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Sable Fish Recipe

Sable fish (a.k.a. ikan mas) is an iconic dish among Asian cultures.

It’s also one of Japan’s most popular seafood dishes.

What Is The Recipe For Sable Fish?

Ikan Mas is a traditional Japanese food originating from Okinawa Island.

In this article we will be discussing how to cook this particular dish using fresh sardines caught locally by fishermen who use nets to collect them.

The name “sable” comes from its silvery appearance when cooked, as well as its texture – like velvet.

This makes it easy to carve into thin slices or cubes, making it perfect for sushi rolls and other types of rice-based meals.

The taste of sable fish varies depending on where in the world it is served.

Some people prefer their sable fish to have more crunchy texture while others prefer it to be slightly softer.

You can even find different varieties of sable fish around Asian countries such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.

Here are some tips on what you should know before cooking your own batch of sable fish:

  • It takes about 5 minutes for each piece of sable fish to grill at medium heat so prepare enough space in your oven.
  • You need to use a good quality oil to keep the meat moist during grilling process.
  • The best way to eat sable fish is to slice it thinly and add it to steamed white rice.

Let’s now take a look at how to make sable fish!

sable fish recipe

How Do You Make Sable Fish?

Ikan Mas is traditionally served as part of a sushi or nigiri meal, but it can be enjoyed on its own too.

Sushi chefs often serve this delicacy with wasabi paste, shoyu katsuobushi, and/or tobiko roe.

In addition to being great eaten plain, sable fish is also used in many other ways.

You can add it to salads, soups, stews, stir-fries, tempura batter, and even desserts!

What Are The Ingredients For Sable Fish?

The main ingredient in this sable fish recipe is a small freshwater fish called saba.

Saba or sabra is a variety of carp native to East Asia.

Sable fish is commonly found in lakes and rivers throughout China, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, and Japan.

You can buy fresh sable fish from your local supermarket, but if you don’t have access to them, frozen sable fish will work just fine as long as they haven’t been sitting around too long.

You should be able to get a decent-sized piece for about $5 per pound.

For other types of fish recipes like cod, scallops, monkfish, tuna, and shrimp, check out our guide on how to prepare these foods.

Where Can I Find A Recipe For Sable Fish?

If you know where to look, you will be able to find a number of different recipes on the internet.

However, some websites may have outdated information or even incorrect information about this particular type of food.

To get reliable sources, check out your local library or bookstore instead.

You might even want to ask friends who live near Japanese restaurants if they can recommend any good places nearby.

Or, you could try asking your mom!

She probably knows where all the great sushi spots around town are located.

sable fish recipe2

Japanese Sushi Restaurants Near Me

One of the best resources we found was

Here, you can search by language (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Russian), region, price range ($10-$20 per plate), and location.

If you don’t see what you need listed, you can contact them directly at 1-888-988-4700 or email [email protected].

A Recipe for Sable Fish

The following recipe from JSR shows how to prepare sable fish using traditional techniques.

They start by making a mixture of sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sake, mirin, and water.

Next, the fish fillets are cut into bite sized pieces and put in a bowl along with the marinade mixture.

Finally, the fish is left to sit overnight before being cooked over medium heat until the flesh turns opaque.


  • Ingredients: ½ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 2 cloves minced garlic, ¾ tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon sake, 3 tablespoons mirin, 1 gallon water, 5 pounds fresh sable fish fillet(s)
  • Directions: Mix together sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, sake, mirin, and water well. Place sable fish fillets in a large ziploc bag and pour marinade mix over top. Seal the bag tightly and place in refrigerator overnight.
  • To cook, remove fillets from marinade and discard excess liquid. Heat grill pan over high heat. Add fillets skin side down and grill until charred brown, approximately 4 minutes each side. Serve immediately.

How Long Does It Take To Make Sable Fish?

Making fresh sable fish takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

If you want to serve this dish as soon as possible after cooking, then follow these steps:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wash all the ingredients thoroughly by hand or under hot running water.
  • Put the ingredients into individual bowls and put them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.
  • Cover each bowl with more aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the fish flakes easily when pressed between two fingers.

