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Grilled Mackerel with Shio Koji 塩麹の鯖の塩焼き

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    Delicious grilled mackerel fish seasoned with shio koji! The result is a umami flavored fish with a nicely charred crispy exterior.

    Grilled Mackerel with Shio Koji on a plate.

    Like many of you, I want to try to eat better and cook healthier meals for my family this year. Instead of red meat, we start to eat more fish since it has less saturated fat and cholesterol. One of our favorite fish recipes is Grilled Mackerel. Packed with omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, protein and potassium, mackerel is a great choice of fish to include in our diet. This grilled mackerel recipe is extremely easy to make and the only seasoning that I used was shio koji (塩麴), a versatile ingredient in Japanese cooking.

    If you’re new to shio koji, you can read more about this magical ingredient on this page about shio koji.

    Shio Koji in bottle and jars.

    Grilled Mackerel With Shio Koji

    Now that you’ve learnt about shio koji, let’s talk about this quick and easy mackerel dish.

    If you are a frequent visitor to Japanese restaurants, you’ve probably seen or tried Saba Shioyaki, or Grilled Mackerel. Saba shioyaki is mackerel seasoned with salt and grilled until the skin is crispy and the flesh is tender. It is sometimes included in bento lunch boxes as well.

    Since shio koji is rice koji that has been fermented with sea salt, I thought I would just swap salt with shio koji to make Grilled Mackerel. As I expected, the enzyme in shio koji brought out the umami (or richness – one of five basic tastes) of the fish and the result was simply amazing!!!

    The healthy oil from the fish gave it a nice crispy exterior. And the flesh was very tender and flavorful. With a beautiful char from the crispy mackerel skin, this simple fish dish is ready in minutes. 

    Make your own shio koji

    In case you are not able to find shio koji in your local Japanese supermarkets, I made this video tutorial for you to make your own shio koji. Koji is slightly easier to find than shio koji, so I hope you make your own shio koji to enjoy my shio koji recipes.

    Watch How to Make Shio Koji 塩麴・塩糀の作り方

    Delicious grilled mackerel fish seasoned with shio koji. The result is a umami flavored fish with a nicely charred crispy exterior.

    For a step-by-step recipe for Homemade Shio Kojiclick here.

    Grilled Mackerel with Shio Koji on a plate.

    To get the Shio Koji Karaage recipeclick here over at the Hikari Miso’s website. Thank you for reading my blog, and enjoy cooking with shio koji!

    Hikari Miso Shio Koji in a botttle.

    Note: If you cannot find shio koji, use 1 tsp. sea salt instead.

    Hikari Miso products are available in Japanese grocery stores and Amazon.

    Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hikari Miso. To read more about my partnership with Hikari Miso, click click here.

    5 from 2 votes
    Grilled Mackerel with Shio Koji | Easy Japanese Recipes at
    Grilled Mackerel with Shio Koji
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    25 mins
    Low in calorie and rich in protein, this dish makes a lean and healthy option for everyday cooking. Marinating the mackerel with Shio Koji allows the flavor to permeate throughout the flesh. Also grilling the fish lends it a crispy light char and leaves the inner fillet meat ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ tender.
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: shio koji
    Servings: 2
    Author: Namiko Chen
    1. In a flat container, put mackerel and Hikari Miso Shio Koji together and marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can adjust the marinating time according to the size of your mackerel fillets.

    To Broil (Recommended)
    1. Preheat the broiler* with a rack placed about 6" (15 cm) away from the top heating element (in the middle) for 3 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleaning (Brush the foil with some oil so the skin doesn't get stuck). Place the fish on the foil, skin side down. Broil it medium/high for 15-20 minutes, until the surface is blistered and brown a bit. You do not need to flip it. *Typical broiler setting: Low/450ºF/232ºC, Medium/500ºF/260ºC, and High/550ºF/288ºC.

    To Bake (Optional)
    1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/218ºC with a rack placed in the middle and bake the fish on parchment paper for 20-25 minutes, till golden brown, opaque, and flaky.

    To Serve
    1. Serve immediately with slices of lemon.

    Recipe Notes

    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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  • Gyoza served on a plate.
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