Easy Japanese Recipes

Saba Misoni (Simmered Mackerel in Miso Sauce) 鯖の味噌煮

Simmered Mackerel in Miso Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com I realized I haven’t posted a Japanese fish dish for a while so today I want to share a very easy and simple recipe.  The featured fish will be Mackerel and the Japanese name is Saba.  Does that ring a bell yet?  You probably have seen Saba Shioyaki (Salt Broiled Mackerel) on a menu at a Japanese restaurant.  However, today’s recipe Saba Misoni is not broiled but simmered in a miso-based sauce.  This dish is very common dish in Japan and my mother made it just as often as Saba Shioyaki.

Before going to the recipe, I’d like to thank Pola from An Italian Cooking in the Midwest for passing me blog awards!  Thank you Pola!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Saba Misoni (Simmered Mackerel in Miso Sauce)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Serves 2
  • 2 (.5 lb) Mackerel fillet
  • ½ tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 skinny green onion (optional)
  • 2 round slices of carrot (optional)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. miso (I use Awase Miso (mix of red and white miso))
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sake
  • 1 Tbsp. sliced ginger
  1. Rinse mackerel in cold water and pat dried. Make a cross incision on the skin side.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients for Seasonings and bring it to a boil. Stir well so that miso is completely dissolved.
  3. When boiling, place mackerel in the pan, skin side top. Reduce heat to medium heat and put an otoshibuta on (not the regular lid). Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add soy sauce and stir well by shifting the pan. Remove from heat and serve the fish on a plate. Pour extra sauce on top. Garnish with green onion and carrot flower petal. Serve immediately.


Saba Misoni II

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  • Manu June 8, 2011, 12:11 am

    Mackerel is one of my favorite fishes. I like what we call “blue fish”: mackerel, sardines, anchovies, tuna… they taste great! This is a very interesting way of cooking it! I love your site, I am always learning something new. :-) Lovely presentation as always Nami! :-)

  • Tanvi@SinfullySpicy June 8, 2011, 12:13 am

    Love how healthy, easy and delicious this looks.I see that you take so much of efforts when styling your food – the carrot flowers look pretty with scallions! I miss fresh water fish a lot in USA- after coming here my fish consumption has reduced a lot!

  • Raymund June 8, 2011, 12:16 am

    Wow! That looks so awesome. Yummy!

  • kat June 8, 2011, 12:20 am

    delicious recipe, I don’t cook fish often enough.

  • Nate @ House of Annie June 8, 2011, 12:45 am

    Very nice! I’m going to have to try this, and soon. We love mackerel.

  • daksha June 8, 2011, 1:46 am

    very nice! awesome yummmmm!

  • Maris (In Good Taste) June 8, 2011, 2:10 am

    What a pretty presentation! Looks delicious!

  • Giulietta @ Alterkitchen June 8, 2011, 2:41 am

    Nice food dish, Nami! Looks tasty and light! Perfect for the summer!

  • purabi naha June 8, 2011, 3:42 am

    Nami, I loved this Japanese way of cooking Mackarel. I have heard so much about sake, but didn’t know how to use in cooking. Saba Misoni rocks! Now I shall ask my Japanese friends here to tell me from where to get an otoshibuta.

    • Nami June 9, 2011, 8:09 pm

      Thank you Purabi! I’m not sure if you have checked, but I have a page for How To Make Otoshibuta. You don’t have to buy it unless you really want the lid. I don’t own one myself…I usually make it with aluminum foil. :-) Sake is one of the important condiments we use for cooking Japanese food. :-)

  • blackbookkitchendiaries June 8, 2011, 3:42 am

    this post looks so pretty! thank you for sharing this! it is just stunning:)

  • Lyn June 8, 2011, 3:49 am

    Hi Nami! Great fish recipe! I love strong flavored dishes and I never know that miso can be cooked this way besides the miso soup! LOL :P

