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Japanese Home Cooking Recipes Vol.1 – Fish

Fish is Japanese people’s favourite protein and we have so many ways of cooking fish. It is spring in Australia and I am so happy to see fresh mackerel and Spanish mackerel at my favourite fish trader at our local market. I will share with you three of my Japanese home cooking recipes for fish.

Fish recipe No.1 – “Saikyo-yaki” (miso marinated grilled fish)

This is one of the most popular Japanese home cooking recipes for fish, and it is deceivingly quick and easy! Spanish mackerel, salmon or any white meat fish is ideal for this Japanese fish recipe. You can even replace the fish with pork chop or chicken fillet. This is so easy yet looks and tastes like a restaurant dish. All you have to do is to marinate the fish fillets in miso base paste for 30 minutes (or longer if you prefer) before grilling.

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Ingredients (serves 2)

• 2 x 200g fish fillet (Spanish mackerel, salmon or any white fish is the best)
• Salt
• 3 tbs miso (light coloured)
• 2 tbs mirin
• 1 tbs sugar
• 2 tbs cooking sake (you can substitute with very dry wine, beer or water)

Cooking method

1. Sprinkle salt on fish fillet, leave for 15 minutes and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Mix miso, mirin, sugar and cooking sake to create paste.
3. Marinate your fish in the paste and leave in fridge for 30 minutes or longer. (This works well if you use a Ziploc bag.)
4. Take the fish out from marinade (remove the excess paste off as it burns easily) and grill it in griller (or pan fry) for about 10 minutes each side.
5. Serve with grated daikon*.


Daikon (white radish) is one of the most common root vegetables in Japan and used widely in Japanese home cooking recipes as well as at restaurants. It is used for soups and hotpots, pickles, salad and many more. This vegetable is low in calorie, but super rich in Vitamin C and great source of antioxidant.
Below is one of the most popular ways of using daikon, grated daikon. In Japan, we use special grater for it, but you can use food processor to achieve the same effect. Grated daikon is often served with grilled fish or meat.

1. Peel and cut about 5 cm of daikon into manageable size for your food processor.
2. Using the finest setting of your food processor, grate daikon. You will need to do it for quite long time, or many pulse motions. You need to achieve almost puree consistency.
3. Squeeze excess water and serve on the side of your grilled fish (as a condiment).
4. For richer flavor, you can add the following ingredients and make a special sauce. This goes well with almost anything from steak, grilled fish, chicken and pork. You can use grated daikon instead of green shallot sauce in recipe 2) below for a variety.

• 1 tbs soy sauce
• 1 tbs cooking sake
• 1 tbs mirin
• 1 tbs rice vinegar
• 1 tsp sugar

Fish recipe No.2 “Pan-fried fish with shallot sauce”

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Another quick and easy Japanese home cooking recipe for fish. This is very moreish! You can use the same sauce for chicken karaage or any other fried dishes, too.

Ingredients (serves 2)

• 200g fish fillet (Spanish mackerel, swordfish, salmon, or any white fish)
• Corn flour (you can substitute with plain flour if you don’t have corn flour)
• Salt and pepper
• Oil to fry
• ½ cup green shallot finely sliced
• 1 tbs soy sauce
• 1 tbs rice vinegar
• 1 tbs cooking sake
• 1 tsp mirin
• 1 tsp grated ginger

Cooking method

1. Cut fish into bite size pieces.
2. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, and lightly coat with flour.
3. Heat oil in frying pan and fry fish both sides.
4. Slice green shallots finely and mix with the last five ingredients.
5. Serve fried fish on plate and pour the sauce on top.

Fish recipe No.3 “Miso braised mackerel”

This is a very popular Japanese home cooking recipes for fish. You can replace mackerel with swordfish, sea bream or any firm white fish. Very rich in flavor, so it goes well with steamed rice and vegetable accompaniments such as steamed broccolinis.

Ingredients (serves 2)

• Mackerel fillets
• ½ cup cooking sake (you can replace it with very dry wine or beer)
• ½ cup water
• 2 tbs miso
• 1 tbs soy sauce
• 1 tbs mirin
• 1 tbs sugar
• 1 tsp ginger juice*
• Slivers of ginger

Cooking method

1. Pour boiling water over both sides of fish fillets. (This takes the fishy smell away)
2. Mix the last six ingredients and pour into a frying pan. Cook over medium heat.
3. When the sauce starts to bubble, add the fish.
4. Spoon sauce over the fish as they cook. Move the pan occasionally so that the sauce does not burn.
5. Cook about 10-13 minutes until the fish is cooked and sauce has thickened.
6. Service slivered ginger on top.
*You can get ginger juice easily if you great ginger and squeeze juice. I have a special ginger grater, but you can use cheese grater, too.

Hope you enjoy my Japanese home cooking recipes for fish! Please send us a report if you try any of them.

If you are interested in Japanese food, you may also like to read our blog on traditional Japanese cuisine, Washoku.

Journey to the East offers a range of most exciting Food Tours of Japan. Please check them out!