Posts Tagged fish

Mushroom tilapia

It looks like this little fishie is swimming, but alas for him, it’s now in mushroom sauce.

This dish began with a package of dried shitake mushrooms that my mother-in-law had sent from Japan. The mushrooms were soaked in water overnight to rehydrate them and simultaneously create a lovely broth.

Yusuke sliced the mushrooms and then added them back to the broth in a saucepan along with sliced green onions, enoki mushrooms, and a bit of water.

He also supplemented the broth with 3-4 tbsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp sake, and a pinch of salt. Everything was brought to a boil and cooked briefly.

Finally, he lowered the temperature and mixed in katakuriko (Japanese potato starch) to thicken the sauce.

Meanwhile, tilapia fillets were fried in a pan with a bit of sesame oil to bring out the flavour. Last, obviously, the fish was smothered in the sauce. Mmmm.

The dried shitake wasn’t as good as fresh mushrooms—rather more chewy—but they were still quite flavourful. I really like tilapia, and once again it came out well with a delicate, non-fishy taste.

And because I love mushrooms so much, here is another gratuitous commercial from Kinoko Hokto.

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Miso cabbage and mackerel

Ah, back to Montreal grocery stores. Sad. Fortunately, Yusuke is good at making the most of a lack of quality ingredients.

Pictured above is a simple side dish of boiled cabbage. The tasty sauce was made from:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp miso paste
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1/2 tbsp katakuriko (Japanese potato starch) mixed with 1 tbsp water

All ingredients were combined a saucepan and heated until thoroughly mixed. The sauce was drizzled over the cabbage and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

As Yusuke likes to end his recipe recital: “and that’s all.”

He also noted that the original recipe called for ground pork or beef, but he left it out, just for me. Aw.

We also had grilled mackerel with this meal, eaten with a bit of soy sauce.

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Tilapia and enoki

Yusuke wasn’t sure at first what he would be able to do with tilapia, but now that he’s used to it, the possibilities are endless. The fish has a very mild flavour and texture, so it can be combined with almost anything.

Yusuke sautéed the fish very briefly in olive oil before covering it in a lovely sauce. The centerpiece of the sauce was boiled enoki mushrooms (such funny things) along with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and dashi. The mushrooms gave the sauce a bit of thickness, and the taste was what Yusuke would describe as gentle.

Finally, the fish was topped with shichimi and alfalfa sprouts. おいしい!

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Daikon and mackerel

A very simple stew, perfect for winter: it’s said that eating daikon warms the body!

Yusuke simply peeled and chopped the daikon and combined it with chunks of mackerel (skin included). The two items were boiled together in a mixture of sake, mirin, soy sauce, and ginger—the latter to enhance the warming qualities.

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Rainbow trout

Yup, that sure is a fish. Trout, to be more precise.

After delicately chopping off the heads, Yusuke spread salt on the scales to get rid of slipperiness and any potential fishy smell. After rinsing the salt, he dusted the skin with flour and mixed Italian seasonings. He grilled each side in a pan with olive oil and then splashed the fish with sake and lime juice.

The fishies are resting on a bed of bean sprouts that were sautéed in olive oil.

Yusuke often says that he’s surprised to see pink flesh in rainbow trout—he’s more used to white—but the taste is the same.

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Tilapia and okra

This is eye-candy indeed. And so tasty, too. (N.B. Yusuke is responsible for the excellent photography.)


  • fillet of tilapia
  • white mushrooms
  • okra
  • tomato


Boil everything, Except the tomato, each separately. Chop it all up and combine.

Serve with a sauce made of the following:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • splash of lime juice
  • tiny bit of sugar

Last, sprinkle with shichimi togarashi (seven spices seasoning).

The original recipe that inspired this dish used shimeji mushrooms (we only had boring white ones) and daikon instead of the fish. But I think the substitution was extremely effective. I’m glad that Yusuke has found uses for tilapia: it’s super-duper cheap. On the other hand, this article says that it has a dangerous ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats. Ruh roh. But I think I’ll take my chances for the time being.