    • Nami June 9, 2011, 8:20 pm

      Hi Lyn! We have so many dishes that we use miso. :-) I hope I can introduce more miso flavored dishes! :-)

      • Lyn June 10, 2011, 6:38 am

        That’s great Nami! I’m looking forward for them! No hurry.. :)
        Enjoy your weekend! :D

  • Lyn June 8, 2011, 3:50 am

    Oh! Congrats on your awards too Nami! I clicked too fast… hee… :P

  • Liz June 8, 2011, 4:23 am

    Nami, how GORGEOUS! Your food styling just takes my breath away! Congrats on your blog award, too :)

  • Three-Cookies June 8, 2011, 5:14 am

    Very nutritious.. Mackeral has great flavour. BTW misoni sounds a bit Italian:)

  • Tastes of Home (Jen) June 8, 2011, 6:21 am

    Nami, I love saba! Yours look perfect and is totally hunger-inducing!! Have to eat some soon =)

  • Adora's Box June 8, 2011, 6:35 am

    Nami, by now you know how much I love fish. Mackerel is such a lovely fish and it has so much flavour. I get to buy good mackerels sometimes and this is one dish I can make with it. I can’t wait.

  • ray June 8, 2011, 7:28 am

    Nami this Mackerel looks very delicate and delicious. I am drooling just by looking at it. With a bowl of rice, I am in heaven!

  • Belinda @zomppa June 8, 2011, 8:15 am

    Mackerel is so good for you and I love the combination here.

  • Sissi June 8, 2011, 8:22 am

    Nami, your simmered mackerel looks so much better than mine. Like in an elegant Japanese restaurant!!! I don’t even mention the photo, yours are always perfect! My mackerel looked like a huge mess (http://www.withaglass.com/?p=4619)! I have been making it with red miso, cut it whole (although lately I try to eliminate most of the big bones, since they don’t soften, as some people say in their recipes). I find it a pure delight. I must try it with fillets only and in white miso, like you.

    • Nami June 8, 2011, 4:23 pm

      Hi Sissi! Yours look delicious Sissi! I didn’t know you also cook Saba no Misoni. You really cook a lot of Japanese dishes and surprise me. :-) I use Awase Miso (mixed with white and red) for most of my cooking because my mom uses that. Let me know if you like Awase Miso. Regarding bones – my mom use a pressure cooker to cook it but I don’t have it so fillet is very easy. :-)

      • Sissi June 9, 2011, 12:45 am

        Thank you Nami for having a look at my mackerel. As I said it’s so messy… I will try one day using awase miso. Now I use either red or white organic miso. Strangely both are equally salty (not very salty in fact) and I prefer the red miso (I think it’s especially the colour…) in everything apart from my breakfast miso soup (miso soup with tofu is the best breakfast in the world! I regret not having discovered it a long time ago).
        I know, the recipe I used to do this (I didn’t know your blog at the time!) advised a pressure cooker or long cooking, but even three or four hours don’t soften the biggest bones without a pressure cooker (I don’t have).
        Next time there will be fillets only!

  • Beth Michelle June 8, 2011, 8:53 am

    YUM!! I loveee saba! And any fish in miso is perfect in my book!

  • Kim Chiu June 8, 2011, 9:34 am

    Look delicious, I can’t wait to try! I love saba!
    Thanks Nami!!

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking June 8, 2011, 9:37 am

    One more incredible recipe Nami! Wonderfully presented and mouthwatering photos! Yummy!!!

  • Tina (PinayInTexas) June 8, 2011, 9:46 am

    Congrats once again on your awards Nami!
    I would love to try this recipe. Ryan said Saba in Miso Sauce was one of his favorites when he went to Japan for training, and he introduced me to this canned Kakukawa Miso Mackerel which we buy from time to time at the Asian Store. I like it…but I’m sure making it on my own would be a whole lot better. I’m really glad you posted this one!

