Miso Marinated Salmon

Miso-marinated fish is  is a classic Japanese dish that was popularized by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa with his famous Black Cod with Miso.  I have been a fan of this sweet and salty preparation of fish for many years now, as it seems a staple dish for every Asian Fusion restaurant out there today (Bohemian also serves Miso Black Cod).  The almost buttery, silken texture of the fish just melts in your mouth and you can easily recreate this popular dish at home with just a few ingredients that can be used again in many other Japanese dishes.  Black cod is not the easiest (or cheapest) fish to find, but sea bass and salmon are great substitutes.

I significantly cut down the amount of miso paste used as I find the saltiness a bit overpowering, but the original Nobu recipe calls for twice the amount so feel free to double it if you wish!  Basically I just went with equal parts of shiro (white) miso, mirin, sake, and sugar which I think worked out very well (plus easy to remember!).  I also threw in some chopped ginger and garlic at my mother’s suggestion, which I think helps balance the flavors a bit.

I had my favorite Ozeki Hana-Awaka sparkling sake in my cabinet and decided… why not?  I think the bubbles added more pizazz to the flavor!  Plus, I got to enjoy drinking the rest whilst cooking… But regular sake or even rice cooking wine works perfectly fine for this.

Other change I made was that I just simply baked it instead of grilling or broiling first.  Additionally, I decided to mix the marinade over the stove top as I thought it’d help release the flavors a bit quicker as I only let the fish marinate for one hour.  The recipe says to let marinate for 1-2 days but I was too hungry to wait for that…

I decided to serve this with another Japanese dish of Steamed Tofu with Enoki Mushrooms.  The intense miso flavor of the fish were well paired with the simple aka healthy flavors of the tofu and enoki mushrooms.

Miso Marinated Salmon (adapted from Nobu Matsuhisa’s Black Cod with Miso)

Yields: 3-4 servings


  • 1 lb fish fillets (cut into individual servings)
  • 2 T shiro miso paste
  • 2 T sake
  • 2 T mirin
  • 2 T sugar
  • Optional: 1 T garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 T ginger, minced
  • Optional garnish: sesame seeds and sliced green onions


Whisk together the miso, mirin, sake, sugar, garlic and ginger in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir until mixed thoroughly.

Pat the fish fillets dry and place in a plastic container or a large Ziploc bag with the marinade.  Make sure each fillet is coated completely.  Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Arrange the fillets on a foiled-lined baking sheet.  Lightly wipe off (with fingers) any excess miso marinate clinging to the fish fillets but don’t rinse it off.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Optional: garnish with sesame seeds and green onion slices.

Try serving with Steamed Tofu with Enoki Mushrooms or Braised Baby Bok Choy!

5 Responses to “Miso Marinated Salmon”
  1. thud boomson says:

    Regarding the idea that one cannot cook miso, one can do whatever one wants with miso. Yeah, sure, maybe cooking it kills potentially beneficial bacteria, but so what? Cooked miso tastes good, and Japanese have been using it in cooked ways for a very long time. If somebody thinks they need probiotics so badly, they should (enjoy miso however they want and) take a pill.

    Think of it this way: if one cooks a recipe without miso, then one doesn’t get that bacteria, so are all meals without uncooked miso somehow wrong?

  2. Tim says:

    Miso is a fermented food and therefore alive. Combining the ingredients in a sauce pan can kill the beneficial bacteria in the miso. Also, heating miso to boiling destroys its subtle flavors. This is why miso paste is put into miso soup at the end, instead of boiling it with the vegetables. The purpose of marinating for two days is to give the miso bacteria a chance to work on the proteins in the fish, softening it and providing an additional later of complexity to the flavor. I’m sure this dish (as you prepared it) is good but it’s not really “miso marinated” if you’re just using the miso as a sauce. Marinades are not simply for flavoring meats; they also tenderize the flesh and fill the cells with liquid so it stays moist after cooking. Be patient with your food and it will reward you.

  3. Harold says:

    This Looks soooo good. Thanks

  4. woopriscilla says:

    Looks delicious. Great tips!

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  1. […] and wilted, I decided to mix them with a miso, mirin, garlic, ginger sauce that I used for my Miso Marinated Salmon.  The results looked a bit messy, but it was flavorful and simple.  It was pointed out the enoki […]

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