Sanma Teriyaki 秋刀魚照り焼き

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Sanma Teriyaki Recipe | My personal friends sometimes ask me if I become friends with any other food bloggers.  I would reply yes and typically they follow up with the question if I have met any of them in person.  The answer is yes, I got to meet up with Kay from My Home Cooked Meals twice when she visited SF this year.  And yesterday, I was also fortunate to meet two new food blogger friends in person, Elisabeth from Food and Thrifts and Joanna of Chic & Gorgeous Treats.

Sanma Teriyaki II

Elisabeth flew in from Florida and Joanna from Malaysia to attend the 2011 Foodbuzz Blogger Festival.  I only had a few hours to spend while my children were in school but I had such a lovely time with two ladies in a tiny French pastry shop.  I was in a such a hurry that I didn’t bring my camera so no photos to share…Sorry!  It was a first time meeting them in person, but we kept talking about food, blogging, the festival, and 2 hours went by really quick.  I had to run back to get my kids from school or else I wish I could have spend more time with them.

Now let’s talk about food.  One of readers in Singapore told me Sanma (Pacific Saury) is still in season and it’s pretty cheap there (about $4 for 2 whole Sanma in the US).  So today I’m sharing one more Sanma recipe.  Please check my other Sanma recipe, Sanma Shioyaki, if you haven’t seen it yet.

In my Beef Teriyaki post I briefly explained that Teriyaki is a cooking technique, which we cook fish/meat till the sauce starts to luster, but “that” sauce we make became very popular outside of Japan.  We don’t really have a specific name for the luster sauce we cook, but this combination of sauce ingredients are used for many dishes in Japan.  My fellow blogger Arudhi of A Box of Kitchen made Teriyaki Saury a month ago and as you see, we make the sauce slightly differently, but the cooking method is referred to as “teriyaki”.  In Japan we use many different kinds of fish prepared this way, and that’s why I mentioned in the previous post that the teriyaki style of cooking is used more on fish than meat in Japan.  Now let’s go over this quick and easy Sanma Teriyaki recipe.  Oh, and don’t forget to come back on Friday!  I made some sweet treats for you… 😉

Sanma Teriyaki III

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Sanma Teriyaki
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 2 Sanma (Pacific Saury)
  • ½ Tbsp. Konbucha or salt
  • Sea salt
  • Oil
  • 1 finely chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbsp. julienned ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. sake
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  1. With a sharp knife cut the abdomen of the fish into the flesh to open it up. Scrape out the guts and discard. Rinse under cold water to clean and remove any traces of blood. Cut into 2 inch piece.
  2. Sprinkle Konbucha and salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. In a non-stick frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat. Add the fish and cook both sides. When the fish is cooked, wipe off extra oil on the frying pan.
  4. Add the seasonings. Shake the frying pan and coat the fish well with the sauce.
  5. When the sauce gets thicken, add green onion. Shake the frying to mix. Serve the fish on a plate and pour the sauce over. Serve immediately.
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.


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  1. I meant to tell you in my last comment that it’s nice to know that teriyaki is the method of cooking rather than the sauce. Until your post, I always thought it was just a sauce. This fish looks really great. I haven’t seen that type of fish here, but there are a few smaller local kinds of fish that I would like to try this method of cooking with. I see that this time you left the head off as well :) Great post!

  2. Nami, thank you for the mention! I just had grilled sanma for dinner when I read this post, what a funny coincidence 😀 I have never tried konbucha before and you made me want to go get it from the store now.

  3. This looks quick and easy to prepare and my husband would build a statue in my honor if I made this. I am so looking forward to Friday to see what sweet treat you make!

  4. I love all the flavors together. I’ve never tried this fish before but will check it out next time I’m at the Asian market or would I be able to find it at the seafood market as well?

