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Hamachi Kama はまちのカマ塩焼き

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    Also known as yellowtail collar, Hamachi Kama is a fish you will find on menus throughout Japan. All you need are four ingredients to make this traditional rustic dish.

    Hamachi Kama, Grilled Yellowtail Collar on a plate with yuzu soy sauce.

    Of all the types of fish we eat in Japan, Hamachi (魬, はまち, ハマチ) is a favorite among home cooks and professional chefs alike. If you go to a Japanese sushi restaurant, you will most likely find Negihama Maki, or Yellowtail Scallion Roll, offered as a type of maki sushi. Yellowtail is another name for Hamachi.

    This is a fish I always have on hand (fresh or frozen) because it takes no time to prepare (20 minutes), and I can make miso soup or quick side dishes at the same time. I promise the flavor of this fish, and the easy cooking method, will make it a favorite in your home, too!

    What is Hamachi Kama?

    Hamachi Kama (はまちのカマ) is the collar of the yellowtail located just above the gills and below the head. It is the fattiest part of the fish, making it naturally juicy, and there are two located in each yellowtail (one per side). Typically, Hamachi is grilled or broiled until the skin is crisp and the inside is just cooked through. You can easily scrape the flesh off the cartilage with chopsticks.

    What Is the Difference Between Hamachi and Yellowtail?

    There are several names for this fish—Hamachi, Buri, Yellowtail, or Japanese Amberjack—depending on where you are. What’s the difference? It all comes down to the age and size of the fish, and different regions of Japan will also name the fish based on the way it was caught (farmed vs. wild-caught). No matter what name you see on the menu, the raw fish should have pale pink flesh with a stripe of deep red coloring.

    What Does Hamachi Kama Taste Like?

    The flavor of the yellowtail collar is subtle and “clean.” The juicy texture of the meat can be compared to mackerel, but the taste is much milder. If you’ve tried fresh hamachi sashimi, you know the flavor is delicate, rich, and slightly sweet. It pairs beautifully with citrus, which you’ll see in my recipe below.

    Baked Hamachi Kama, Yellowtail Collar on a plate with yuzu soy sauce.

    Health Benefits of Hamachi/Yellowtail

    Hamachi, or yellowtail, offers a number of nutritional benefits. Because it is a naturally oily fish, it is high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon), which are important for brain and heart health. This fish is also particularly high in vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium. Like all seafood/meat, it’s important to buy good quality (it makes a difference in the flavor, too!), and only consume raw hamachi if you know it is “sashimi quality.”

    Where to Buy Hamachi Kama

    Hamachi Kama is available at most Japanese markets. Check the freezer section as well for individual packs of frozen Hamachi Kama. Korean grocery stores also sell them, sometimes at a cheaper price than Japanese markets. If you have access to a fresh seafood market, you can ask if they have “Yellowtail Collar” available.

    3 Reasons I Make Hamachi Kama at Home

    1. It’s fast – This recipe takes less than thirty minutes to make, which is perfect for busy days. There is always at least one package of Hamachi Kama in our freezer, which defrosts quickly under cold, running water.
    2. It’s easy – There is so much natural flavor in yellowtail that you don’t need much else to make it into a delicious meal. Before broiling the Hamachi Kama, brush the pan with a little oil to prevent sticking–that’s it! No need to season it because it will be served alongside a small dish of soy sauce and yuzu juice, like a simplified version of my homemade Ponzu Sauce.
    3. It saves time and money – There’s no doubt a traditional Japanese dish like this would cost more at a restaurant. It can be intimidating to try new recipes at home, especially if it involves fish or meat you haven’t cooked with. But once you see how simple and truly delicious it is, you may find yourself eating out less often.

    Hamachi Kama, Grilled Yellowtail Collar with yuzu soy sauce on a plate.

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    4.59 from 31 votes
    Hamachi Kama (Grilled Yellowtail Collar) |
    Hamachi Kama
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    25 mins

    Also known as yellowtail collar, Hamachi Kama is a fish you will find on menus throughout Japan. All you need are four ingredients to make this traditional rustic dish.

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: seafood, yellowtail
    Servings: 1
    Author: Namiko Chen
    • 1 piece Hamachi Kama (available in Japanese markets)
    • tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Use half for table salt) (optional - if you plan to lightly dip your fish in yuzu-flavored soy sauce, you can omit sprinkling salt)
    • 1 tsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (skip if you are not using a broiler + aluminum foil)
    To Serve
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • ½ tsp Yuzu juice/Yuzu extract
    • 1 wedge lemon (optional)
    1. Quickly rinse the hamachi kama in cold water and pat dry. If frozen, thaw beforehand by placing fish (still in vacuum-sealed package) in a bowl under a thin stream of cold, running water (20 minutes). Alternatively, you can put fish in a bowl of iced water to defrost (2 hours - but saves water), or in the refrigerator (9 hours).

      Hamachi Kama 1
    To Broil (Recommended)
    1. Preheat the broiler on high* for 3 minutes. Place the rack about 6" (15 cm) away from the top heating element (in the middle). *Typical broiler setting: Low/450ºF/232ºC, Medium/500ºF/260ºC, and High/550ºF/288ºC.

      Hamachi Kama 2
    2. Line a baking sheet with foil, and brush the foil with 1 tsp oil (to prevent fish from sticking). Place the Hamachi Kama on the foil, skin side down. Sprinkle salt over the fish.

    3. Broil it on medium for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are crispy and the top is golden brown and opaque. You do not need to flip it. It should flake easily with chopsticks or a fork.

    To Bake (Optional)
    1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/218ºC with a rack placed in the center.

    2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the Hamachi Kama on the parchment paper, skin side down. Sprinkle salt over the fish.

    3. Bake the Hamachi Kama for 20-25 minutes, until it's golden brown and opaque. You do not need to flip it. It should flake easily with chopsticks or a fork.

    To Serve
    1. Mix soy sauce and yuzu juice/extract together in a small dish, and serve immediately with the fish and optional lemon wedge.

    2. Squeeze lemon over the fish and dip Hamachi Kama lightly in the sauce to eat. Enjoy!

    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 and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Interested in More Japanese Grilled Fish Recipes?

    Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on January 18, 2011. The images were updated in September 2012.

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