Lesson Five

Tools & Techniques for Making Delicious Simmered Fish Dishes

briefly "frosted" fish is cooled in ice water ...

... then simmered in miso-enriched broth

Saba no Miso Ni 


Mackerel Simmered in Miso

download the recipe here


A classic of the Japanese home kitchen MISO NI (miso-simmering) is particularly well suited to cooking oily varieties of fish – a category the Japanese call ao-zakana (literally “blue” fish). Ao-zakana such as sanma (Pacific saury; Cololabis saira) or mackerel are packed with healthful omega oils. Choose a pungent miso -- a  hearty red (aka miso) is best. Sendai miso is a particularly good choice for holding fishy flavors at bay.

A procedure known as “frosting” further enhances the flavor and texture of simmered or poached fish. The name "frosting" has nothing to do with cake-decorating. It is a technique in which fish is briefly blanched – barely dipped in boiling hot water, really – then plunged in ice water to force out unwanted flavors and aku (“froth,” the scummy stuff that floats to the surface). The surface of the fish whitens making it look as if frost has fallen… hence the name for the technique is “frosting.” Blot dry the fish before simmering it in a broth enriched by miso.

The Language of Food


落し蓋      落し豚

OTOSHI-BUTA or "dropped" lid, is used when simmering food. The word is a compound of OTOSHI (from the verb otosu "to drop" or "let fall") and FUTA (the word for "lid"). As is true for many Japanese compound words, the initial sound of the second word changes. In this case the F for futa changes to a B for buta.

The Japanese love to engage in word play. When silicon cookware started to become popular several years ago, some clever marketing entity designed a lid that resembeled a pig's snout. WHY??? Because it is a play on words: the Japanese word for PIG is BUTA.

Looking for other recipes using an otoshi-buta?

Visit KANSHAcooking workshop page

Every 6 to 7 weeks, I will post a new lesson to this Washoku Workshop page

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