    • This fish is caught in Asia and it’s very common there. I would look in Asian stores first. But you can replace this fish with any other fish as well. :-)

  5. Nami, I still remember Arudhi’s recipe! I have promised myself I will prepare it even if I don’t find exactly the same fish. Your sanma teriyaki looks beautiful and luscious! It makes me want to run and buy any fish and do it for tonight’s dinner.
    How I wish I were one of the bloggers who are lucky to meet you :-(

  6. Another simple fish dish, I gotta get some Sanma the next time we head to Super H Mart! Oh it’s so wonderful to hear you are meeting food blogger friends in real life, I know the next time we head to SF it will be so exciting to meet you and your whole family!

  7. Eri

    Hello Nami, Me too, I thought that teryaki is the sauce and not the method.. Good to know the real deal!
    I’m glad that you had fun meeting the other bloggers, I only know in person bloggers from Greece.. and they are fabulous! :)
    Now about the fish, never had Sanma, it looks like mackerel.. but I want to tell you that yesterday I made my first teryaki dish with shrimps and vegetables.. It was so easy to make and so delicious! i got the idea from your Beef Teryaki..
    Oh, and another thing, I visited babbles to vote for you and I saw that your blog is so high ranked! Congratulations Nami, you really deserve it!
    Have a great day!

  8. How fun and exciting it is to meet up with other fellow blogger friends! How I wish we lived closer! 😉
    Another beautiful, yummy dish! I’ve not been cooking any dishes with teriyaki sauce for quite some time. Maybe I should cook it again! 😀
    Have a great day!

    PS: Would it be tasty if I use other types of fish? Which other type would you recommend?

  9. I love meeting up with blogger friends near and far. It’s a great thing about this community of friends. This dish sounds so delicious. I love the seasonings as always. You are so adventurous with the whole fish, I haven’t gotten that brave yet!

  10. Definitely something I would really like. You know that I like fish, don’t you Nami? I am not familiar with this fish but have eaten something like this in a Japanese restaurant ( it’s called pike, don’t know if it’s the same). I can just imagine how that tastes with Japanese rice.

  11. I have always thought that teriyaki is the name of the brownish sauce which always contains soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar. What an enlightenment to know that it’s actually simply a cooking technique! I have to admit I am not a real fish lover, but I would have this dish anytime! It looks so delicious!

  12. We are really getting quite the lesson on teriyaki, I love it. And I am not sure if I have had it in a fish recipe, will have to try. Yes meeting other food bloggers is the best, especially when someone is from out of town.

  13. Oh, YES, I am green with envy that you got to meet Elisabeth (and Joanna)! Such fun! I hope to go to a Foodbuzz Festival one of these times :)

    And the flavors in this dish sound marvelous! I don’t think I could get my family to eat it, but I’d jump at the chance :) Your top photo is perfect. Hope you will give scones a try…I know you will love them!

  14. This looks really good Nami but I’m sure you know what I’m thinking :) – Sanma Shioyaki coz I have a soft spot for that! BTW, the saba shioyaki turned out well, the only thing is I will need to place it on a elevated grill before grilling it next time to prevent the fish from cooking in its own juices, but still, it was yummy and could have been a little more dry like the restaurants.

  15. Gosh! Nami you have cooked our favourite dish. So far we having being ordering this dish from our usual Japanese restaurants rather than cooking it at home as I am not sure on how to handle it. Now with you detailed recipe I could give it a go after getting the fish :)

  16. Nami – I’m SO glad you got to meet other food bloggers! Would you believe – I just finished CHATTING with Joanna on-line. She’s awesome!

  17. Learned something new here-teriyaki as a cooking method. Funny how some things get twisted around. The final plating does look delicious and I am sure it tastes amazing. When I see these type of dishes I long to be on the coast-fresh fish is hard to come by here.
    I have always wanted to meet fellow bloggers in person and that is why I am seriously considering the festival for next year. Have a great day!