    • Nami June 9, 2011, 9:42 pm

      Hi Tina! So I wasn’t sure about canned Kakukawa Miso Mackerel, so I googled it, and I KNOW THIS BRAND! Oh my god, this is like very traditional canned mackerel! I didn’t know the name but never forget the “look”! These has bones in it and it has good calcium. I’m sure you and Ryan will like Saba Nitsuke. If you use fillet, it cooks very fast and very moist unlike this canned mackerel. Enjoy!

  • Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen June 8, 2011, 10:03 am

    Another beautiful and inspiring post Nami! Great job!

  • The Harried Cook June 8, 2011, 10:36 am

    That looks great, Nami! Love the pictures… Looks very appetizing! Congrats on the awards too :) Fabulous post!

  • Allie June 8, 2011, 11:12 am

    This recipe seems like it would be so complicated but it isn’t and it looks TASTY! Way to go :)

  • Kate@Diethood June 8, 2011, 11:37 am

    Nami, that looks crazy delicious!! I love the way that you prepared it…yummo!

  • Katherine June 8, 2011, 12:50 pm

    First of all, have I mentioned lately how gorgeous your photographs are? Simply stunning. Second of all, I love this technique, and I love miso with fish. AND I have some miso in my fridge right now! Done and done.

  • Tiffany June 8, 2011, 1:01 pm

    I think that the simple dishes are often some of the best dishes! And you can’t go wrong with sake and miso!

  • Mika June 8, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Wow! This picture looks like you took it at one of those Japanese restaurants! I also love sabanomisoni ; )

  • Robert June 8, 2011, 2:01 pm

    Nami this looks really beautiful and I think I will try this very soon! Can you confirm the miso this calls for is shiro miso? I have some red on hand but want to be sure I have it right. How would it be if I substituted the two?

    Glad to hear you are feeling better and thanks again for the terrific blog!

    • Nami June 8, 2011, 4:26 pm

      Hi Robert! Thanks for asking the question. I use Awase Miso (mix of white and red miso). I will mention in my recipe above. For the brand I use, you can check my Pantry page. I grew up with Awase Miso (depends on region/family type of miso people use is different), so all of my miso soup and miso dish is with Awase Miso. Thanks for your caring words. :-)

      • Robert June 8, 2011, 5:23 pm

        Thanks for replying! Silly question maybe, but if I already have white and red miso in my pantry, can I save some $$ and make my own mixture out of those (like a 1:1 ratio, for example?) or do you recommend buying the Awase miso?

        • Nami June 8, 2011, 7:07 pm

          Hi Robert! Yes you can mix. Some people mix miso at home for their prefrence too. I think you can start with 1:1. Remember red is salty while white is more mild. You can make your own Awase Miso at home. :-) Just make sure you mix in a bowl before you start cooking. :-)

  • Peggy June 8, 2011, 3:06 pm

    I don’t use mackerel very often in my cooking, and I don’t know why! You make this look so delicious – and I’m definitely intrigued by the miso sauce =)

  • daphne June 8, 2011, 5:36 pm

    another way to use miso! nami, i love this- while i dont usually use mackerel, it certainly makes me think of using it!

  • Happy When Not Hungry June 8, 2011, 8:26 pm

    This dish looks beautiful!!! It’s making me hungry :-)

  • Firefly June 8, 2011, 9:03 pm

    I love the look of this dish. Fish is one of my favorites so I can always use more recipes :)

  • Mandy - The Complete Cook Book June 8, 2011, 10:02 pm

    Nami what an incredible dish and so beautifully decorated. I haven’t eaten mackerel for the longest time and when I do, I am sure to use this wonderful recipe.
    :-) Mandy

  • Sawsan@chef in disguise June 8, 2011, 10:40 pm

    That is an interesting recipe Nami..I love rading your recipes..there is always something new in them…
    Stunning photography and presentation as always

  • Anncoo June 9, 2011, 3:35 am

    Oh Nami, I love Saba too and it is not expensive here. I usually pan fry or grill the saba and I would definitely like to try your method with the sauce. Looks so delicious :)

  • pigpigscorner June 9, 2011, 4:06 am

    Sounds relaly simple and flavourful! Looks great!

