Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) 西京焼き

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Miso Cod | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Black cod, or sablefish, is known sometimes as “butterfish” as they are silky rich in omega-3 fats.  This creamy white flesh pairs extremely well with sweet miso paste that is a tiny bit salty, and I’m pretty sure you will fall in love with this recipe. Black Cod with Miso is a popular Japanese dish served around the world and also offered in fine Japanese restaurants such as Nobu.

Miso Cod | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

In Japan we refer to this dish’s cooking method as Saikyo Yaki.  Saikyo in Japanese means “West City” and it’s actually the previous name for Kyoto.  This specific cooking method is named Saikyo because the recipe utilizes Saikyo Miso (sweet white miso) which originated from the Kyoto area.  The traditional Saikyo Yaki recipes include just three ingredients: Saikyo Miso, mirin, and sake.

Black cod’s buttery flesh just melt in your mouth and my young children can finish one fillet easily.  I like alternating between black cod, sea bass, or salmon with this marinade and my family enjoy them equally.  If you go to a Japanese supermarket, you should be able to find black cod in the fresh fish section.  It’s rather pricey but still a much better deal to enjoy this recipe at home rather than ordering at a fancy restaurant. 😉

Miso Cod | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Before moving to the recipe and giveaway, I want to share my interview with Yupeat.  Yupeat is a San Francisco based start-up company which takes care of your meal plan and grocery shopping.  Are you too busy to plan a menu and go grocery shopping?  There’s someone who will do it for you!  How nice is that… If you are interested, please check it out their website.

Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!

Miso Cod
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 2 black cold (Gindara) fillets (you can also use salmon, sea bass, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sake
  • Chives for garnish (optional)
Miso Marinade
  1. Sprinkle salt over the fillets and set aside for 30 minutes. This will help get rid of the fishy smell and remove excess moisture from the fish.
  2. Wet a paper towel with sake and gently pat the fillets dry. Do not wash the fish.
  3. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Put half of mixture on the bottom of an air-tight container (with lid). Place the fillets in the container and slather the fillets with the remaining mixture. Cover the lid and keep in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 days (at least overnight; traditionally, a week!)
  5. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Remove the marinade off the fillets completely with your fingers. Do not leave excess miso on the fish otherwise it'll burn easily. Place the fish skin side up on baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake the fish until the edges are browned and the flesh is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Do not flip the fish while baking.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Update: Photos updated in November 2013


As I promised last week, I’m giving away one (1) Amazon gift card that I won from CBS San Francisco’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards.  Unfortunately I can’t thank each every one of you personally for voting Just One Cookbook, and I especially don’t know who nominated my blog initially (Big thanks!!)!  So, this is my way of giving thanks to everyone since we won this award together!  I hope all of you will take a moment to enter this giveaway.

This giveaway opens to EVERYONE (worldwide)!  Please read carefully and follow the directions below to enter this giveaway.

Mandatory Entry:

1) Please leave a comment here on this post stating what kind of ingredient or recipe you like to see on Just One Cookbook.  For example, you can say “chicken,” “fish,” “eggplant,” or “Shrimp Tempura,” “Teriyaki Chicken,” etc.  I want to know what types of recipes readers would like me to feature.

Three Bonus Entries (Optional):

2) Like Just One Cookbook on Facebook and leave a separate comment here stating “I’m now a new fan.” or “I’m already a fan.”

3) Follow Just One Cookbook on Twitter and leave a separate comment here stating “I’m now a new follower.”or “I’m already a follower.”

4) Subscribe Just One Cookbook via email and leave a separate comment here stating “I’m now a new subscriber.” or “I’m already subscribing.” If you just signed up, you will receive an email shortly and make sure to confirm subscription.

So, you have a total of 4 entries.  Please make sure to use your email address so that I can contact you.

This giveaway will be opened till 12:00am Pacific Standard Time Saturday, October 1st, 2011.  I’ll use random.org to select one (1) winner and the winner will be announced in the post for Monday, October 3rd, 2011.  Good luck!

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  1. I wanna win this :)

    “I’m already a fan.”
    “I’m now a new follower.
    And for the recipe ingredient I want to see here will be “pork” and “sushi” different type of sushi. I love this so much I guess every weekend I have a doze of good sushi.

