Salted salmon is a popular Japanese breakfast and bento box staple menu. I miss this salted salmon but have never found it in supermarkets or fish markets overseas. So I decided to make my own.
What is Shiozake/Shiojake
Shiozake or Shiojyake is a Japanese salmon dish. Also it is simply called Sha-ke. Shio is salt in Japanese, and both zake, jyake and shake means salmon. So, I hear you ask, Why are there many ways for labelling salmon in Japanese?
There is not a clear explanation but the most likely theory is the term Jyake originated in the indigenous Ainu people’s language, who live in mainly Hokkaido island. Most people in Hokkaido call salmon Sha-ke or Ja-ke (when the word is combined with Shio).
Salted Salmon in Japan
Shiozake/Shiojake in Japan is as ubiquitous as bacon in the USA. When Japanese people say salmon, they are usually referring to salted salmon. I have never seen or bought a raw salmon fillet in Japan and it wasn’t until I migrated to Australia about 20 years ago when I saw my first raw fillet. Vice versa, I have never seen salted salmon filet in an Australian supermarket.
So unless you are fortunate to be living close to a Japanese grocery store (which probably would sell them) we need to make Shiozake from fresh salmon. Which salmon should you use? In my humble opinion, if we can make Shiozake, any salmon fillets will work. I bought frozen salmon fillets packed individually from Aldi. I thawed them in the fridge the night before. Or you can get fresh salmon fillets from supermarkets.
How to make Salted salmon
It is relatively quick and easy to make shiozake if we don’t count the curing time in fridge. Simply clean and pat dry the salmon fillets. Weigh the salmon to determine the amount of salt to use. Usually 5% of salt is used. Wrap them with paper towel and refrigerate overnight or 7-8 hours.
How to cook Salted salmon
In Japan, cooking tops have a special compartment to grill or broil fish. Of course, people living outside do not have that luxury. I use a Japanese Fish Broiler Grill Rack to grill shiozake. Also I sometimes use my fan forced conventional oven grill setting. Atr 180°C(356°F) for 7-8 minutes.
Shiozake is usually served as part of a traditional type of Japanese breakfast along with Tamagoyaki, and Miso Soup. Or in a lunch box, Obento. Also shiozake is a popular filling of Onigiri rice balls and Sake Onigiri.
Tips to make delicious Shiozake
- Before sprinkle salt over the salmon, sprinkle sake in order to remove fishy smell.
- Wrap salted salmon with kitchen towel to prevent over drying in the fridge.
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- 300g/10oz salmon fillets
- 15 g salt 5% of salmon weight
- 1 tbs sake
- Pat dry the salmon fillets with kitchen paper towel.
- Pour and sprinkle sake over salmon fillets.
- Sprinkle salt on both sides of salmon fillets.
- Wrap the salmon fillets with kitchen paper towel and cling wrap over.
- Refrigerate the fillets over night or at least 7-8 hours.
- Grill for 7-8 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees celsius.
- Serve with plain steamed rice.