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


Sake no kasuzuke / grilled salmon marinated in sake lees

Aromatic sake lees make a great marinade for all sorts of things including vegetables, seafood and meat. Here is one example with salmon, the classic choice for seafood kasuzuke. When used with shiozake salted salmon, this also works to desalinate the fish while imparting a nice aromatic flavor.

Shiozake salted salmon (not in photo; see Notes if using unsalted fish)

For kasuzuke marinade

200 g sakekasu sake lees (paste type in photo; see Notes if using hard sheet type)
2-3 tbsp sake
2-3 tbsp mirin


Put sakekasu, sake and mirin, and mix well.
(If sakekasu is cold, heating up sake and mirin makes incorporating them in sakekasu easier.)


In a container, spread 1/4-1/3 of kasuzuke marinade.
Line with cheesecloth (optional, but recommended).

Place salmon, cover with cheesecloth.

Cover salmon surfaces completely with remaining kasuzuke marinade.

Keep in the fridge until ready to cook.
Best after 4-5 days.

(After 4 days in photo)
Water starts to appear.
Discard if it bothers you.
You can also discard water when ready to cook fish.

(After 7 days)
Salmon is nicely marinated.


Grill, and serve. 

  • Sakekasu by itself is free of sodium, and marinating in sakekasu (and sake and mirin) effectively removes excess sodium (70+%) from shiozake salted salmon while imparting a very aromatic flavor to the fish. The actual sodium content of kasuzuke salmon depends on the size of salmon, how much salt was added at the beginning, and how long it has been preserved.
  • If your sakekasu is hard sheet type, first add some warm water (3-4 tbsp) to soften it, then add sake and mirin.
  • Using cheesecloth underneath and over salmon makes it easy to remove the fish before cooking and eliminates the need to remove kasuzuke marinade from the fish. The marinade tends to burn while cooking.
  • If using fresh fish (rockcod in photos at right), sprinkle salt (1% of fish weight is recommended), and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (2-3 hours recommended). Wipe off moisture on surface, then put in kasuzuke marinade as above.

  • Marinated kasuzuke can be cooked in a frying pan. I line a frying pan with parchment paper and cook the fish.
  • Kasuzuke literally means sake-lees-marinated food. The "kasu" in kazuzuke is from sakekasu [sake lees].
  • The "sake" in "sake no kasuzuke," by the way, is salmon. 
  • Kasuzuke marinade can be reused 3-4 times. Remove any water that appears and add a small amount of sake lees the third or fourth time you use it.

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