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


Sake no chanchanyaki / salmon and vegetable saute with miso sauce

A regional dish from Hokkaido that includes salmon, cabbage, onions and other vegetables. Sweetened miso sauce sends off an appetizing aroma as you cook – take the frying pan to the table or cook on a tabletop griddle and enjoy the dish as it cooks.


1-2 fillets salmon (200 g in photo)
1/2 onion
1/4 cabbage (or 4-5 cabbage leaves)
1 carrot
4 small hakusai napa cabbage leaves
1/3 sweet red pepper
Small handful mushrooms (shimeji in photo)
3-4 cm wedge kabocha pumpkin
Several green onions
1/2 tbsp oil (not in photo)
1 tbsp butter

For sweet miso sauce
2-3 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tbsp sake
1 small clove garlic


Scale or skin (optional) salmon, and debone.
Lightly salt and pepper.


Cut cabbage and hakusai into 3-4 cm squares (sogigiri slice hard white sections of cabbage, and cut the middle of the thick white part of hakusai to ensure they finish cooking at the same time). Cut onions into 2 cm wide slices. Slice carrot and kabocha pumpkin into 5-6 mm. Slice red pepper into 7-8 mm. Diagonally slice green onions into 7-8 mm. Tear shimeji mushroom into smaller pieces.  


Grate garlic, and mix all ingredients for sweet miso sauce.


In a frying pan, heat oil and melt 1/3 butter (1 tsp), and saute salmon on medium heat. 


Flip salmon, and place vegetables that take longer to cook -- such as carrot, kabocha pumpkin and onion -- in the open area around salmon.  Reduce heat somewhat, and flip vegetables as they start to cook (color brightens somewhat; they do not have to be fully cooked at this point -- flipping is mainly to prevent burning).

Put somewhat slow-cooking vegetables (thick/white sections of cabbage and hakusai), then leafy sections and other vegetables and mushrooms in layers (save some green onions for garnish).
Cover, and steam until leafy vegetables somewhat brighten, for several minutes.

Swirl in sweet miso sauce, first 2/3 of the total amount, top with remaining butter, cover again, and cook until vegetables are done.
If too much liquid comes out, discard, or remove cover and boil down. Taste, and add more miso sauce if necessary.

Garnish with green onions, take to table, and enjoy.

  • Cut, slice or tear vegetables and mushrooms according to how fast they cook.
  • Steelhead and trout, as well as other seafood such as scallops and calamari, work well with this recipe.
  • Among vegetables, typical ingredients are cabbage, onions, green onions and carrots. Potatoes, corn and moyashi bean sprouts are also popular additions. Basically, you can throw in anything you find in your kitchen.
  • Depending on vegetables you use, this dish can turn out quite sweet. The thicker, whiter sections of cabbage add quite a sweet note, for example. Consider the differences in salt content among miso brands, and adjust the amount of sauce accordingly.
  • Alternatively, miso sauce can be poured only on salmon before adding lots of vegetables and covered for steaming.
  • For the final taste adjustment, a small amount of soy sauce is also good instead of adding more miso sauce.
  • Some people add red chili pepper powder to the sweet miso sauce for a tangy punch.
  • Cutting up salmon before cooking is optional. It is said that this dish was originally made with a whole salmon fillet slab cooked in a large iron pan.
  • There are many stories behind the dish’s name, “chanchan.” Some say it comes from a dialect word, “chacchatto,” which means taking care of your business quickly. Others say it comes from the sound of the iron pan when cooking salmon, or because the fisherman who came up with this dish wore a “chanchanko,” a quilted winter jacket … and so on.

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