  2. I never know that gindara use to call black cod! what a foodie I’m?! LOL
    Tq for letting me know nami since gindara is one of my fav fish also beside salmon 😀
    Yes u right! it’s just melting in ur mouth!! Loves that!
    Tq for posting this recipe my dear! 😉

  3. petit justine

    my favorite ingredient is……octopus!!! I love it \( ^o^ )/
    “I’m now a new fan”
    “I’m now a new follower.”
    “I’m now a new subscriber.”
    I’m soooo glad you won ^O^

  4. Hi! I really love your blog and the posts! I’d love to know more Japanese ways of cooking tofu and vegetables, especially leafy greens and eggplant! Thanks!

  5. what can i say…i LOVE this dish! its one of my fav dishes to order at jap restaurants and i also love marinating my fish with miso too! you always feature recipes i love and present them so beautifully…i really wanna buy more japanesey kitchenware/cutlery! so pretty! :)

  6. I would love to see more recipes like Chicken teriyaki, Prawn tempura (you’ve already posted this) and Manchow soup. These really ARE my favorite and exactly what I dig in when we dine out at a Chinese restuarant. Actually, more of those recipes that calls for ingredients that I can easily pick up from any store. Many of the Japanese/chinese sauces are not so easily available in the Middle east.

  7. Oh wow, this is very tasty fish the way you prepared it…I love love your photos so simple yet amazing looking..very beautiful! Yes, you did it again!!!:))
    Giveaway..thanks for hosting one, it is very genres gift from you to a lucky winner..

    I follow you on twitter, and will tweet your giveaway!

  8. Yay Nami! I am so excited about this recipe! Believe it or not I just bought 2 big pieces of sea bass, the Asian super market actually had them on sale and I was wondering how should I prepare them. Was thinking about making your chicken wings tonight, but might change my course now… Have a good day!

  9. I have never heard of black cod, sounds like a delicious and nutritious fish. I like this recipe, simple mild flavoured ingredients to maintain the integrity of the fish. More fish and pork recipes, including slow cooked versions, would be interesting. And of course desserts but I understand the handicap:)

  10. Black cod with miso brings me back to when I lived in downtown Manhattan. There was a restaurant right by me that I would frequent and ALWAYS ordered black cod with miso. I haven’t had it in soooo long but it is on my list of ‘must eats’ when I go back to NY for a visit!!
    I would love to see some cupcakes on your blog since you have never made them before!!!!!! :)

  11. Susie

    Cod is one of my favorite fishes and I almost always order it when I’m out to dinner if it’s on the menu. Yours looks wonderful.

  12. This recipe is awesome and I love learning about new techniques as well as different types of fish! Therefore, fish is the one thing I’d love to see more of your recipes on!

  13. Hi Nami-I would have to say I love all your recipes, but I ama awed by your seafood choices. The black cod you just made is simple, elegant and oh, so delicious! Yesterday, my daughter took me to lunch at a local Asian fantastic small restaurant and I had the most delicious Udon noodles with squid in a fantastic spicy sauce!
    I would love to see you do something with SQUID…anything, even a spicy squid salad, with vegetables, which I love so much!

    I follow your blog, I like you on facebook…will have to check if I follow you on twitter: not sure about that, but will let you know!
    Such a great giveaway gift you’re hosting, Nami:DDD

  14. The fish looks amazing, Nami! I wish I wasn’t allergic! Congratulations on your award and after this, I’m going to check out your interview!

    As for what I’d like to see you cook?….I’d like to see you step out of your comfort zone and make something that is Uniquely American!

  15. It disappeared! I posted my mandatory entry. Thanks for the email, so I can do it again.
    I said something along the lines of wanting Chicken. I am not sure how much chicken is present in Japanese cooking. But that is my protein of choice, being that I am not a big seafood fan. I like the idea of mixing in other cultures into our mealtimes.

  16. What a gorgeous dish! Well, everything you make is beautiful. You are the savory version of me…but with better photos :)

    I’d love to see more chicken (I’d say seafood for me, but I’m more likely to make something for the family with chicken!).

  17. Okay, this weekend I will find a Japanese Market in my area (good luck to me), so I can start cooking some of your delicious dishes, Nami. This marinated fish looks so gorgeous and my wife will definitely love it.

