Full Recipe

Japanese Style Sanma

In the last few weeks we’ve been able to buy what I thought were sardines to sell from our fish counter during the weekend. It turns out that they’re not actually sardines but are sanma, a Japanese word translated as mackerel pike. The taste and texture are the same as sardines but they’re a little bigger. We sell them whole or, or if you email me elizabeth@lacigale.co.nz, by Friday afternoon I’ll clean them and butterfly them for you. This week I’ve prepared them in four different ways. In each recipe either leave the fillets whole or cut them in half horizontally. I haven’t given any quantities unless it’s important to keep the flavours balanced.


Recipe Japanese style sanma - USE this one


Butterflied sanma

Sauce – 3 tbps Japanese soy sauce

2 tbsps each of mirin, sugar, cooking sake, water

Garnish – sesame seeds, finely chopped spring onions


Dust the fillets with seasoned flour (I like to use rice flour). Fry in a hot pan in a little neutral tasting oil for a minute or two. Cook the skin side first. Set the cooked fillets aside and wipe out the pan. Place it back on the heat and pour in the sauce. It needs to bubble quickly and reduce a little so it becomes a little syrupy. Place the fillets in the sauce and thoroughly coat them. Sprinkle the flesh side with a few sesame seeds.

Serve on rice, add a few spring onions and spoon over any remaining sauce. Good with grated daikon or kohlrabi with a dash of soy on the side.


This recipe would also work with whole sanma. Gut the fish and either leave them whole or cut into pieces.