Grilled Mackerel / 焼きサバ

Swords of Autumn (秋刀魚}

Takara Mirin Sweet Cooking Sake


Mackerel, Samma, Saba, Mackerel Pike are all members of the Mackerel family.  All are popular in Japanese cooking, especially in the autumn.  Many Japanese people seem to prefer the Samma, according to Japanese food expert Joan Itoh.

She points out that “because Samma is in season in the fall and due to its appearance, its name is written with Chinese characters that translate into autumn sword fish.” (秋刀魚)

Samma or Sanma has other names too,  It’s known in English as mackerel or saucy pike and formally as Cololabis saira.

According to a Japanese government lab report, Mackerel is high in fats, including Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and is also a good source of potassium

Here’s a recipe for Grilled Mackerel adapted from one Joan Itoh provided in the 190s:

Grilled Mackerel



6 Mackerel Fillets
8 tablespoons Soy Sauce
5 tablespoons Mirin
1 cup Japanese stock, Dashi


To prepare this dish, marinate the Mackerel filletsin the Dashi with half the Soy Sauce and 3 tablespoons of the Mirin.  Marinate in the mixture for a couple hours.

If the fish is Sanma, you can just split it in half and put it on a long skewer. If it is Saba, then you might need 2 skewers to hold the wider fillet.

Grill the Fish, basting with the marinating liquid from time to time.

Take the rest of the Mirin and Spu Sauce and bring to a boil in a small saucepan.  Simmer it until the liquid is reduced and thickened.

To serve, put the grilled Fish on individual serving plates nd pour the reduced sauce over them and serve. This recipe will serve six people in the context of a Japanese meal with other dishes and Rice.


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  1. Pingback: Japanese Cuisine, a healthy and delicious food lifestyle | Pacific Rim Gourmet

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