with tarragon.

I haven't grilled a whole fish in awhile, but when I saw this wild Isaki (Grunt in English), I could only think of cooking it whole. I couldn't see wasting any part of this gorgeous fish.  it was a rare find.  In fact, I have never seen an Isaki in Los Angeles, but it was waiting for me at Granada Market.  I wanted the fish but then I knew Sakai was leaving for his show in NY and it would be an awfully big fish if I had to tackle it myself.  Mr. Mukai, the owner, said, "It is in season. Eat it for good luck!" So even though this whole fish cost $30, I decided, it's cheaper than going out for sushi. I will cook it for lunch. Sakai will have some good luck, and I could use some luck, too.

Mr. Mukai goes to the central market in downtown everyday. Every Tuesdays and Wednesdays, fish come in from Japan. So if you let him know what you want in advance, he will try to get it for you. I have known him for more than 25 years, and he only recommends me fish that he think is fresh. Someitmes that freshness is good enough for sashimi; other times,  it's good enough for grilling. There are different degrees of freshness but in LA, getting any fresh fish is difficult, so I often buy fish from him, and know what he means when he says, eat it as sashimi, or grill it!  This Isaki was best on the grill.


Although Isaki (Grunt in English) can be caught year round, the best season for this fish starts when the rainy season begins in Japan and continues throughout the summer.  It likes warm water and they usually live along shore lines with many rocks. The meat is fatty, even though the taste is very light and delicate. I used some tarragon that I had left over from when I served Morel mushrooms.  The fish was delicious.  We ate it all.

Gyoza with Scallops and Daikon Radish

Posted on December 14, 2009 at 6:29 PM Comments comments (0)

Daikon radish reaches its peak season in the winter. It gets sweeter and juicer as the weather gets colder.  I use daikon radish raw, sauteed, grated as a sauce or dressing, and braised. Today, I am putting daikon radish in a Chineese dish -  gyoza.  Gyoza is so popular in Japan that it has more or less fused into Japanese culture. The combination of daikon radish and scallops makes the filling "mochi" like in texture, which I love. The mochi texture reminds me of  . You can make the filling ahead of time and let the mixture marinate in the seasonings.  If you are expecting company, you can make both the scallop daikon and the meat based gyozas.

Serves 3-4 

10 oz Daikon radish, peeled and sliced into matchsticks, 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches long.
6 oz Scallops, minced
1 Tbls sake
1 Tbls vegetable oil
1 Tbls potato starch (katakuriko) or corn starch 
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced ginger
1/ 2tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
3 scallions, chopped or 1 , chopped or 1 cup of chopped
1 package round gyoza skins
Garnish- 2-3 sprigs of Cilantro
2-3 Tbls vegetable oil for frying the gyozas
1 cup of water

Serve with (Chinese chili oil) and soysauce.
Bring water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the daikon matchsticks and cook for 2 minutes. Drain water.  Wrap the daikon matchsticks in a clean cotton cloth or paper towls and squeeze out excess water. Too much moisture in the daikon will produce soggy gyozas, so make sure the daikon radish matchsticks are dry. Transfer daikon radish matchsticks to a cutting board and chop the matchsticks.

Put the scallops on a cutting board and mince them.  They should be finer than the chopped daikon radish.  Combine the chopped daikon radish and minced scallops in a bowl and add sake, vegetable oil, potato oil, sesame oil, minced ginger, salt, ground pepper and chopped scallions.  Mix well with your hands until the mixture is well blended,
about a minute or two. 
Wrap the gyozas. (see instructions below)  Heat a non-stick frying pan with 2 tbls of oil.  LIne up the gyozas and brown the bottom.  When all the gyozas are brown on the bottom, add 1 cup of water and cover with lid.  Turn the heat to low and let the gyozas cook until all the water is absorbed in the gyozas.  Bring heat up again to crisp the bottom on the gyozas. When the bottom is dry and crispy, the gyozas are done.  Use a spatula to lift the gyozas and serve them browned side up.  

Garnish with cilantro and serve the gyozas with soysauce (optional) and layu.

Prepare a cup of water to wet your fingers.
Fill each gyoza skin with about 1/2 Tbls of filling. Wet
the rim of the gyoza skin, using your finger. Fold gyoza skin in half and seal the ends.