  18. Hey Nami!

    whats Konbucha and mirin? I realy wanna try out this dish, my husband would love it.

    btw meeting bloggers. I was thinking of that the other day and realized it might get difficult for me to ever meet any of my food blogging friends. I might be able to meet prats from pratscorner one day, cause she doesnt live that far away from Goa, which would be fun! Anybody around Austria from March on? at least we get to connect all here online! ^.^

    • Konbucha and mirin are both Japanese condiments. Mirin is one of the important condiments for Japanese cooking. Konbucha is made of seaweed (konbu), which is used for drink or seasonings.

  19. I did not make it for the Foodbuzz Festival due to the dampening weather and how it may impact my recovery (also I did not want to put on a sling around my arm in crowds…) but I am glad you met up with some blogger friends.

    I need to check out this fish and try to cook it at home if I can. Recently, I got some saba fish and guess what – adapted your negi miso and use it to marinade the fish before grilling in the oven. It was good but I did not take photos after cooking cos there was already no natural day light coming through the home by the time dinner was cooked :(

  20. Mika

    Hey, you alwasys carry iPhone that has a very nice camera!!!!!

    Anyway, I love eating Sanma, but hate to cook (I mean touching a fish with a head….). So for me, Sanma is something I eat at a Japanese restaurant ; )

  21. I am a big fan of Teriyaki style!! I always order Salmon Teriyaki whenever I go for Japanese meals :-)
    I have tried the Sanma in both shioyaki and teriyaki style, and loved them.
    I am so jealous that the fish is so cheap in the US, ughs, we are on an island and our fish and seafood are just so expensive! I wonder why:(
    Looking at your post makes me wanna go for a Japanese meal now….

  22. Uh oh. Here I sit writing my first teriyaki chicken post and now I find out that teriyaki isn’t really the accurate name for the sauce. :/ I was actually proud of making a teriyaki sauce and I’m guessing it wouldn’t truly qualify as Japanese food at all, would it?

  23. I’ve never tried Sanma – it reminds me a little bit of Sardine though… is it similar? It looks like a nice neat little fish though – fun and tidy to cook with. You know, though, I’ve never gutted a fish in my entire life. If I ever buy fish, the guy at the stall or fish-counter will always ask if I want it “vidé” (gutted, in French) and I always almost scream “yessssss!”. It kind of grosses me out a bit :( Presumably gutting at the point of sale is quite a world-wide thing though, at least in the west – are there any advantages to gutting it yourself at home? Just curious why you’d want to put yourself through the trauma! I know, it probably sounds very silly and for most people it’s probably not a big deal – I guess I just need to try it a few times myself and stop being so damn fussy about it!

    • Nowadays in Japan, all the fish in supermarket is prepackaged (fillet or whole fish). Sanma is famous for cooking the whole fish without intestine intact. So they sell the fish with gut and people enjoy the bitter taste of it (sounds scary to most of my readers I think??). So I had to remove the gut on my own. Most people in Japan know or learn how to gut fish. I think that’s how we’ve been doing through generations… when I was small there were fish stores, but I don’t remember if they clean the fish for customer. Now those small fish/meat/vegetable stores are all gone in big city, replaced by supermarkets and everything is packaged. Although it’s very common for us to clean fish, I’ve never seen the whole chicken sold in supermarket in Japan and never knew how to prepare whole chicken until I came to the US. So…I think it’s cultural difference?

  24. This is beautiful Nami. I love fish but rarely make it. It intimidates me a little bit. Glad I stopped by to see you make such a lovely dish. Motivates me to step outside my comfort zone.

  25. Allan Garcia

    Hi, I work as a Cook at the Japanese cargo vessel. While browsing your site I saw this recipe and tried it. And my Japanese officers loved it :)

    • Hi again Allan! Thank you so much for sharing your photo on my Facebook fan page. Your dish looks excellent! So happy to hear your officers enjoyed this dish! Thank you for trying my recipes. :)