Kanako's Kitchen

Sanma-no kabayaki: Braised Pacific Saury Fillets

Posted in main dish, Recipe by Kanako Noda on February 23, 2010

Here’s another recipe featuring my favorite fatty fish: pacific saury (sanma). This one involves rather more than just grilling: “Kabayaki” is a braising technique for fish fillets that uses a sweetened soy sauce mixture similar to what you would use as a marinading liquid for teriyaki.

Classically, kabayaki is a way of cooking freshwater eel. If you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant in England you’ve probably run into Kabayaki as “unagi-don” or “unadon” – eel-on-rice. It’s great; a classic restaurant dish.

In this recipe, we use Pacific Saury instead of eel for two very good reasons. First, eel spoils almost as soon as it’s out of the water, making it virtually impossible to cook at home (unless you have a large fish tank, some sharp knives and a fair bit of gumption!) Second, eel is expensive. Sanma, on the other hand, is not only delicious but affordable, too: so Saury Kabayaki is kind of like poor man’s Eel Kabayaki.

It’s a powerful dish, sure to impress friends, and very good when served “donburi” style: in a large bowl over plain white rice.

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