Tuna Marinated in Soy Sauce and Mirin

Tuna Marinated in Soy Sauce and Mirin


God, this looks good, doesn't it? And it's just the leftovers! When I saw local tuna for sale at the farmers market, I remembered a technique the amazing Tadashi Ono taught me called maguro zuke, an old Tokyo style of marinating tuna, which he serves to great acclaim at Matsuri restaurant. With this dish, you infuse the outside of the tuna with classic soy sauce and mirin flavors, but the inside remains raw and tender. It's a simple method that yields incredible results -- I prepared it for a dinner party last night and my guests flipped (but not literally). Today, my wife and I enjoyed it for lunch, sliced thin over steaming rice and accented with chiffonade of shiso leaf, a la the picture above, a dish called maguro don in Japan. My wife literally flipped. (Okay, not literally.)

The secret of this dish is to quickly -- repeat, quickly -- parboil the tuna. That is, dunk the sucker in boiling water for 10 seconds so a cooked outside layer forms, while the inside remains raw and tender. Cool in an ice bath. I did this with two tuna steaks, each about an inch thick. The cooked surface now acts like a sponge, and will soak up the flavors of a marinade. I made a marinade, following what Tadashi showed me, of roughly 3 parts soy sauce to 2 parts mirin -- so a little more savory than sweet. For the soy sauce, I mixed Japanese dark soy sauce (koikuchi shoyu) with intensely flavored tamari, to give it a stronger flavor kick (I'm not sure what Tadashi would think of this, I have to ask him). I bathed the tuna in the marinade for half a day in the fridge, sliced and served. Leave any extra tuna soaking in the marinade; it will become even more flavorful the next day and the day after. Thank you Tadashi!

Posted by Harris Salat in Fish | Permalink | Comments (11) | Email | Print

Comments (11)

i gobble up all your posts...everything looks so delicious...years and years ago i owned a book by Time Life of foods all over the world and my favorite was the Japanese and that was back in the 70's...never got to japan yet tho....
When I first started out in the restaurant business, everyone was doing the pan seared ahi (tuna). I’m can’t wait to try this one out. Also, what farmers market did you get your tuna? When it comes to raw fish, we buy our "sashimi grade" fish from either Sunrise Mart or Mitsuwa.
Thanks, Dylan. I picked up this tuna from the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket in Brooklyn on Saturday. Those particular fishmongers are also at the Union Sq market in Manhattan, I believe on Wednesdays. -- h.
I will have to try this. I have purple shiso growing in my garden that I haven't used yet. This is perfect!
Hey Harris! Looks fantastic!! Do you think this can be done with other fatty fish, such as salmon? Our tuna here in scandinavia is just not worth it, so we tend to use our fantastic salmon more.
Hi Johan, thanks for your comment! I think salmon's too fatty for this method, unfortunately (anyone disagree with me?). Let me think about something for salmon and I'll post a technique.... h.
I just made this last night and it was tremendous. First time I have ever made anything with sashimi grade tuna at home. I added some thai chilis to the marinade and then some sliced jalepenos and scallions to the plating. Not very Japanese additions but gave it a slight kick that proved very delicious. Thanks for the inspiration!
Jon, thanks so much for your rockin' comment! Sounds great. Chili and jalepenos, more fiery layers of flavor, I love it? I spoke to a Japanese friend who told me she adds red wine to the marinade. That's the fun of cooking, right? Thanks for reading the JFR... Harris
Harris, our favorite sushi bar in Sausalito, CA -- Sushi Ran -- has made a white salmon zuke that is incredible. Probably any of the slightly leaner salmon would work. King (aka Chinook) is probably too fatty per your refence above. Keep the recipes coming!
Hi Mora, I know that place, it's terrific. Hey, ask the chef the ingredients the next time you're there and let me know -- I'll figure out the proportions! Thanks, Harris
Hi Harris, I make this dish frequently. I add a little bit of cooking nihonshu in the shoyu/mirin marinade and freshly grated wasabi root. I serve it over steamed rice with slivers of nori on top! Avocado slices also go well with this donburi. All best, Kate

Post a Comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Email This Story

Email this article to:
Your email address:
Message (optional):