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Traditional Yellowtail or Tuna Teriyaki


Yellowtail teriyaki

Yellowtail teriyaki

Hank Shaw
This is a traditional recipe for yellowtail, also called hamachi, glazed with teriyaki sauce made the old-fashioned way. Modern teriyakis are often too sweet, and while you need the sugar to help caramelize the sauce, too much is cloying. Don't worry about the mirin needed here, as it is readily available in most supermarkets. This is a very simple recipe that takes very little time to prepare -- and you can use other fish. I'd recommend tuna, swordfish, mackerel, striped bass, bluefish, catfish or cobia. This recipe serves 4.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb yellowtail or other fish steaks
  • Salt
  • 4 T sake
  • 4 T mirin, a Japanese sweet wine
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sugar
  • 2 T vegetable oil (peanut is best)


Salt the fish steaks well and set aside at room temperature for 15-25 minutes.

In a small pot, bring the sake, mirin and soy sauce to a boil and stir in the sugar. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Using a large saute pan, get the peanut oil almost to a smoking point over high heat.

Run the edge of a butter knife along the skin side of the fish steaks, scraping off any moisture.

Turn the heat down to medium-high and lay the fish steaks -- skin side down -- in the pan. You might need to press down on them with a spatula to keep the skin from arching up. It'll relax in a minute or so.

Cook the fish 2/3 of the way on the skin side, then flip. It should come off easily, as the skin will be crispy. If you have skinless pieces of fish, just cook it 2/3 on one side.

Pour in the teriyaki sauce and turn the heat down to medium. Spoon some on the skin side of the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes -- longer if the steak is very thick.

Flip the steak one more time to set the teriyaki glaze. Gently shake the pan so it doesn't stick. Cook for 1 minute.

Serve immediately with steamed rice and a salad.

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