All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Gindara no yuanyaki / grilled yuan-marinated black cod

Black cod with a sweet and pleasant citrusy taste from yuan marinade (soy sauce, mirin and sake with yuzu citrus). A good alternative to grilled saikyozuke black cod marinated in sweet Saikyo miso.


2 fillets (120 g in total) black cod

For yuan marinade

3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp sake
1/2 tsp yuzu juice

Lime or lemon slices (not in photo)


Mix all ingredients for yuan marinade, and marinate black cod for a half day to overnight (up to 2 nights).


When ready to cook, wipe off marinade on surface.


Line a frying pan with parchment paper, place black cod, cover, and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes.
Flip, cover, and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until done.

Serve with a slice of lime or lemon.

  • The black cod above is half a steak, sliced into two.
  • This tastes much better when grilled. Yet the high sugar content from mirin in the marinade makes it a bit tricky (burns easily); make sure to wipe off any excess marinade on surface before grilling.
  • When cooking in a frying pan, do not use oil. It would take away the delicate citrus taste. If you decide to saute the fish with oil (absolutely not recommended for black cod but OK with leaner fish), do not add citrus to the marinade, and serve the dish with citrus wedges.
  • Due to the high fat content (17-18%) of black cod, marinating it takes time. Leaner fish should not marinate for a long time to prevent the taste from becoming too salty.
  • If you do not have enough time to marinate, a few hours or even 1 hour would be sufficient if an extra step is taken at the end: after black cod is done, remove parchment paper, pour 2-3 tbsp marinade, raise heat to medium and reduce it to coat fish.
  • Yuan marinade typically consists of soy sauce, mirin and sake. Yuzu juice (or yuzu slices, if available) is optional but highly recommended. If yuzu juice is not available, try any citrus juice or slices in the marinade, or serve the dish with citrus slices or wedges.
  • The name yuan is said to come from Kitamura Yuan (1648-1718), an Edo-period tea master and gourmand who created the dish.

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