Miso-Marinated Fish Grill

Sakana No Miso-zuké Yaki

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves



Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Brown and crusty outside, mellow sweet and moist inside, this marinated fish is absolutely delicious. Since this fish could be marinated for as little as 8 hours or as long as 72, it’s a nice recipe to keep in mind when you shop at the fish market. If you see a special on snapper, porgy or halibut, buy some and put it in the miso marinade for the next day or several days after that.

Although the marinade never touches the flesh of the fish, the unique tenderizing and aromatic flavoring quality of the miso is at work. The cooking aromas alone are enough to evoke fond memories in anyone who has ever lived in Japan.


  • 2–3 fish steaks, each no thicker than ½ inch; porgy, sea bream, red snapper and halibut are particularly good prepared this way


  • 1–1½ cups (a 300- or 500-gram bag) Saikyō miso (light bean paste)
  • ½ tablespoon saké (rice wine)
  • 2–3 tablespoons mirin (syrupy rice wine)


Combine the miso, rice wine and syrupy rice wine well in a glass, ceramic, foil or enamel-lined flat container just large enough to hold the fish steaks in a single layer. Wrap the fish in a dry linen cloth (or a double thickness of surgical cotton gauze or a triple thickness of cheesecloth) and bury it deep in the miso marinade before covering your container with clear wrap. Marinate the fish for at least 8 hours at room temperature or up to 72 hours in the refrigerator.

Just before grilling, remove and unwrap the fish steaks. The flesh will have taken on a luminous golden cast and may be a bit slippery. Skewer the fish and grill or broil it, with the skin 2–2½ inches from the heat, for 7–8 minutes. Use fairly low heat. Even so, the outside will brown quickly and may even char a bit. Turn the fish over and continue to grill or broil for 5–6 more minutes. Remove the skewers while the fish is hot. Serve the fish warm or at room temperature.

Note: The miso marinade may be used 3 or 4 more times within a month. After removing the fish from the marinade, drain off any accumulated liquid. Stir the paste and store it in the refrigerator in a covered glass, ceramic or enamel-lined container.