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Miso Salmon

You hungry yet? Marinate salmon fillets in a mix of miso and local pantry staples like soy sauce and sugar. Then broil or bake, and eat. Don’t forget the rice.

Miso salmon, ready for lunch (or dinner)

File miso salmon under the list of dishes where the taste results far exceed any required effort ^_^

Miso Salmon

Miso salmon is one of those recipes that are Japanese in original, but also “very Hawaii.”

You’ll find miso salmon on the menu of plate lunch spots and casual restaurants. Fancy restaurants make their own elevated version of miso salmon. Miso salmon is also a popular fish option for many pre-packed bentos (we love bentos in Hawaii ^_^). You can even buy pre-marinated miso salmon at the supermarket (just take it home and bake the salmon in the oven).

It’s also a dish that families often make at home…

Key marinade ingredients

Why Make Miso Salmon At Home?

Easy! Two reasons:

  • It’s ridiculously easy to make
  • It’s also super delicious (and pretty healthy!)

We always keep salmon fillets in the freezer. And all the other ingredients you’ll need are Hawaii/Asian pantry staples.

Clean and pat dry the salmon fillets. Then make the miso marinade.

Miso Salmon Method

The recipe I have at the bottom of this post is for 4 salmon fillets, each one weighing 5-6 ounces.

I prefer salmon fillets from the Japanese supermarket (Nijiya and Marukai for those in Honolulu), because they cut salmon on a diagonal, making for thinner cuts. That way you get more fish surface area for the miso marinade. 

But no worries if you’re not near a Japanese market. It is not a big deal. You can also buy the salmon from Costco Hawaii and cut it into smaller fillets at home. Or just regular style cuts from any supermarket. 

After you clean and pat dry the salmon fillets, set them aside on a plate or cutting board and let’s start making the marinade!

Miso Salmon Marinade

Fyi, I’ve included affiliate links below. I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you), if you purchase through the links.

In a big mixing bowl, mix together: white miso, mirin, soy sauce, vegetable oil, white sugar, and minced ginger. (Note: the sugar in this recipe is optional, especially because mirin is already sweet. But I find that adding a bit of sugar helps the fish caramelize very beautifully. Worth doing.)

I say big mixing bowl, because this is the same bowl in which we marinate the fish. The fewer dishes we need to clean, the better.

Make sure the miso marinade covers all the salmon

Time To Marinate

Put all four salmon fillets into the mixing bowl of marinade and make sure each fillet is well coated. Put plastic wrap over the bowl and stick it in the fridge. You can let it marinate for as little as one hour, or up to eight hours. The flavor will get more intense (and salty) the longer you marinade.

Six hours is my preferred sweet spot. I prepare it right after I finish lunch. And then it is ready right in time for dinner.

Remove excess marinade before cooking (otherwise it will burn quickly)

No Excess Marinade

When you’re ready to cook the salmon, use the side of a fork and gently slide off any extra marinade. You might be tempted to keep on a thick layer of marinade (it smells so good! it costs money!), but don’t do that. By the time you’re done marinating, the salmon already absorbed the necessary miso taste. You don’t “lose” anything by removing excess marinade.

Why is removing the marinade so important? Miso burns quickly at high temperatures and we are cooking the salmon at a high temperature. You don’t want the salmon to come out all burnt (which would cost even more money).

Hot from the broiler, waiting our bowl of rice.

Broil Or Bake

After you remove the excess marinade, place the salmon on a small baking sheet (I line the sheet with foil for easy clean up). 

Preheat the oven broiler for a few minutes. Then broil the salmon for 5-minutes. Tadah, dinner is ready!

If you prefer not to use the broiler (or already use the broiler space as storage), you can also bake the salmon. Bake it at 450F for 8-10 minutes (exact back time depending on the size of your fillets, and how many you’re baking). 

How To Eat Miso Salmon

Like practically every other recipe on this *blog, miso salmon is best with rice! We always have the rice cooker going at home, so just scoop out a big bowl of rice and eat this on the side. 

You can also make DIY handrolls/wraps, like we did in this Furikake Salmon post. 

This salmon is best hot, hot, straight from the oven. But it’s also great at room temperature, making it a very time flexible dish.

*In another life, this blog would be called Over Rice ^_^

Substitutions

  • Instead of using mirin, you can use sake (or white wine, in a pinch) plus 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • Instead of white miso, you can use red miso. Red miso is stronger in flavor, so you might want to cut down the amount of miso by a small bit (1.5 tablespoons red miso instead of 2 tablespoons white miso).
  • Instead of salmon, you can use any other type of fatty fish (like butterfish/black cod, which is a very popular fish in Hawaii) or even chicken (I’ll post a recipe for miso chicken soon).

Miso salmon, ready to eat!

Miso Salmon Recipe

See below for the recipe. Go home, cook rice! Enjoy, enjoy ^_^

Miso Salmon

Miso Salmon

Yield: 4 salmon fillets
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Simply marinate salmon fillets in a mixture of miso and other pantry staples like soy sauce and sugar. Then broil (or bake), and eat! With rice, of course.

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Clean and pat dry the salmon fillets, set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together white miso, mirin, soy sauce, vegetable oil, sugar, and minced ginger. Marinate the salmon in the miso marinade for at least an hour (and up to 8 hours).
    3. Preheat the oven broiler. Remove the salmon from the miso marinade and brush off any excess marinade. Place the salmon on a small baking sheet lined with foil.
    4. Broil the salmon for 5 minutes. Top with sesame seeds and green onions, if you'd like. Eat with rice ^_^

Notes

  • Do you have a toaster oven? Make this in the toaster oven (two fillets at the time because it's hard to fit all four fillets), to make this recipe even easier.
  • Not comfortable with using the "broil" setting on the oven? You can also bake the salmon (about 8 minutes at 450F). You won't get that super crisp, charred exterior, but it still be very tasty.

Romy

Saturday 20th of February 2021

Made this in the toaster oven. Great weeknight recipe. Simple to prepare and turned out well. Putting it into regular rotation. Looking forward to the chicken variation. Thanks Kathy!

Kathy

Saturday 20th of February 2021

Aloha Romy - I'm happy you enjoyed! Thank you so much for the kind words ^_^ - Kathy

Alan

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

Hi Kathy: instead of miso, have you ever made this dish with kasu (sake lees)? Japanese call this kasuzuke and when I lived in Honolulu, I used to make kasuzuke with salmon and butterfish and black cod. IMO, it was super ono!

Kathy Chan

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

Hi Alan! Ooo I've had restaurant dishes made with kasu but haven't cooked with kasu at home...will definitely give it a try next time! Sounds so ono ^_^ - Kathy

Karen

Monday 20th of April 2020

Kathy, I made this last night. It was soo very good! I am really loving your recipes; thanks so much. Karen

Kathy Chan

Monday 20th of April 2020

Hi Karen! Hooray! Thank you so much for the kind comment, you made my day :) I'm so happy you're enjoying the recipes...more to come soon! - Kathy

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