Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) 銀だらの西京焼き

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  • Marinated in saikyo miso and baked to perfection, Black Cod with Miso is a beautiful seafood dish you can pull off at home. With its delicate and buttery texture, the Miso Cod simply melts in your mouth.

    Beautifully charred Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) served on a white Japanese ceramic.

    A classic Japanese dish, Black Cod with Miso (or simply Miso Cod 銀だらの西京焼き), is served at many formal Japanese restaurants. These days you may have heard of the dish after it’s made famous worldwide by the acclaimed fine Japanese restaurant chain Nobu. Luckily, the miso-glazed black cod recipe is simple enough that you can enjoy this wonderfully seasoned fish at home.

    Watch How to Make Miso Cod

    Marinated in saikyo miso and baked to perfection, Black Cod with Miso is a beautiful seafood dish you can pull off at home.

    Miso Cod, Black Cod with Miso on plates.

    Choose the Right Miso for Miso Cod

    To enjoy the succulent texture, we prepare the fish by marinating it in sweet miso for at least 2-3 days until the sweet & salty flavor is completely absorbed before it is cooked. Traditionally the fish fillet is soaked in the marinade for even up to 5-7 days. In Japan, we refer this marinade as Saikyozuke (西京漬け), and once it’s grilled, it’s Saikyo Yaki (西京焼き).

    Saikyo in Japanese means “west city”, which is the former name for Kyoto. This specific cooking method is named Saikyo because the recipe utilizes Saikyo Miso (sweet white miso) originated from the Kyoto area. The traditional Saikyo Yaki recipes include just three ingredients: Saikyo miso, mirin, and sake.

    Saikyo Miso on wooden table.

    The sharpness of the miso and sweetness of the mirin work wonderfully to cut the fish’s fattiness. When it’s baked to perfection, the deep flavor of the marinade comes through and the buttery flesh simply melts in your mouth. It’s so good that my young children can easily finish one fillet of the fish on their own.

    Substitute for Saikyo Miso

    Miso may be still a relatively new ingredient for many of you. You can purchase Saikyo Miso on Amazon or local Japanese/Asian grocery stores. If you are not able to find Saikyo Miso at your local Asian grocery stores, the best miso to substitute is white miso and increase the amount of mirin in the recipe.

    If you want to learn more about different types of miso, click here.

    Beautifully charred Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) served on a white Japanese ceramic.

    Other Fish Choices besides “Black Cod”

    Despite Nobu’s popular menu “Black Cod with Miso”, the fish used in this recipe is actually not related to a cod at all. “Black cod” is a common name for sablefish (Gindara 銀ダラ) or butterfish.  It’s known for its silky and tender rich texture and flavor. High in omega-3 fats, it is the preferred fish choice since it doesn’t have the strong taste of fatty fish like tuna or mackerel.  The creamy white flesh pairs extremely well with miso paste that is sweet, savory and salty.

    If you couldn’t find sablefish, you can also use other fish to enjoy with the versatile miso marinade. I like alternating between black cod, sea bass, or salmon 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.

    Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) 銀ダラ西京焼き | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    In the US, you can also find sustainable caught Alaskan black cod from online seafood companies. It’s rather pricey but it is still a much better deal to enjoy the fish at home than ordering at a fancy restaurant.  With some simple advanced preparation, this Black Cod with Miso recipe is so easy to pull off and the results are irresistible.

    If you are looking for a classic Japanese recipe for serving dinner guests, this Miso Cod will make a pretty impressive main dish. Prep it ahead, bake in the oven, and dinner is ready. Easy but no lack of elegance.

    Beautifully charred Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) served on a white Japanese ceramic.

    Baking vs. Broiling Fish

    Although I use a broiler in my oven to cook different types of fish often, I recommend using baking for this miso cod recipe. If you have cooked ingredients with miso before, you know miso burns really easily. You can’t avoid burning miso completely; however, you can minimize the burns by baking this fish.

    Here I summarized the difference in broiling and baking fish, and which type of fish is suitable for broiling or baking for your future reference.

