Flavor Of Halfbeak Enhanced By Power Of Kelp

Flavor of halfbeak enhanced by power of kelpThrough the ages, culinarians have sought the best way to enhance the flavor of each ingredient in their creations. “Konbu jime,” where kelp is used to flavor ingredients, is an example.

The firm meat of raw halfbeak (sayori) becomes tastier through this process. Instead of the usual way to sandwich the fish between kelp, Kimio Tomura, owner of a Kyoto-cuisine restaurant, dips the fish in strong kelp stock.

The kelp adds to the "umami" and draws out the aroma of fish often lacking in sashimi. Serves four.


2 large or 4 medium halfbeak

1 liter water

40 grams kelp

20 grams salt

100 cc sake

For “waridashi” stock:

80 cc bonito-kelp dashi stock

2 Tbsp light soy sauce

Juice of 2 to 3 sudachi citrus


Immerse kelp in 1 liter of water for three to four hours to make stock.

Scrape off scales from fish using back of knife. Cut head off straight. Slice open stomach, pull out guts using corner of knife near handle. Thoroughly scrape off black membrane on stomach. Rinse fish under running water and pat dry including inside of stomach. Pull out abdominal fin. Fillet fish. Slice off abdominal bones. Pull them out if fish is big.

Add salt and sake to kelp stock. Place fish and leave for 40 minutes in cool place, but not in refrigerator. Remove and pat dry. Leave in fridge for 30 minutes.

Mix ingredients for waridashi stock, a handy seasoning to use when soy or ponzu sauces seem too strong.

Place fish skin-side down. Make incision where tail ends, press skin with back of knife. Hold end of skin with other hand, pull off skin while moving knife back and forth.

Turn sides and make fine shallow incisions from head to tail for easy chewing. Cut into three to four equal parts and halve width.

Lay pieces out on kitchen board before moving them to dish. Serve with grated wasabi, other garnish and waridashi stock. Dish will keep for about two days.

Estimated time: 90 minutes (80 minutes to prepare and soaking, 10 minutes to finish)

Nutritional information (per serving): kilocalories, 20; sodium content, 1.3 grams; fat content, 0.2 grams