    I’d like to see you cooking. . . let’s see, hmm. Noodles. Yeah — Noodles! On the following you thing… I am already following your posts everywhere, Haha! That is a good giveaway, Nami but I’ll pass and let your other fans have it. Checking your recipes, your beautiful photography, and of course the stories behind them is good enough for me. :) Have fun with this giveaway and again, congrats on the award! :)

  18. What a beautiful fish dish! I love the slightly burn sides. I have never heard of black cod, but we do have “regular” cod. I always wrap them with bacon and bake it in the oven. Bacon makes everything good!
    You cook some really amazing food, but I’d love to see you make a very typical Japanese dessert. Something that totally blow our socks off =)

  19. Jamie @ the unseasoned wok

    Oooooh miso butterfish is my absolute favorite food!! It’s so buttery and flavorful. I’m so happy for your success nami!! Keep up the good work.

  20. Nami, a fish marinated for a week is an ideal recipe for a cooking geek I often feel I am 😉 (It sounds as “geeky” as Aji no hiraki… you know what I mean?) Even if I don’t find this fish, you can be sure I will make your recipe with some other fish! (Do you have any other fish suggestions, just in case?)
    It looks beautiful with blackened sides, or is it your perfect presentation? I suppose both. You make beautiful, delicious meals and you present them in a professional way. How did you make this lemon slice stand in such a fancy way???
    I have just read your interview! Congratulations! You are becoming a huge star and you handle it so naturally…
    I am subscribed to your newsletter, but I shouldn’t be too greedy (or count on too much chance). I have recently won a wonderful knife at 5 Euro Food :-)

  21. hey Girl…will this recipe work with tilapia? or you need a thick cut of fish with skin on? I got loads of tilapia fillets yest & now looking for ideas:) Looks sensational and yum!
    Okay I LOVE your recipes and pictures and YOU but let me be mean & say that I would love to see few vegetarian recipes on your blog..just want to learn abt veg friendly japanese food!

  22. I used to hate Miso Cod when I was little but now I love it! Funny how our tastes change huh? Hmmm I would like to see more Japanese desserts- but I know you dont really bake that much…. 2nd choice would maybe be some Japanese pickles or veggie side dishes.

  23. Mmmmmm I have never eaten black cod, but it looks fantastic! I want to see if I can find it… or I will try this recipe with salmon! :-)

    Great give away Nami and congrats again!

    I’d like to see…. beef!

  24. I’m catching up on my blog readin’ … congrats!!!!!!!!!!!! And 1. I HEART sablefish! (I never knew it was also called black cod) and 2. I’d love to see more soba noodles on your blog (one of my favorite noodles :D). HUGS!

  25. Christine T

    Hi Nami… I like all your recipes… Love anything Japanese.. Would love any recipe with chicken and even squid.

    Thank you for the giveaway = )


  26. Mari

    I’d like to see more recipes with eggplant. Since eggplant has a “meaty” texture, I find that it is an ingredient I can use to create entrees that the vegetarians and carnivores in my family enjoy!

  27. This looks wonderful, I have always wanted to try butterfish. My daughter has loved salmon since she was little, but she is now getting more adventurous! I love seeing all your recipes here on Just One Cookbook. What I would really like…is to come for dinner! :) heheh…

  28. I make this recipe all the time and love it – it so simple and delicious. I would like to see more fish recipes – those are the hardest to be creative with at least i think so.

  29. Oh wow…I think I am late to make comment for this post as I see I am on the 149th place lo…l wow you really have a huge fan out there and hope you could see my post =) Nami, I think the black cod is the one we called here in the Philippines “Gindara” I love this fish but the only recipe I know for this one is char grilled marinated in salt and pepper and a zest of kalamansi( tiny version of lemon) =( , and I am happy that you have a great recipe for this…with miso we love miso…I will also email you if I successfully made this okay… thanks nami God bless.

  30. 142
  31. Kim Chiu

    Congrats on winning the CBS award, Nami! You truly deserve it!

    Also, I am following the steps to enter and win the $50 gift card:


  32. Laura

    I love your blog and recipes! I was raised on Japanese home style food so I’m excited to be able to make some of my own!
    I would love some more vegetarian or simple fish recipes.

  33. Your cod looks amazing! I love the combination of miso and fish. I’ve actually never cooked with miso before and would love to try.

    I think I would like to see more egg recipes if possible. I love the way Japanese recipes use egg!

