Japan – Sakana No Nitsuke


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by Zayna Khan

This dish is a Japanese fish dish that is also called JAPANESE GRILLED FISH. This is cooked by grilling procedure. Nimono is the simmering dishes category of Japanese cuisine so this dish is also part of NIMONO JAPANESE CUISINE. This is a very flavorful dish in which grilled fish is served on the soya sauce and broth-like miso soup or dashi broth. It has very earthy and mild flavors. Some sauteed vegetables like french beans, leek, spinach, and mushrooms are also served on a plate with Sakana no nitsuke. The classic way of cooking this dish is grilling as indicated in the name NITSUKE means to grill. Fish is all its best flavors and texture when it is grilled for the right time and with the right flavors. This dish has a perfect balancing of flavors and cooking techniques.

The whole fish is sometimes used in this dish and fillets are also be served in Sakana no nitsuke. This is served with Japanese Fried rice and steamed rice. Miso soup is also a complimentary side dish or an appetizer before serving this dish. This dish has protein in it like fish is a very healthy source of protein and some vegetables added the exact crunch and crispiness to the dish. This is served with some sauce, this is the perfect meal as per nutritional aspects.

NIMONO

Nimono is the category of Japanese cuisine in which simmering dishes are placed like simmered vegetables, simmered fish, simmered chicken, etc. The simmering procedure must have some broth, stock, and main ingredients to make it cooked in it. In Nimono, there are many different sauces and broths are placed like :

  • Dashi broth
  • Sake
  • Soya sauce
  • Miso soup
  • Shiru stock, etc.

The main ingredients of Nimono are generally seafood like fish, crab, sushi, shrimp, prawns. But vegetables and chicken can also be used in making different nimono dishes. Chicken stock or vegetable stock is prepared and the main ingredient of interest is placed in that stock. Like rice cakes, pork cutlets, fish crisps, etc.

On the vegetarian side, vegetable stock is prepared with carrots, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, lotus roots, daikon, etc.

Different combinations of seafood meat and vegetables are added together for new flavors and tastes. Dashi broth is the main base of the dish from which meat and vegetables are added to make both flavored broth and some seasonings with different Japanese sauces like Mirin, sake, soya sauce, etc.

SHIRU STOCK

Shiru stock is prepared by dashi broth with the addition of some other sauces and some spices. Miso, soya sauce, sake, some salt, pepper, sesame oil, sesame seeds, vinegar are added and spread over the fish marination to cook. This is very tasty and rich in flavors dressing. It can be added to many other dishes for the taste and flavors. This is cooked by a simmering process. Simmering is the slow cooking procedure from which the taste of each ingredient is infused into the dish to relish its taste.

Shiru soup or stock is referred to as the broth that can be added to any dish. This broth is thin in consistency but has many other ingredients to be added on. This has the base of DASHI BROTH that can be mix with other sauces to make it more flavorful.

HISTORY

This dish has no such history. This is a dish from the 19th Century and the invention of this dish is not known. It is the assumption that the Maizuru hosted an Imperial Japanese Navy base campaign and this dish with beef stew is served. From that time, this dish was prepared in Fish and famous for it.

From the name of the dish: SAKANA NO NITSUKE

SAKANA means Fish in English

NITSUKE means SIMMERED

So the name of this dish indicated the ingredient and cooking procedure of this dish, Simmered Fish.

There are many other different types of broth and simmering stocks are prepared :

  • TAI KŌRAI-N (KOREAN-STYLE SIMMERED SEA BREAM)
  • SUZUKI NO SHIRU (JAPANESE SEA PERCH BROTH)
  • FUNA NO SHIRU (CRUCIAN CARP BROTH)
  • KOI NO WI IRI JIRU (CARP STOMACH BROTH)
  • FUKUTŌ JIRU (PUFFERFISH BROTH)
  • HARARA JIRU (BROTH OF FISH EGGS)
  • TANUKI JIRU (TANUKI BROTH)

MAIN ELEMENTS OF DISH

There are two main elements of the dish, others are also be added but according to the choice:

FISH

Fish is the main and most important element of the dish. There are many different types of fish are used to cook in Japan. This dish has some kind of fish that is used. The whole fish can also be cooked and served. Fillets and fish pieces are also be cooked. Flatfish is very commonly used in making this fish dish.

Flounder, sole are two types of this flatfish. karei and hirame are these two names of fish. This is a very flavorful fish. It has high salt content it so fewer salted sauces are used to avoid salt in it.

Fish that are most commonly used in making this dish are :

  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Swordfish
  • Mackerel
  • Snapper
  • Haddock
  • Yellowtail
  • Trout
  • Flatfish

SAUCES

This dish is a simmering dish made up of broth and sauces. The main base of this dish is Dashi broth that is added in huge quantity and with some other sauces like given below to add taste to the fish. Chicken broth is also added. Fish broth can be prepared and added for the nice flavors.

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Dashi broth
  • Miso stock
  • Tsuyu sauce
  • Vegetable dashi
  • Sake
  • Mirin

VEGETABLES

There are many vegetables you can add to this dish. To add color to the dish with some texture like crunch and crisp but most probably used vegetables are :

  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Kiriboshi Daikon
  • Welson onions
  • Brocolli
  • Sprouts, etc.

TOPPINGS

  • Raw egg
  • scallions
  • Daikon
  • Sesame seeds
  • Nori seaweeds

SIDE DISHES

  • Rice
  • Potato Salad
  • Okra Aemono
  • Udon Noodles
  • Buns

COOKING TECHNIQUE

OTOSHIBUTA

Otoshibuta is the Japanese cooking instrument to cook simmering dishes. This is a very good tool to cook dishes in which simmering is important. Many nimono dishes are cooked in Otoshibuta.

As the name of this tool OTOSHIBUTA.

OTOSHI means DROP and BUTA means LID.

It is a bowl-like pan that is covered by the lid having sieve-like holes. This will makes the liquid or sauce cook and also steam is released by the small holes that will make this soup of sauce simmer. The broth started to bubbling indicated that it is simmering. This drop lid is made up of stainless steel, non-stick or wooden, etc.

INGREDIENTS

  • Cod Fish : 4 fillets
  • Ginger slices : 2 tbsp
  • Sake : 1/2 cup
  • Mirin : 3 tbsp
  • Soy sauce : 1 cup
  • Dashi broth : 2 cups
  • Komatsuna : 1 bunch
  • Scallions : 1/2 bunch
  • Tablespoons sugar : 3 tbsp

COOKING METHOD

  • To clean the fish and remove the smell of it. Take warm water add some salt and vinegar and dip fish into it for 10 minutes.
  • Then discard the water and dry the fish completely.
  • Now take two bowls of water, One with warm water and other with cold water.
  • Dip ach fish fillet in warm water for 20 seconds and then trasfer it to cold water for 20 seconds and set it aside.
  • To make sauce for simmering, add soya sauce, dashi, mirin, sake in a pan adn bring it to boil.
  • Then add fish into the sauce in otoshibuta and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes when sauce is almost dried out, add scallions and komatsuna.
  • Cook it for a while and serve.
  • Enjoy 🙂
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