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Nabe with special dashi


Dashi package

Yusuke made this hot pot or nabe dish using some very special dashi that was given to us by a Japanese classmate in my French class. Dashi as a general category is a soup stock around which much of Japanese cuisine is based. This particular batch consists of dried shitake, katsuo (bonito in English, aka skipjack tuna, or so Wikipedia tells me), kombu (a type of seaweed), and tiny little fishies called niboshi (baby sardines: see below!). Dashi is generally made from boiling these items and draining off the resulting broth, but sometimes we eat it with whole pieces of the ingredients as well.


For this dish, Yusuke boiled fresh nappa, generous chunks of tilapia, bean sprouts, and big green onions in the dashi broth and added soy sauce, salt, and mirin to taste. I’m still not entirely clear on the distinguishing characteristics of nabe, but you can read more here.


I had my second portion of this lovely dish for lunch at work, and I added some of the fresh mochi that we had picked up from the Montreal mochitsuki (mochi-making festival). You can just lay the mochi on a plate, add a few drops of water, and microwave it for 30 seconds to make it good and sticky for adding to a soup. But I have to be careful about over-microwaving: it undergoes a similar expansion phenomenon to marshmallows. Very fun, but potentially very messy!

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Tilapia with ponzu sauce

I bought a fillet of tilapia at the grocery store, because it’s pretty much always the cheapest kind. Yusuke was skeptical that it would be too dry in comparison with our usual trout, salmon, or mackerel, but he gave it the old college try. This lovely dish resulted, and he liked it enough to buy tilapia again.

First he baked the fish in the oven, right on the rack (no oil added). He wanted to have ponzu sauce, which is a Japanese citrus-based dressing, but we didn’t have any. So he improvised with:

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
a bit of dashi powder

Halved cherry tomatoes and chopped green onions add colour and vitamins. We sprinkled shichimi seasoning over everything for extra spice.

Mmm, fish.

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Stewed mackerel


Hmm, that picture isn’t so attractive. Alas, it’s hard to make fish look pretty… So please accept my assurances that it was very yummy.

The technique is so simple that it’s hardly worth detailing a recipe. Yusuke boiled pieces of mackerel for about 30-40 minutes in a broth of sugar, mirin, and sake (1 tbsp each), soy sauce (5 tbsp), and a bit of dashi powder. Then we ate the fish. After being boiled, the skin could be peeled away easily with chopsticks.

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Jun-i encore une fois

Per tradition, here is documentation of our latest Jun-i feast (see previously here, here, and here).

kaiso salad


I opted to start with a tasty kaiso salad. In English, we really only have one word for “seaweed,” which is kind of inadequate. This salad shows the huge variety of plants in this family, with all manner of colour, texture, and taste. I particular like the light green crunchy one on the far right. N.B. the white stuff is thinly sliced daikon (radish). The dressing, which is used sparingly so as not to ruin the unique tastes of the seaweed, was a vinaigrette with ponzu (similar to lemon).

Yusuke went with the wonderful miso soup. So perfect. They make it with enoki mushrooms, tiny cubes of tofu, and sliver of green onions. Fortunately, both the salad and soup were large enough for two to share.

Next came the main course:



Yusuke went with the usual: the chef’s selection of sushi (above). I decided to be creative, though, and select some of my favourites from the sushi menu: tako (octopus), ikura (salmon caviar), salmon sashimi (VERY good organic), and unagi (sweetly barbecued eel). I also tried uni (sea urchin) for the first time. Extremely delectable. The texture, I was surprised to find, is wonderfully creamy. I really like taste of the nori with the ikura and uni, which are known as gunkan sushi due to the “battleship” shape.

On the topic of sushi, I found a nifty web page with sushi tips for people in North American and Europe. The uninitiated should especially check out “Warning signs that you probably won’t get good sushi.” I would add that in many cases, restaurants with “fuji” in the name (e.g., Fujiyama) are not likely to be authentic. Although written by a gaijin, Yusuke verified that the advice is accurate (despite some strange choices in romaji/transliteration).

Anyway, back to Jun-i: last was dessert. I was too stuffed to have my own, but I tasted Yusuke’s selection of a modified tiramisu with matcha (green tea) powder. Ooomm.


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