  34. I love this recipe! I have to try it as soon as I buy some fish fillets. It looks like the perfect way to enjoy fatty fish.
    I’d like to know more about japanese pickles and seaweed salads. I always enjoy those appetizers at restaurants and would love to learn how to make them!

  35. Ewlung

    Bake/broil at 400f for 25 minutes? Thats too long I think. That will dry that fish easily.
    I prefer to set as high as possible, in my oven is 250C. Set to broil very close to the heating element on top. This will crisp and chared the skin, browned a bit the flesh. But wont dry the fish completely. About 8 to 10 minutes, depends on the size of the fish.
    When finished, brush the miso mixture a bit to the fish … To die for :)

    • Thanks for your feedback! I use a toaster oven to cook fish all the time at 400F and usually it takes about 25 mins to get the right result. However, each oven/toaster oven is different and the cooking time needs to be adjusted (especially my old oven requires more time). Black cod is really buttery that it never gets dry texture. But I will cook in my oven next time to see the cooking time. Thank you so much for writing so others can see your note.

  36. Janice

    Hi Nami, I made this over the weekend and it was sooo delicious! It definitely doesn’t need the added sugar that other recipes have. Thanks!

  37. Polly Hada

    I enjoy your blog very much. Many good recipes. Can you tell me how long a bottle of sake will last? We do not drink, but I would like to use it some of your recipes but don’t want to waste it. Is there a substitute? I await your reply

  38. Soko

    Hi Nami! Can I use regular miso instead of white miso and sweet white wine instead of sake/mirin? Or will this transform the taste entirely? Thank you!

    • Hi Soko! What is “regular” miso for you? Are you using red miso? White miso or at least Awase miso (a combination of red and white) is ideal for this dish. Red miso could be a little too strong/salty. However, if you like red miso and used to eating it all the time, it may not bother you much. Um… sweet white wine may not work. My recommendation is to use dry white wine (dry sherry) and sugar to replace sake + mirin. Again, with red miso, you may need to adjust the sweetness as it’s much saltier than white or awase miso. Hope this helps. :)

  39. This sounds delicious, I can’t get Miso here in Spain but will be in UK soon and so stocking up on all my favourite asian ingredients.

    PS your ingredients says “chieves”, I assume you mean chives?

  40. jayne

    Dear Nami,
    I took your advice, trying miso cod recipe :)
    As cod is not available in my country, I’m using gindara.
    It’s now marinating in my fridge, I really hope it will come out as delicious as your other recipes.
    One question, I’m using gas oven, do I need to turn on the broil? Or just fire from below part is enough?
    Thanks in advance. Will let you know the result :)

    • Hi Jayne! Gindara is great! If you have a toaster oven, that works great too (which I use it all the time). If the fish is cooked but doesn’t have a nice char on the surface, you can use broil to brown a little bit on the top (so that it looks delicious and tastes better). Otherwise, you should use your oven as you normally use to cook fish/meat. Hope this helps and you enjoy this dish! :)

  41. Melss

    I hardly find white miso here.., but i have korean doenjang (korean soybean paste) in hand. Can i subtitute the white miso with doenjang? Thx.

    • Hi Melss! Unfortunately, Korean doenjang doesn’t work for this recipe as miso plays an important role in flavoring, and the basic flavor of miso is completely different. Ideally this recipe requires Saikyo Miso, but white miso is an already the best substitute for this recipe. Hope you can find white miso online. I’m not sure where you live, but these days American stores like Whole Foods also carry a variety of miso, including white miso. You can find white miso on Amazon as well. Good luck! :)

  42. Hana

    Hello, this seems to be a wonderful recipe. I have yet to try this. I was wondering if it would be alright to substitute the 3 tablespoons of saikyo/white miso with 1 tablespoon red miso? Other recipes make use of 2 tablespoons yellow miso. I am aware that akamiso has a strong flavor. All I have at home at the moment is akamiso.

    Thank you. 😀

    • Hi Hana! If you don’t consider it’s “saikyo yaki”, and it’s miso marinated fish, aka miso is okay especially if that’s your favorite type of miso. However, it’s salty, so do not let the fish marinated for a long period of time. Let me know if you recommend not to use aka miso. Personally I haven’t tried this dish with aka miso and I won’nt be able to tell 1000% sure if it’ll work… :)