This is a classic, simple, Japanese salmon marinade used in thousands (millions!) of Japanese households every day. With only 3 ingredients in the marinade, it takes all of 30 seconds to prepare and 6 minutes to cook, making this the ultimate 10 minute meal!
Japanese Salmon recipe
This is an authentic, simple Japanese marinade that can be used for any fish but is especially great with salmon.
In this recipe I’ve cooked this by pan frying but it is really great broiled/grilled too. With pan frying you get a really crispy skin (which I love) and the wonderful caramelisation, and with broiling/grilling, the exterior is less caramelised making it softer and a bit juicier which is also delicious. But with both, the inside is the same – moist and incredibly juicy (make sure you don’t overcook it!). If you are cooking salmon without skin, I recommend broiling/grilling it as flipping salmon without skin is quite difficult.
The salmon marinade is classic Japanese flavours – soy sauce, mirin and sake. It doesn’t get anymore “Japanese” than that! The fish really needs to be marinaded overnight (or 3 hours at the absolute minimum) because it’s not a “saucy” dish – all the flavour is in the marinade and it needs the time to infuse into the fish.
The most important thing to remember with this Japanese salmon is to cook it over medium heat – because of the sugar in the mirin, if you cook it over too high heat then the sugar will burn before the inside of the fillet is cooked. If you have trouble regulating the heat on your stove, then I recommend broiling/grilling it instead.
As you can see from the photo below, I love my salmon just cooked so the inside is a gorgeous coral colour and out-of-this-world juicy, infused with the flavours of the marinade. I only marinated it for 3 hours – the absolute minimum time. If you marinade it overnight, which is the recommended time (or even up to 24 hours for an oily fish like salmon) then your salmon will be slightly stained with the marinade.
This is also a great recipe for the BBQ – the smoky flavours add another dimension and the marinade is made for BBQ-ing! This is a great simple recipe to add to your repertoire. – Nagi x
Japanese Salmon with Mirin and Soy Sauce
- 2 salmon fillets (5 oz / 150 g each)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- Combine all ingredients except the oil in a ziplock bag, remove as much air as possible and marinade overnight (or minimum 3 hours).
- Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a non stick pan over medium heat.
- Add salmon skin side down, cook for 2 to 3 minutes until crispy. Check the skin to ensure it isn't cooking too quickly - if it is, then turn down the heat and/or remove the pan from the stove briefly to allow the temperature to decrease.
- Drizzle over remaining marinade in the ziplock bag over the flesh side. Flip and cook the flesh side for 2 minutes, or to your liking. I like salmon medium rare so the inside is very moist and just cooked.
- Rest for a couple of minutes, remembering that the salmon will continue to cook while resting, then serve.