Pleat the gyoza skin - just the side
facing you.  I pleat in two directions.  You can
also pleat in a single direction.  This is similar
to crimping the edge of a pie.

The gyozas are ready to be fried.  Use a non-stick frying pan. 

Brown the gyozas.  

Add about a cup of water.  Enough to fill half way up the
gyoza with water.  Close lid and bring heat to a simmer.
When the water is all absorbed into the gyoza, turn heat
to a high again to crisp the bottom.

Shrimp, Wakame and Cucumbers in a Rice Vinaigrette

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 1:22 AM Comments comments (0)


Shrimp is one of the most popular and easy to find seafood in the world but I have had my set of hit and misses, especially with boiled shrimp. The texture of boiled shrimp can often be rubbery and the flavor blah. I would avoid ordering shrimp coctails at restaurants because they almost always disappoint.  I think shrimp deserves better.

Recently, I found a way to boil shrimp and make it come out with a lot of flavor and texture. What I do is coat the shrimp in a little potato starch (katakuriko) before boiling it. You can use other starches like kuzu or cornstarch.  The Chinese have used this technique for centuries.. They coat cornstarch on both meat and seafood. You don't need a lot. In fact, you need to use just enough to put a thin coat.  I did it with this vinegared shrimp.  My shrimp looks a little prettier on the plate and the shrimp has much better flavor and texture.

I used a benrina to slice the cucumbers thin.


Makes 4 servings

4 large shrimp or 8 medium size shrimp
1 cup of reconsitituted dried wakame seaweed, cut in 2-inch pieces
1-2 cucumbers, sliced thinly,  1/8 inch or thinner crosswise
1 Tbls Potato starch (katakuriko)

Vinegared dressing:
2/3 Cup Dashi Broth (See Basics dashi recipe)
1/8 cup Rice vinegar
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 Tbls sugar 

Make the vinegar dressing.  Chill in the fridge.  

Rub the sliced cucumbers with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt until water starts to come out
from the cucumbers.  Squeeze gently.  Set aside in the fridge.

Clean and devein the shrimp.  Sprinkle potato starch on the shrimp.
Bring a small saucepan with water to a boil over medium heat.  
Prepare a bowl of water with ice cubes and set in the sink.
Now cook the shrimp in the boiling water for about 30 seconds or until it is 
cooked. Turn off heat.  Transfer cooked shrimp to the bowl of ice water and

Rinse and drain the wakame seaweed.  Squeeze out excess water.

Assemble the shrimp, cucumbers and wakame seaweed.  
Pour the dressing over the salad.  Serve immediately.

Note: The dressing will keep in the fridge for a week.

Octopus as still life

Posted on June 7, 2009 at 11:22 AM Comments comments (0)

Octopus and Cucumber Salad (tako no sunomono)

Posted on June 7, 2009 at 11:17 AM Comments comments (1)


Octopus and ginger.  This combination is wonderfully refreshing.  The photograph I took of the Octopus arms made them look huge but in reality they were rather small.  Just enough to make two of t hese salads. 



  • 1 Japanese cucumber, peeled
  • 1 medium size leg of cooked Octopus
  • 1 tbls ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp salt for the cucumber


Vinegar dressing:

  1. Make the Vinegared dressing
  2. Rub cucumber with 1t sp of salt.  Slice thinly, 1/8-inch thick.  Soak the salted cucumber pieces in a bowl of water  (2 cups) for about 15minutes.  Drain.
  3. Slice the octopus at a diagonal, about 1/8 inch thick.  Put a small incision in each piece to make chewing easy.   
  4. Grate the ginger.
  5. Assemble the cucumbers and octopus in a bowl. Pour the dressing and serve with grated ginger.


The Ubiquitous Cod

Posted on March 30, 2009 at 1:42 PM Comments comments (0)


It's nearly the end of March and I am very happy that my website is up and swimming.  The last story of the month shall be on Black Cod. Itook a nice birthday hike in the Temescal Canyon with my neighbor Ellen.  After the hike, she treated me to hearty breakfast at thevillage restaurant in Pacific Palisades. 2 plus 2 - is what I always get at this place. That's a double order of everything from pancakes toeggs and turkey bacon.  I felt Tarafuku!  Later,we wandered over to the Farmers Market for fish and produce.  I boughtsome beautiful strawberries, scallions, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, dried apricots and figs and was tempted to keep going until I saw Ellen waiting in line to buy fish.

