8 ratings

Nitsuke Fish Simmered With Sake, Soy Sauce, And Sugar

Recipe excerpted from 'Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking' by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Evan Sung

Even my mother made a pretty good nitsuke— that’s how easy this dish is to cook. A familiar mixture of dashi, sake, mirin, and soy sauce infuses the fish with its flavor and turns a modest collection of ingredients into something that’s exciting and comforting at once. Because it takes only a little extra effort and adds a ton of flavor, I like to break with tradition and reduce the cooking liquid into a more intensely flavorful sauce.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking by Masaharu Morimoto. Click here to purchase your own copy.


  • 1 1/2 Cup dashi, kombu dashi, or water
  • 1/2 Cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/2 Cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 1/4-inch-thick coins peeled ginger
  • 4 4-ounce skin-on fillets fatty white-fleshed fish, such as Spanish mackerel, redfish, Chilean sea bass, or black cod
  • 1/4 Pound drained medium- firm tofu, cut into 4 equal pieces


Combine the dashi, sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger in a medium skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the fish skin side up to the skillet in a single layer and cover with a wooden or foil otoshibuta. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 12 minutes. The fish will be fully cooked after about 8 minutes; the longer cooking time is meant to infuse the fish with the flavor of the cooking liquid.

Remove the otoshibuta, carefully transfer the fish to a plate, and increase the heat to high to bring the liquid to a boil. Add the tofu to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until the liquid reduces slightly and its flavor intensifies, 8 to 10 minutes.

Return the fish to the skillet and continue cooking, basting constantly with a spoon, for a minute or two. Serve right away in shallow bowls with some of the cooking liquid. Or even better, remove from the heat, cover with the otoshibuta or partially with a lid, and let the fish sit for 10 to 15 minutes, so the fish absorbs even more flavor from the sauce.

Nutritional Facts
Calories Per Serving259
Total Fat4g7%
Vitamin A54µg6%
Vitamin B120.9µg15.7%
Vitamin B60.6mg28.3%
Vitamin C0.9mg1.5%
Vitamin D6µg2%
Vitamin E1mg6%
Vitamin K0.8µg1%
Folate (food)18µgN/A
Folate equivalent (total)18µg4%
Niacin (B3)4mg18%
Riboflavin (B2)0.3mg15.6%
Sugars, added3gN/A
Thiamin (B1)0.2mg12.1%