Just like my teriyaki chicken, teriyaki salmon is another popular home cooking dish in Japan. It is so quick and easy to make. The teriyaki sauce goes so well with pan-fried fish and it is really tasty.
Teriyaki (照り焼き) is one of the typical cooking method of Japanese cuisine where meat or fish is cooked with soy-based sweet sauce. The word ‘teri’ (照り) means shiny or glossy and ‘yaki’ (焼き) means grill. Because of the sugar in the sauce, the surface of the meat/fish becomes glossy when coated with the sauce.
Sometimes the sauce is basted while the meat or fish is being cooked, but sometimes you simply add the sauce to the pan-fried meat/fish and cook further to condense the sauce. My recipe today used the second method.
There are different versions of teriyaki sauce recipes but in general, it is a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin and/or sugar. If you are using the basting method, the sauce should be condensed to become thicker so that the sauce will stick to the fish/meat easily.
The proportion of sauce ingredients are easy to remember – equal portions of soy sauce, sake, mirin plus some sugar. The amount of sugar can be anywhere between half a portion to zero. Today, I did not use sugar at all because mirin gives a sufficient amount of sweetness. Unlike teriyaki chicken, I like the fish to be cooked less sweet. But if you have a sweet tooth, feel free to add some sugar.
Among the many kinds of fish cooked in teriyaki sauce, teriyaki salmon is probably the most popular in Japan. It is called ‘sake no teriyaki’ (鮭の照り焼き). The word ‘sake’ has the same Romaji spelling as drinking sake but the kanji character is different – the kanji character for sake as fish is 鮭, sake as alcohol is 酒. It is very difficult to explain here but the stress in syllables is different between the two to distinguish two different words with the same spelling. Fish ‘sake’ has the stress on ‘sa’ while drinking sake has no stress.
If you make teriyaki with a kingfish fillet, it becomes ‘buri no teriyaki’ (鰤の照り焼き) because kingfish is ‘buri’ (鰤) in Japanese. Other fish fillets usually used for teriyaki are sword fish and Spanish mackerel. As you can see, they have oily and firm flesh, which is best suited for teriyaki fish.
I used salmon fillet but you can use fish cutlet (steak) instead. In the case of a fillet, try to buy a piece that has even thickness and avoid the belly part as it is extremely thin. Then, you will be able to cook the fish evenly.
If you are using a salmon cutlet (steak), you could simply cook the cutlet as is with the back bones in. Alternatively, you could remove the backbones, making two boneless pieces, which becomes almost like the typical Japanese way of cooking teriyaki salmon. You can find how to remove the backbones from the cutlet (steak) in my post, Japanese Salmon Mirin-zuke.
This is another very quick dish to make. It takes just over 10 minutes in total including preparation. The sauce is very tasty and goes so well with boiled rice or potatoes (mashed or boiled).
Just like my teriyaki chicken, teriyaki salmon is another popular home cooking dish in Japan. It is so quick and easy to make. The teriyaki sauce goes so well with pan-fried fish and is really tasty.
- 2 x 200g (7oz) salmon fillets , skin on (note 1)
- ½ tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, peanut)
- 1 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp sake
- Blanched green beans
- Baby tomatoes
Mix the Teriyaki Sauce ingredients in a small bowl or a jar.
Pat-dry salmon fillets using a kitchen towel.
Heat oil in a frypan over medium high heat.
Add the salmon fillets, skin side down and press down the centre of the fillets for 30 seconds or so to avoid the fillets from curing up.
Cook for 2 minutes, turn them over and cook further two minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon of sake to the pan, place a lid on and steam for about 30 seconds.
Remove the lid and turn the fillets over, then add the teriyaki sauce.
When the sauce starts bubbling, use a spoon to pour the sauce over the fillets.
When the quantity of the sauce reduces to about 2-3 tablespoons (note 3), turn the heat off.
Transfer the salmon to a serving plate with green beans and tomatoes, pour the sauce in the pan over the salmon. Serve immediately.
1. I used salmon fillets. The middle part of the fillet was about 2cm (3/4")thick. You can use salmon cutlets (steaks) instead.
Please visit my post, Japanese Salmon Mirin-zuke if you would like to remove the backbone from a salmon cutlet (steak).
2. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add up to 1 tablespoon of sugar.
3. Turn off the heat slightly earlier than the quantity you want as the heat of the pan will continue to condense the sauce.