    Broiling:

    When you broil fish, it’s placed closer to the element at the top of your oven. It’s not hot air that cooks the fish, but the infrared energy radiating from the element itself. Broiling is a much faster cooking method and fish will brown beautifully, but it burns miso, fresh herbs, and many other garnishes and requires constant attention.

    Baking:

    When you bake fish, the heat is carried through your oven by slow-moving natural currents of hot air, which is why baking takes a relatively long time to cook. But it can be relaxing as you do not need to constantly pay attention.

    Choose Based on a Kind of Fish

    • Fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and swordfish) can be broiled or baked at higher temperatures like a broiler, ranging from 400-450 ºF.
    • Moderately lean fish (such as cod and haddock) need to be brushed with oil before broiling.
    • Whole fish, large fillets, or lean and fragile fish (such as sole) can be baked at temperatures between 300-350 ºF to preserve their moisture and delicate texture and avoid broiling because it’ll be overcooked too fast.

    Beautifully charred Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) served on a white Japanese ceramic.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.31 from 105 votes
    Beautifully charred Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso) served on a white Japanese ceramic.
    Miso Cod (Black Cod with Miso)
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Marinade
    2 d
    Total Time
    2 d 30 mins
     

    Marinated in saikyo miso and baked to perfection, Black Cod with Miso is a beautiful seafood dish you can pull off at home. With its delicate and buttery texture, the Miso Cod simply melts in your mouth.

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: black cod, miso, miso cod, saikyoyaki
    Servings: 4
    Ingredients
    • 4 fillets sablefish (gindara) (you can also use salmon, sea bass, etc.)
    • 2 tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
    • 2 Tbsp sake
    Miso Marinade:
    • 6 Tbsp miso (saikyo miso or white miso)
    • 3 Tbsp mirin (if you use white miso, use 2 Tbsp mirin instead 1½)
    • 3 Tbsp sake
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients. As you will be marinating this fish for a few days, select the freshest fish possible.

      Miso Cod Ingredients
    2 to 3 Days Beforehand
    1. Sprinkle salt over the fish and set aside for 30 minutes. Salt will draw excess moisture and any fishy smell from the fish.  

      Miso Cod 1
    2. Put 6 Tbsp miso, 3 Tbsp mirin, and 3 Tbsp sake for the Miso Marinade in a bowl.

      Miso Cod 2
    3. Mix all together and pour the marinade into a flat bottom airtight container.

      Miso Cod 3
    4. Pour 2 Tbsp sake over the fish to rinse off the salt. Gently pat dry with paper towel to remove the moisture. Do not wash the fish under water.

      Miso Cod 4
    5. Place the fish in the container and coat both sides with the marinade.

      Miso Cod 6
    6. Slather the fillets with the marinade. Cover the lid and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.  You can freeze up to 2-3 weeks.

      Miso Cod 7
    To Cook the Fish
    1. Preheat oven to 400 ºF (200 ºC). With your fingers, remove the marinade off the fish completely. Do not leave excess miso on the fish; otherwise, the fish will burn easily. 

      Miso Cod 8
    2. Place the fish skin side up on baking pan lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.

      Miso Cod 9
    3. 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 as the flesh is very flaky.

      Miso Cod 10
    4. Carefully remove the fish with a spatula, and remove any burnt miso around the fish. Serve immediately. I serve the fish with thinly sliced red radish and a small green leaf from my backyard for additional color.

      Miso Cod 11
    Recipe Notes

    Miso: Traditionally we use saikyo miso (西京味噌); however, if you can't find it, you can use white miso (白味噌) instead.

     

    Sake: Sake is used to clean and remove the unwanted odor of the fish. You can't replace with water even though sometimes water is used as replacement in some recipes. We will marinate the fish for a longer time, and water can go bad and ruin the marinade and fish.

     

    Mirin: Typically mirin can be replaced with water and sugar, but for this recipe, please do not use water. Use sugar only. For 1 Tbsp mirin, use 1 tsp sugar.

     

    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.

    Editor’s Note: The post is originally published on Sep 21, 2011.  The photos and content were updated in November 2013 and July 2017. The video and new step by step pictures were added in August 2018.

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