  • Biren @ Roti n Rice June 9, 2011, 6:01 am

    I have not tried this and it looks delicious! It is not easy to find fresh fish here in the Midwest and the choices are pretty limited. There is a fish market downtown but too far for me to drive there on a regular basis.

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) June 9, 2011, 6:33 am

    This looks delicious, and I love the beautiful arragement with chive stalks and carrot flower! :)

  • Shaz (feedingmykidsbetter) June 9, 2011, 6:47 am

    Looks like a perfect dish with steaming hot rice 

  • Jill @ Dulce Dough June 9, 2011, 9:07 am

    Your saba misoni looks great! I love Japanese food but am intimidated when it comes to actually making anything myself. I’m glad I found your blog with such great instructions for everything.

  • sonia June 9, 2011, 9:15 am

    Hello Nami,
    This is looking absolutely delightful. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Thank you so much for all theappreciating comments on my space. It means a lot to me and every word is precious. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  • Cooking Gallery June 9, 2011, 11:23 am

    I am actually not such a huge fan of fish and the only kind of fish I like is something like fishcake or salmon in sushi ;), but this looks so delicious I might even be willing to try it. Unfortunately I’ve always been a rather picky eater and during the last few years my eating habit and the types of food I eat have gotten more and more unhealthy, for example I really enjoy eating fried foods now and in the past I didn’t care so much about them…! Btw, Nami, just want to let you know too that I’ll answer your e-mail during the weekend, I’ve been awfully busy this week and I tend to get too tired after work to do much, I hope it’s okay…!

    • Nami June 9, 2011, 2:12 pm

      Thanks CG! Actually, I don’t have too many repertoires of fish dish. My mom used to alternate dinner menu with meat or fish everyday (more balanced than mine), but I tend to cook way more meat than fish. Since my son started to eat regular food, he shows huge interest in fish than meat, so I’ve been cooking a lot more fish because of him. This is one of his favorite dish too. My son loves fried food too, but I still try to use my mom’s method…trying to balance out with other cooking methods and ingredients. :-)

  • Kim - Liv Life June 9, 2011, 11:56 am

    Nami, your photos are simply amazing!! You should be working for a magazine.
    I’ve never actually had mackerel, but this recipe has me tempted. I’ve forwarded your blog to a friend of mine who is from Japan and she wrote the other day that she is really enjoying your writing! Thanks for such beautiful posts!

  • Chris's Gourmet Fashion June 9, 2011, 12:57 pm

    I love this recipe. That’s what’s the great thing about sharing recipes … what to you seems the obvious and everyday food may seem quite exotic to someone who has never tasted it … Keep these lovely recipes coming :)

  • Cindy June 9, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Nami, how in the world did I miss this post? Glad to hear San Francisco is having warmer weather, I bet you and the family are enjoying being outdoors finally! I have officially quit my 3 day diet, it turned out to be more of a 2 and half day diet and I only lost 3 pounds. Who cares, I rather be enjoying the delicious foods than starving myself and not being able to taste the dishes I cook.

    My husband loves fish, and every time we go to the Asian supermarket, I can see it in his eyes how much he wants me to cook Mackerel. Too bad I didn’t grow up eating this so I would look at the fish fillets and be dumbfounded as what to do with them, end up never buying them. I gotta try your recipe soon, it looks like something I couldn’t really mess up!

    • Cindy June 10, 2011, 9:23 am

      Nami, I gained back 1 pound already, so that diet no longer works well now I am 37 years old! Oh well, I am not going to focus on that and ruin all the food blogging fun…

      2am? Oh lord you are getting worse than me. When I started my design business, I used to stay up until 1:30am, now I’ve slowly moved my bedtime to 12:30am, less dark eye circle this way. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the warmer weather!