If you would rather not cook the sable fish immediately, just place the fillets onto a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it until ready to use.

You can store it up to three days in the refrigerator but don’t leave it sitting out too long because the texture will get mushy if left out longer than 24 hours.

Once you have the sable fish prepared, here are some tips for how to eat it:

  • Use chopsticks! Sushi chefs often recommend using chopsticks for eating sable fish since they help to cleanse the palate before consuming other foods.
  • Eat it raw! Raw sable fish has a very strong taste so try to avoid overdoing it by adding other flavors like wasabi or teriyaki sauce.

When is the best time to order sable fish?

The best time to order sable fish is during summer months because the fish is caught mainly off the coast of Hokkaido, where it thrives throughout the year.

In winter however, there isn’t much demand for sable fish due to its high cost compared to other types of seafood.

What Temperature Should The Sable Fish Be Cooked At?

The cooking method used to prepare this dish will depend on how you intend to serve it.

If you plan to eat your sable fish raw, then the ideal temperature would be around 60°C/140°F, as this will preserve its texture while ensuring that all of the nutrients are still intact.

If you want to eat it hot or cold, however, there are two different methods recommended by experts.

The first option is to grill the fish over medium heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 50-55°C/122-131°F.

The second option is to bake the fish at 150°C/300°F for about 12 minutes per side.

Once the fish has been removed from the oven, allow it to cool before slicing and serving.

You can garnish the finished product with lemon wedges if desired.

sable fish recipe3

What Is The Best Way To Cook Sable Fish?

I can’t speak for all types of sable fish, but there aren’t many options when it comes to cooking this particular species.

That said, I have successfully prepared the following two recipes using different types of sable fish.

Both have been well-received by my family members.

  • Grilled Sable Fish Recipe (Japanese)
  • Steamed Sable Fish Recipe (Chinese)

For both recipes, you will need sable fish fillets or steaks cut into bite-sized pieces.

If you don’t want to prepare your own sable fish, you can buy packaged frozen sable fish fillets from any grocery store.

What Are Some Tips For Making Sable Fish?

I’ve tried many different ways to prepare this tasty fish over the years, but my favorite method has always been slow-cooking it on low heat until the meat falls off the bone.

If you prefer your food cooked fast, then maybe you should try this quick and easy sable fish recipe instead!

You won’t need much time to prep or cook this dish because all you really need is 1 hour and 30 minutes from start to finish.

  • Ingredients: 1 lb fresh sable fish fillet, cut into bite-size pieces
  • For the marinade: 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 3/4 cup sake, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
  • Instructions: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sake, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the fish and stir well to coat evenly. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Place all ingredients except the fish into a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Bring water to a boil and place the fish onto the basket. Cover and steam for 45 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time.
  • Remove the fish from the stovetop and allow it to cool slightly before serving. Serve hot with extra wasabi paste sprinkled onto each piece. Enjoy!

How Can I Make Sable Fish If I Don’t Have The Ingredients?

If you live outside of Asia, or if you just want to try something different from your usual meals, this is where you should look for inspiration.

Sable fish recipes abound on the internet, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find one that suits your tastes!

Here are two excellent ways to prepare sable fish:

  • Use cod fillets instead of tuna.
  • Make use of frozen spinach instead of fresh.

1. Use Cod Fillets Instead of Tuna

There are many varieties of sable fish available at local supermarkets, but they all share similar qualities.

They’re usually large-sized and meaty.

If you’ve never tried sable before, then you might not know what kind of fish you’ll get when you shop around.

Some varieties include yellowtail, bigeye tuna, amberjack, and even salmon.

You can easily substitute these other kinds of fish into the recipe below, as long as they’re about the same size as the ones listed here.

The first step in preparing sable fish involves soaking the dried fish in warm water for 15 minutes.

Afterward, place the pieces of fish into a bowl filled with cold water until you’re ready to cook them.

Then, add 1 tablespoon of salt per pound of fish.

Next, cut 4 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons of minced ginger root, and 3 green onions into small slices.

