Sea Bream is one of the most popular fish in Japan. It is used for many celebratory occasions, thanks to its Japanese name ‘TAI’ synchronizing with ‘MEDE-TAI (means ‘Cause for Celebration’). One of our 7 gods of fortune, Ebisu, holds sea bream in his hand. The fish is grilled first to bring the toasty aroma, then cooked together with rice in a pot. Umami streams down from the fish into the rice, it intensifies with the addition of sake, soy sauce and miso. You need a medium saucepan with a lid to cook this dish.
1 fillet/140g Sea bream
360ml/300g Japanese sushi rice
20ml/1tbsp+1tsp/24g Soy sauce
45ml/3tbsp/45g Cooking Sake
5ml/1tsp/6g White Miso
15ml/1tbsp/12g Clearspring Sesame Oil
5m/1tsp/1g Freeze Dry Yuzu
5ml/1tsp/2g Roasted Sesame Seeds
1 Spring onion
1. Wash rice
In a medium bowl, wash rice with a small amount of cold tap water. Gently move hand in circular motion about 30 times to clean the surface of the rice. Rinse with water until the water becomes clear. Drain water in a sieve, leave for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Cook sea bream
First, cut the fish into 2 or 3 pieces. Grill the fish with mid-heat with skin-side-up until the skin starts puffing and the colour turns slightly brown. Depending on the heat intensity, it will take between 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, preheat the oven at 180C, cook the fish with the skin-side-up for 15-20 minutes for the same finish.
Ginger – remove skin, thinly slice first, then cut into fine strips
Spring onion – thinly slice
4. Cook rice
Dissolve miso in sake by mixing first. Add the rice, soy sauce, miso dissolved sake, salt and water in a saucepan, mix well. Add kombu and sprinkle ginger on top, then lay down the sea bream skin-side-up.
Place a lid firmly, start cooking over high heat to bring to a boil. It will take up to 5 minutes depending on the heat intensity of your hob. As soon as it starts boiling (you will either see a steam coming out of the saucepan or hear the boiling sound) It is important to keep the lid on all the time.
As soon as it reaches the boil, reduce to the medium heat. Keep cooking for 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat further to the smallest setting you have. Keep cooking with the lid for 10 minutes.
Stop the heat, keep the lid on to steam for 10 minutes.
Open the lid, Transfer the fish to a plate. Pour sesame oil, sprinkle yuzu and sesame seeds over the rice, mix with a spoon.
Serve in a rice bowl with the sea bream fillet on top, garnished with spring onion.