Today, people seem tobe in the mood for fish.  The Black Cod looked irresistible. I bought the large fillet of Black Cod. In my recent trip to Europe, I had salted cod, Bacalao in a croquette in aBarcelona Tapas bar. Cod fish and chips in London. Cod is such aubiquitous fish and always tasty.  But there is something you should know about America's Black Cod.  It is called cod but it is not reallya true cod. It is also called sablefish but it's neither a sablefish.The flavor and texture of Black Cod has very little in common with a true cod like Link Cod or Rock Cod.  Black Codis a softer, fattier fish. Apparently, the scientist who categorize fish just cannot determine where to place this poor big fellow. For the time being, it is labeled Cod for the mere reason that it is a commercially eaten fish.  

In Japan, the black cod gets a break.  It has its own name, even its own set of Chineese characters, Fish and Snow?? Tara-its pictographs look and sound as beautiful as Snow White.  Beauty is so subjective.


Cod's Belly 鱈腹 Tarafuku

Posted on March 30, 2009 at 1:41 PM Comments comments (0)

When you have eaten to your heart's content, the Japanese describe that state to be Tarafuku.  Tarafuku means cod's belly. Cod is known to have a huge appetite. It can grow into an enormous fish weighing as much as 200 lbs. Some fish!


Black Cod in Miso-Sake Marinade

Posted on March 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM Comments comments (0)

 Tara no Miso Zuke


Black cod marinated in a miso-sake pasteis very tasty.  Miso firms the fish and gives the fish a nice sweet smoky flavor. You can prepare this dish couple days in advance. When I marinate the fillets, I like to use cheese cloth to line the fillet so the miso-sake marinade doesn't come in direct contact with the fish. You have less mess to deal with and the fish will not burn easily. This method also allows you to use the marinade more than once.  If you cannot find Black Cod, try any kind of firm fish, including Link Cod and Rock cod, Mahi Mahi, Alaskan halibut. 

Makes 4 servings


4 black codfillets, each weighing about 6-8 oz 

1 tspsalt   

2 cups of Miso-Sake Marinade (see Basic Recipe) 

Cheese cloth (optional)

1. Sprinkle the cod lightly with salt.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Rinse off the water and pat dry.  The fish will take the marinade better with pre-salting but this step is optional.

2. In a non-reactive dish, put half of the miso marinade to cover the bottom of the container.  Place one halfof the cheese cloth on top of the miso marinade. Lay the fillets on top of the cheese cloth so the fish does not come in direct contact with the miso marinade.  Take the remaining half of the cheese cloth and cover the fish.  Then smother the fillet with the rest of the marinade. Leave the fish in the marinade for 2-3 days. Remember, the longer you keep in the marinade, the stronger and saltier the flavor.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.  Lightly wipe marinade off the fish using your hands or paper towel or wash off and wipe dry.  Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil large enough to wrap the fillet.  Cook the fish for 5 minutes on each side or until the fish is nearly cooked. Unwrap the foil and broil the fish until it is toasty on the surface and fish flakes easily.  Becareful not to burn the fish.

4. Serve immediately.


Miso-Sake Marinade

Posted on March 28, 2009 at 2:42 AM Comments comments (0)

Miso Sake Marinade


This is a marinade that can be used for marinating firm white fish. Black cod works best but also link and rock cod. The marinade can also be used for marinating beef and pork.

You can adjust the sweetness of the marinade by adding more or less sweet sake and sugar.

2 cups White miso (Saikyo is preferred) or light brown miso

1.5 oz sake

1.5 oz mirin

1 Tbls sugar (optional)


In a non-reactive container, mix miso, sake, mirin and sugar. The marinade should be smooth enough to be able to spread easily. (The consistency is softer than peanut butter). If you need to make it softer, add more mirin or sake.



Keeps in the fridge for about a month and can be re-used, especially if you use a cheese cloth to line the fish.  I double lined the cheese cloth.  Use enough cheesecloth so you have enough cloth to envelope the fish.  With the cheese cloth lining, the fish is easier

to lift out of the marinade.  When ready to use the fish, wipe or wash off the marinade

with a paper towel or clean cloth to wipe.  Now you are ready to grill the fish.

See the recipe for Cod in Miso Marinade.