Salt-Grilled Kingfish

Sawara no Shio Yaki

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

An Ocean of Flavor: The Japanese Way with Fish and Seafood

An Ocean of Flavor

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1988

  • About

Salt-grilling is probably the single most common cooking technique the Japanese use for fish. An ancient method, it still has obvious appeal, since the fish remains moist within and slightly crusty outside. If you wish to limit your sodium intake, leave the skin behind.


  • 4 kingfish steaks, about 4-5 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, preferably coarse
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ cup grated daikon (Japanese white radish), optional
  • soy sauce, optional


  1. Rinse each of the fish steaks under fresh cold water, then pat them dry. Let the fish marinate in the rice wine for 5-10 minutes, turning the fish once halfway through.
  2. Preheat your broiler to the highest setting possible, or if you are grilling outdoors, make sure your coals are burning hot.
  3. Remove the fish from the marinade, and very lightly salt the flesh on both sides. Salt the surrounding skin a bit more generously. Place the fish on a rack set over a foil-lined tray, or use disposable foil broiling pans for easier cleanup. If you are broiling outdoors, you may wish to lightly oil the rack on which the fish will be laid. Broil the fish for 6-7 minutes, or until it is opaque and slightly browned around the edges. Flip the fish with a large metal spatula, and broil for 2-3 more minutes, until the fish is just cooked through.
  4. Cut the lemon into 4 wedges, and serve each piece of fish with one of them. The Japanese typically serve a small mound of grated radish to the side of the fish. Each person then dribbles some soy sauce over the radish and spreads this mixture on the fish just before conveying it to the mouth. If you wish to follow suit, drain the grated radish of excess liquid before mounding it on the plates.