Shinshūmushi is a steamed fish fillet with soba (buckwheat) noodles. Just like Zaru Soba (cold Soba Noodles), it is served with soy-flavoured dashi broth, wasabi, and shredded green onions.
Shinshū (信州) is the former name of Nagano prefecture, which is famous for buckwheat noodles. Because today’s steamed dish uses buckwheat noodles, it is named Shinshūmushi (信州蒸し).
Many years have passed since the name of the prefecture changed, and people (particularly Nagano people) still prefer using the name Shinshū to Nagano.
You may also have heard miso produced in Nagano called ‘Shinshū miso’. There is a university in Nagano called Shinshū University too.
Dishes steamed with buckwheat noodles are called Shinshūmushi. The traditional Shinshūmushi uses white flesh fish such as snapper and flounder. But these days, it doesn’t matter what kind of fish fillet you use, and you can even use chicken or prawns. As long as the protein is wrapped or covered with soba noodles, you can call it Shinshūmushi.
The soba noodles can also be any colour. I used the standard brownish soba noodles today, but you might want to use green soba noodles, which are made by mixing matcha powder to buckwheat flour.
According to the definition of Shinshūmushi, soba noodles are placed on top of a fish fillet, and I made it in the traditional way in this recipe. But some recipes place the soba noodles underneath the fish fillet. I suppose the flavour would not be different, but I like the original style of Shinshūmushi. It looks more elegant and artistic.
What’s in My Shinshūmushi
There are three groups of ingredients – main ingredients, sauce, and garnish. Each of them play a significant role.
- Ocean perch fillet – 1 large or two small fillets
- Dried soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
- Cooking sake
- Banana leaf or a sheet of konbu (optional)
My fillet was quite large, so I cut in half diagonally so that both pieces were a similar shape. Instead of ocean perch, you can use other fish such as snapper (various species), flounder, etc.
The soba noodles can also be any kind. Green soba noodles will change the appearance of the dish.
I placed the fish fillet on a piece of banana leaf for a better visual effect. It also makes the plating easier because you can simply pick up the banana leaf to transfer the fish to a serving bowl.
If you use konbu, your dish becomes most flavoursome with an extra umami added to it.
If you don’t have either of them, it’s OK. You can place both fillets on a large plate, with a gap so that you can separate them easily (see the photo below). Use a spatula to transfer the fish to a serving bowl.
- Dashi stock
- Light soy sauce
- Cooking sake
The sauce is similar to the sauce used for noodle soups such as Tempura Udon. It’s just that the flavour is not as strong as the noodle soups.
You can substitute light soy sauce with normal soy sauce, but the colour of the sauce becomes a bit darker.
- Shiraga negi or finely chopped green onion
- Wasabi paste
Shraga negi and wasabi is the best garnish for the soba noodles. Instead of making shiraga negi, you can use finely chopped green onions.
How to make Shinshūmushi
- Sprinkle sake and salt over the fillets.
- Boil soba noodles.
- Pat dry the fish fillets and place each fillet on a sheet of banana or konbu.
- Fold the strands of the soba noodles in half and place them on the fillets.
- Steam for 8 minutes.
- Make sauce.
- Transfer the steamed fish on the banana sheet to a serving bowl.
- Pour the sauce over the fish and soba, topped with shiraga negi and wasabi.
The main purpose of sprinkling sake and salt over the fish before steaming is to remove the fishy smell from the fillet. It also adds a subtle flavour to the flesh.
I tied one end of the bunch of dried soba noodles together before boiling them. This allows you to have a neat and tidy bunch of cooked soba noodles, instead of tangled up strands. You don’t have to do it because it does waste a little bit of the soba noodles. But this extra step certainly makes Shinshūmushi look more elegant and neater.
The steaming time can vary slightly depending on the thickness of your fillet. If you are steaming small snapper fillets, you will only need 5-6 minutes to steam, while if you are steaming a thick piece of perch, you will need to steam for 8-10 minutes.
Shinshūmushi is a very easy dish to make, and it is a visually appealing dish. The flavour of the sauce is very light, but you can enjoy the natural flavour of the fish and the soba noodles. You can serve Shinshūmushi as a main dish or a side dish.
Shinshūmushi is a steamed dish with fish fillet topped with soba (buckwheat) noodles. Just like Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles). It is served with a soy-based sauce that is similar to the soba noodle soup, with wasabi and shredded green onions as garnishes.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 50g / 1.8oz dried soba noodles (buckwheat noodles, note 2)
- 2 Ocean perch Fillets (about 100g / 3.5oz each, skin on, note 1)
- 1 tsp cooking sake
- A pinch of salt
- 2 sheets of banana leaf or konbu (optional, note 3)
- Shiraga negi
- Wasabi paste
Bring a sufficient amount of water in a pot to a boil.
(Optional, note 4) Tie one end of the bunch of dried soba noodles with a piece of butcher’s twine, then put the noodles into the boiling water.
Gently untangle the strands while keeping the tied end intact. Cook for the required time, less 2 minutes (note 5).
Drain and rinse the noodles, still tied on one end, under cold running water until the noodles are completely cooled down.
Drain water well and lay the bunch of noodles on a cutting board. Cut the tied end, about 1cm from the butcher’s twine (the strands very close to the twine are too hard).
Pat-dry fish fillets and sprinkle cooking sake and salt on both sides of the fillets. Leave for 5-10 minutes.
On a heat-proof plate that can just fit in a steamer, place two pieces of banana leaves without overlapping. Place the fillet on the banana leaf.
Take half of the noodles by pinching the middle of the strands so that the noodles naturally fold into half.
Lay the noodles over one of the fillets covering about 2/3 of the fillet. Do the same for the other fillet.
Turn a steamer on and reduce the heat to medium heat when it starts steaming. Place the plate in the steamer and steam for 7 minutes (note 6).
Remove the plate from the steamer. Transfer the banana leaves with the fish and noodles to serving shallow bowls.
Pour the sauce over the noodles, place shiraga negi and wasabi paste on top.
Serve while hot.
Add all the Sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil.
1. I used ocean perch as it looked very fresh at the fish shop. But you can use any white fish fillet, such as snapper, flounder, and Spanish mackerel.
My fillet was quite large, so I cut it in half diagonally so that both pieces became similar shapes.
2. You can use any kind/colour of soba noodles.
3. I cut out 2 square sheets from a banana leaf that I had in the freezer. They are used to place fish fillets on so that it is easier to transfer the fish from the steamer to serving bowls.
Using of konbu will make the dish full of umami.
4. By tying the end and cooking the noodles, you can keep the noodles in a bunch without them getting tangled up. If you are not tying the noodles, you need to pick up the cooked noodles strand by strand to line them up.
5. For the time required to cook noodles, please check the instructions on the package of the dried soba noodles. The cooking time varies greatly depending on the brand.
Because the noodles are steamed later, you need to cook the noodles t slightly harder than al dente, i.e., you can feel a hard centre of a noodle.
6. Depending on the thickness and the size of the fillet, the steaming time varies. If you are using thin fillets like snapper, you will probably need to steam for 5 minutes.
7. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 207g calories: 240kcal fat: 1.9g (3%) saturated fat: 0.4g (2%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 0.6g monounsaturated fat: 0.4g cholesterol: 116mg (39%) sodium: 980mg (41%) potassium: 530mg (15%) carbohydrates: 22g (7%) dietary fibre: 0.1g (0%) sugar: 2.2g protein: 31g vitamin a: 1% vitamin c: 2.9% calcium: 8.9% iron: 11%