  • Christy June 9, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Yes, yes, yes…saba shioyaki is the common one in the restaurants, and I often wondered whether they have the mackerel in other variants besides salted and deep fried. I like this, A LOT!:) Next time, I must ask for Saba Misoni at the local Japanese restaurants and look at their baffled faces…LOL:)
    I love Japanese food, especially anything with any sort of sakana in it…hehehe:D

  • Jeannie June 9, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Hi! first time leaving a comment here but have been dropping in to drool over your delicious photos:) Lovely blog!I love the look of this saba miso dish of yours..bet it tastes very good.

  • Holly June 9, 2011, 6:59 pm

    Im not a big fish lover, but this looks amazing!

  • Reese@SeasonwithSpice June 10, 2011, 2:00 am

    Hi Nami, Your site is a great resource for Japanese home cook recipes. Very well done. The step-by-step guide is very useful too. Thanks for sharing this tasty way of cooking mackerel. Love miso!

  • chopinandmysaucepan June 10, 2011, 4:28 pm


    This is an interesting looking recipe. Mackerel is one of my favourite fish in Japanese cuisine. I love either the grilled saba shioyaki style or the vinaigrette sushi style and now another new version!

  • Sandra June 11, 2011, 7:49 pm

    I’m still catching up Nami, and this picture is fantastic!

  • silei June 25, 2012, 5:15 am

    Hi Nami! I’m had the saba for dinner and it tasted great! I’m pleasantly surprise that it wasn’t too salty and overwhelming :D

    • Nami June 26, 2012, 1:47 am

      Hi silei! I’m happy you liked this recipe! :-) Thank you so much for letting me know!

  • Jelly August 11, 2012, 9:34 am

    I admit that I’m not a huge fan of fish, but this one has me really excited. The description that the miso removes the fishy flavour is a big selling point!

    • Nami August 11, 2012, 2:43 pm

      Hi Jelly! I hope you will give it a try and enjoy this fish. It’s one of very common fish dish in Japan. My family loves it and it’s easy to cook (that’s the best part for me haha). :-)

      • Jelly September 8, 2012, 5:53 pm

        Hi, Nami! I finally got to try this, and I was very impressed with how the fish taste was negated, leaving a firm, tasty fish behind. I will definitely try it again! And yes, the ease is such a great thing about this.

        • Nami September 8, 2012, 9:56 pm

          Hi Jelly! So happy you tried and liked it! Thank you for stopping again here to leave me your feedback! :)

  • maria andriana March 13, 2014, 3:56 am

    I love your blog. it is inspire me. My name is Maria, Indonesian.
    I am writing a book about Japanese food. I learn some food during I lived for four years in Tokyo.
    When I looking for Japanese recipes I read a lot of blogs and Youtube, beside asking my Japanese friends and I find your lovely blog with good recipes and nice picture.
    Thank you for sharing those recipes.
    Even I share your blog address to my friends.
    Shime saba is my husband’s favourite (beside sashimi and sushi of course)
    I am sure I will always look closely this blog.

    Yoroshiku onegaitashimasu


    • Nami March 14, 2014, 1:18 am

      Hi Maria! Thank you so much for reading my blog and recommending it to your friends! Arigato! :)

  • Cassandre June 6, 2014, 5:01 am

    Hi Nami !

    My sister is studying for her high-school exams, and I’m her “chef” for lunch! :)
    Today was a Just One Cookbook meal with your saba miso, japanese cucumber salad, and I used the seasonings of your matsutake gohan to cook spelt. We loved it so much! Everything was very tasty!


    • Nami June 9, 2014, 1:53 am

      Hi Cassandre! You’re such a sweet sister! :) I’m so happy to hear you tried my recipes and had a wonderful Japanese menu! It sounds so delicious! Thank you so much for taking your time to write feedback. I really, really appreciate it! :) xo

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