Mix everything together and set aside in the refrigerator.

Next, remove the skin off your sable fish by cutting along either side of each piece.

Once you’ve done that, start rubbing the inside of the cavity with olive oil.

Now, pour half of the marinade over the fish, then put the rest back into the fridge.

Let the fish sit overnight in the fridge, covered tightly.

When you’re ready to eat it, heat up your oven and cook the fish slowly for about 10 minutes.

2. Make Use of Frozen Spinach Instead of Fresh

This method doesn’t require any special equipment, and it only requires a few simple steps.

First, thaw out your frozen spinach completely, drain it thoroughly through cheesecloth, then chop it very finely.

Put the spinach into a mixing bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger root, and a pinch of white pepper powder.

Add more soy sauce or sugar depending on how much spice you like.

Once you’ve mixed everything together well, spoon the mixture evenly onto both sides of each piece of sable fish.

Cook the fish in an uncovered pan for about 12 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time.

Serve immediately after removing the fish from the pan.

What Are Some Variations Of The Sable Fish Recipe?

There are many ways to prepare this dish depending on what you like or prefer.

For example, some people add vegetables such as carrots or potatoes while cooking the sable fish, but others do not.

Some cooks even use dried seaweed instead of fresh.

The main thing to keep in mind when preparing sable fish is to use high-quality ingredients so your final product tastes great.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • You can either cook the sable fish whole or cut into pieces before cooking them. If you choose to cut up the fish, be sure to remove any bones first. Then follow the steps below to complete the process.
  • If you want to avoid using MSG, try adding more salt to the water used during soaking. If you do this, however, be careful because too much salt will spoil the taste of the fish itself.
  • If you want to serve the sable fish piping hot after cooking, then use a pressure cooker rather than a regular pot. This way, you won’t need to wait long before eating the food since the pressure cooker reduces cooking time by half compared to normal pots.
  • Some recipes call for boiling the sable fish before cooking it—this method takes longer, but gives you better results. However, if you only have limited time, then skip the boiling step. Instead, simply put the cooked sable fish in cold water to cool down quickly.
sable fish recipe

Sable Fish Recipe

Sable fish (a.k.a. ikan mas) is an iconic dish among Asian cultures.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sable Fish Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 106kcal


  • 1 Pan


  • 1 pound sablefis
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon pepper

For the wine braised tomatoes:

  • 8 ounces grape tomatoes
  • ½ shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon thyme


  • Each piece of fish should be rinsed in cold water before being dried with a paper towel to eliminate extra moisture.
  • Salt, black pepper, and garlic powder should be used to season the fish on both sides. If you have the time, let the salmon fillets warm up to room temperature (approximately 20 minutes).
  • Two teaspoons of avocado oil should be added to a big nonstick skillet. On a medium-high heat, warm the oil.
  • Fish fillets should be added to the pan skin-side down and seared for 4–5 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and golden brown.
  • Flip the fish over carefully, then sear the fleshy side of the fillet for two to three minutes.
  • Fish should be taken out of the pan and left to rest on a platter.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the same skillet and set the burner to medium heat.
  • Scrape the pan’s bottom as the oil heated to get rid of any leftover fish pieces.
  • Add shallots and grape tomatoes to the skillet. Cook tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they start to soften. To shorten the cooking time of the larger tomatoes, you might wish to pierce them with a fork.
  • Sauté for a further 30 seconds after adding the garlic. Observe the garlic. It mustn’t burn. Rapidly move on to the following stage if it starts to become brown.
  • To the skillet, add white wine and chicken broth. To remove any stuck pieces, scrape the pan bottom once more. Let the liquid simmer for a while.
  • When the sauce has at least decreased by half and the tomatoes have wilted, simmer for 5-7 minutes. Just before serving, add some fresh herbs.
  • You may either serve the fish with the grape tomatoes and white wine reduction immediately on top of it or separately. Before serving, drizzle some of the white wine sauce over the fish if you’re serving the tomatoes on the side.



Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 624mg | Potassium: 453mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 563IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
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