Saturday, October 15, 2011

Teriyaki saury

Pacific saury. First time I know the English name of this fish, from Wikipedia.  I usually call it in Japanese, which is Sanma. Sanma is in season since a month ago and from what I`ve seen, the most common and simple way to cook this fish is by rubbing some salt on the whole fish and grilling or broiling it. Very tasty, I tell you. The only downside, like other fish, is the bones. Sanma actually has a lot of bones scattered throughout its flesh and I usually pressure-cook sanma or other bony fish to make the bones more edible (I had posted it here) and to make my husband enjoy the fish more. However, this time I turned away from my pressure cooker, cooked the fish using my regular frying pan, and hoped that we could handle the bones during eating.

Anyway, I was lucky to get this gutted sanma from the store, although actually doing the gutting myself won`t take more than 10 minutes. Well, I chose less mess for me to clean up. You see how the sanma laid partly on my counter and above the sink? I put a small bowl next to fish and that`s how big my kitchen counter is.

Cut the fish into smaller pieces, wash, and pat dry with paper towel.

Dust the fish pieces evenly with flour. This will help the fish to hold its texture during frying. That`s what I heard from TV.

Heat oil on medium heat and sear the fish.

When both sides has turned golden brown, set aside on a plate. Don`t eat them yet. I know you want to.
By the way, remove oil used for frying fish from the pan and wipe off the pan surface with paper towel to make it super clean. We don`t need any oil for the next steps. 

For the sauce, grate a good amount of fresh ginger. By all means, please use the fresh one.

To the grated ginger, pour in soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, mirin (I didn`t add this one) and pepper and mix well. Salt? I didn`t add even a pinch of it because this sauce is already salty for me.

Set your clean pan over low heat and pour in the sauce. 

Put in the fried fish.

And while the sauce is cooking, flip over the fish to get both sides evenly coated. Cook until the sauce has reduced into glaze and sprinkle in sesame seeds. If you`re worried about the fish not getting cooked through, set a lid over the pan and cook it for a few more minutes. Be careful, though, the sauce will thicken quite fast and get scorched if you don`t watch it.

Although the ingredients are utterly simple, this dish is an absolute pleaser. The flavors coming out from the fish and the sweet savory glaze were just fantastic!
The bones? Yeah, they`re still there making my chopsticks busy. Maybe next time I will tenderize the bones first. But hey, you can choose your own fish and still try this recipe because you have to experience this yumminess. With or without bones. Trust me.

2 sanma (Pacific saury)
1 tbs flour for dusting
3 tsp grated ginger
50 ml soy sauce
2 tbs vinegar
Mirin (I didn`t add)
1 tsp sugar
Sesame seed

1. Gut and cut Pacific saury (or other fish) into small pieces.
2. Wash the pieces and pat dry with paper towel.
3.  Lightly dust the fish with flour.
4. Sear the flour-coated fish with a bit of oil in a frying pan over medium heat until both sides get nicely browned. Set aside.
5. Wipe off the frying pan to clean the remaining oil and set aside.
6. For the sauce, grate fresh ginger in a container and add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, mirin, and salt and stir well.
7. Set the cleaned frying pan over low heat and pour in the sauce. 
8. Put the seared fish pieces in the pan and cook both sides to coat with the sauce evenly until the sauce has thickened.
9. Garnish the fish with sesame seeds and serve.


  1. Sanma is autumn fish, and even living in the US I crave for it especially this season. Luckily I got some fresh sanma from a local Japanese market so I was planning to cook it this weekend. Looking at your sanma makes my mouth water... I'm so happy to eat this. A lot of people don't like it because of too many bones...but the unique taste of this fish is very addicting!

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. I am so glad to get to know you a little through our blogs. You have a beautiful and inviting blog. Saury is popular fish in Korea too, and I love it. Your teriyaki version sounds really good. This will be a nice change for my family from my normal grilled fish.

  3. I wish I could find this fish but fresh (maybe I am even lucky to find it frozen! it's not popular here at all, only one Japanese shop sells it frozen). Your recipe sounds delicious and simple. I have never added ginger to teriyaki sauce, but it sounds like an excellent idea. I might try it soon with another fish maybe...

  4. Nami: I agree! The deliciousness is somehow worth the effort of picking out the bones. やっぱり、秋といえばさんまの塩焼きですね^^ I can`t wait to see your sanma recipe!

    Hyosun: Thanks for visiting! I love grilled saury so much that I ate too many these weeks and needed a different version for a change :)

    Sissi: Hi, Sissi! Unless it`s salmon, or grilled, I tend to add lots of ginger when I cook fish as I found this help reduce the smell. But I think it also has something to do with my taste preference because I do love to have the gingery bits in the sauce.

  5. que rico pescado, humm con salsa Teriyaki, este verano estuve en Japón y me encanta este tipo de comida!
    y me encanta tu blog, así que me quedo aquí a seguirte!
    Un beso grande desde MADRID,

  6. Ola, Nieves! And, gracias! I wish I could speak Spanish so I don`t need to use the translator, but thanks for the kind words. You have such gorgeous food posted on your blog :)

  7. omgggg this has got to be amaaaaazing with rice! tasttty!

  8. I'm terrible with distinguishing different fish types and their names. Your Sanma looks delicious.

  9. I am pretty bad in understanding fish names in English. Is Saury similar to mackerel? Or is it pike?
    I love the teriyaki flavor on the fish. Can't go wrong!

  10. Rita: Salty food with rice? Heaven!

    Lady G and Holly: I too am not that familiar with fish, especially with their English names. Holly, if you check out the Wikipedia site, mackerel pike is the other name for the Pacific saury. I personally feel far more comfortable calling it sanma, though.