5 from 5 votes
Saikyo Yaki Fish showing three different grilled fish.
Saikyo Yaki Fish (Saikyo Miso Marinated Grilled Fish)

Fish marinated in seasoned sweet miso, Saikyo Yaki Miso Marinade, and grilled perfectly. Saikyo Yaki Fish is served at good Japanese restaurants around the world but you can make it at home at a fraction of the cost. It is pretty simple to make and the flavour is just as good.

Preparation time does not include the time to marinate the fish, which is 1-3 days.

Author: Yumiko
Ingredients
Fish to Marinate (note 1)
  • 1 salmon cutlet (steak), 260g/9.2oz
  • 1 Spanish mackerel cutlet (steak), 230g/8.1oz
  • 1 blue eye cod fillet , 290g/10.2oz, about 5 cm/2” wide
  • Salt
To Marinate (note 2)
  • A tray or a shallow container with a flat bottom that the fish can be placed in without overlapping
  • 2 muslin pieces cut to the size of the tray
Garnish (optional, note 3)
  • Shiso (Japanese perilla leaves)
  • Pickled ginger
  • Radish
Instructions
Preparing the Fish
  1. Cut salmon and Spanish mackerel cutlets into two portions each by cutting the flesh along the bones, starting from the top (the dorsal side). Please visit my post Japanese Salmon Mirin-zuke (Mirin Marinade), which explains how to cut it, including photos.

  2. Slice the blue eye cod down the middle to make two thin fillets.
  3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over each of the fish pieces and leave for 1 hour, during which excess moisture in the fish comes out.

  4. Pat dry using kitchen paper to remove the moisture.

Marinating
  1. Spread half of the Saikyo Yaki Miso Marinade in the tray evenly and cover the entire surface of the miso mixture with a piece of muslin.

  2. Place the fish pieces on the miso mixture without overlapping each other, then place the other piece of muslin over all of the fish. Cover the fish with the remaining miso mixture and evenly spreading the miso mixture.

  3. Using a thin spatula, press along the inside wall of the tray to ensure that the miso mixture covers the sides of the fish pieces. Trace along the gap between the fish pieces with the spatula and ensure that the miso mixture goes in between the fish pieces.
  4. Cover the tray with a lid (if it comes with one) or aluminium foil/cling wrap and leave it for minimum 1 day, preferably 3 days in the fridge (note 5).

Grilling
  1. Pre-heat the grill.
  2. Cut aluminium foil to 60cm length and scrunch it gently, then spread it over a baking tray.
  3. Gently remove the upper layer of muslin from the fish tray gently by folding towards one side. Take the fish out and place them on the scrunched aluminium foil.

  4. Place the tray under the oven grill. The distance between the heat and the fish should be about 10cm (4”). If the grill is too close to the fish, the fish will burn before it is cooked.
  5. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the edge of the fish starts burning. Turn it over and cook further 3-4 minutes (note 6).

  6. Remove the fillets from the grill and place them on the serving plate.
  7. Add garnish if using and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

1. I used three kinds of fish to show you how each fish comes out but you can use one kind of fish instead. The size of the fish can be different, too.

In the case of the fillet, I recommend slicing it into thinner fillets otherwise one side of the fillet is covered with the skin and the marinade does not penetrate well.

2. Instead of marinating the fish in a tray, you could use a large plastic bag. In this case, you would have to wrap each piece of fish with muslin so that you can put all the fish and the miso mixture in a bag. Mix well to cover every piece of fish with miso.

You don’t need to use muslin to marinate the fish. The muslin is used simply to avoid the miso mixture sticking to the fish. If you are not using muslin, you need to make sure that the miso mixture is wiped off the fish before grilling. Otherwise the fish will burn quickly due to the sweet miso on it.

4. You can buy shiso leaves at Japanese grocery stores. I used shiso leaves merely to give colour to the dish. You could use a large green leaf from your garden instead.

Pickled ginger is thinly sliced ginger marinated in sugar and vinegar. It is usually served when you order sushi. It refreshes the palate. You can buy pickled ginger at Asian/Japanese grocery stores.

I used a tiny radish for the salmon Saikyo Yaki for a change. To make the tiny flower, slice the radish thinly leaving the bottom part of the radish intact, then slice again in the same way perpendicular to the first cut. Cut the radish into two, sprinkle with salt and gently press down and spread to make it look like tiny petals. Rinse off the salt.

5. You can freeze the marinated fish. After marinating the fish for 1 day, freeze it together with the miso. When I know that I am going to freeze the fish, I usually wrap it with muslin individually then marinate. After 1 day of marinating, take each piece of fish and some miso mixture into a small freezer bag as if it is marinated individually, then freeze.

6. Cooking time varies depending on the grill and the thickness of the fish. The fish I cooked was 1.5 - 2.5cm (½ - 1”) thick. You could also grill on a BBQ or a grill pan over medium heat. Watch the fish as it could burn very fast.
Alternatively, marinate 3 days, remove miso from the fish, then freeze.

7. Nutrition per serving assuming a Spanish mackerel is served. Nutrition values varies slightly depending on the fish. E.g. the same amount of salmon contains more fat and higher calories.

The amount of marinade consumed should be minimal but for the calculation purposes, it is assumed that 20% of miso marinade is consumed.

serving: 127g calories: 184kcal fat: 7.8g (12%) saturated fat: 2.2g (11%) trans fat: 0g polyunsaturated fat: 2.3g monounsaturated fat: 1.9g cholesterol: 87mg (29%) sodium: 538mg (22%) potassium: 534mg (15%) carbohydrates: 3.4g (1%) dietary fibre: 0.5g (2%) sugar: 1.4g protein: 23g vitamin a: 3.2% vitamin c: 3.1% calcium: 1.4% iron: 4.2%

Originally published in November 2016. Rewritten in July 2019, split into two posts and recipes - Saikyo Yaki Miso Marinade (new) and this post, contents updated with Meal Ideas.