What is Kasuzuke?

The method of using such wild yeast as malted rice to treat fresh seafood may be unique to Japanese cuisine.

Among all fish dishes, the exquisite kasuzuke is an indispensable dish in Japanese meals. Kasuzuke adds a distinctive flavor to fish while removing its fishy odor. The rare, sophisticated taste and excellent nutritional value of kasuzuke are now attracting food lovers throughout the world.

In Japan, the harvest season for new rice crops is the time when the brewing of new sake begins. When the sake brewing is nearly complete, fresh sake kasu (sake lees) become available and kasuzuke can be produced. The key to making delicious kasuzuke is to use high-quality sake lees and seasoning ingredients, as well as wild caught seafood. Various types of fish are used for kasuzuke, but the most popular is black cod, followed by salmon.

Selecting Additive-Free, Wild-Caught Fish

Kasuzuke is a food uniquely traditional to Japan. Sake lees are used to bring out the natural flavors of the fish.

To enhance the health benefits while complementing the natural flavors of the fish, the method of preparation should be followed carefully.

We at Nijiya Market make kasuzuke using our most popular fish varieties wild caught black cod and wild-caught salmon- based on our own special recipe.

Nijiya Market strives always to deliver safe products to you, our customer, so of course we hold firmly to our “no additives” policy.

It is true that additives can help food look more appealing and last longer. However, additives can also accumulate inside the body, possibly causing harmful effects to our health.

By maintaining an “additive-free” mindset, Nijiya works to provide safe products to all our consumers, including children and people with food allergies or atopic dermatitis, who might be susceptible to reactions to food additives.

The Right Way to Make Delicious Kasuzuke

You can make it on your own or buy one that has already been pickled.

Nijiya’s kasuzuke are fully pickled, which means the flavors have been completely distributed throughout the flesh. Just remove the sake lees by wiping or rinsing lightly in water. If you use the latter method, be sure to completely wipe off any moisture afterward. Roast the fillet on a preheated yakiami (grilling rack) over low heat. Kasuzuke burns easily, so you need to watch closely as it roasts.

If you use an oven broiler or a fish roaster, the kasuzuke can be cooked more easily with less odor.

Kasuzuke and Health

Kasuzuke isn’t just a great preserved food but is also an excellent source of nutrients. The yeast in kasuzuke plays a key role in making it so nutritious. The yeast uses proteins and sugars in the foods to produce such taste-enhancing amino acids as inosinic and glutamic acids, vitamins and other nutrients. When the yeast is consumed, it helps improve liver function in the body.

Delicious kasuzuke can even be addicting. Kasuzuke is a traditional Japanese dish that represents the essence of Japanese food culture. Furthermore, thanks to the yeast and other valuable nutrients, kasuzuke is an excellent source of nourishment.

How to Cook Kasuzuke

Nijiya’s special kasuzuke are carefully processed by hand. The key is the ratio of ingredients used. The sake lees are particularly important, since they determine the flavor characteristics of the finished kasuzuke. Nijiya uses sake lees supplied by Ozeki Co., Ltd., a major Japanese sake brewer. Now we’d like to share with you our original kasuzuke recipe.

Kasuzuke Recipe


Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 10.5 oz. Ozeki sake lees
  • 1/5 cup and 1 tsp. hon-mirin (high-quality, sweet rice cooking wine)
  • 2.8 oz. organic sugar
  • 0.35 oz. organic miso

Cooking Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients well to make a pickling bed. Lightly salt a raw fish fillet to remove excess moisture. Bury the fish in the bed, and allow it to pickle for three days.
  2. Enjoy popular black cod and salmon kasuzuke. Once you make the pickling bed, you can make tasty kasuzuke with a variety of seafood, including mackerel, tuna, any whitefish, yellowtail, scallop and squid.

Gochiso Magazine, Nijiya Market

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