The kinki (channel rockfish) is in the Scorpaenidae family. The formal Japanese term for it is kichiji, but it appears on the market in Japan under a more popular name: kinki. The fish has become a luxury, as the amount that can be caught in Japan has been reduced in recent years. The delicious kinki however, can also be caught here in America. They make their habitat as far north as Alaska, as well as on the West and East coasts of the continent, and many are exported to Japan. Fatty, frozen kinki from Alaska, as well as those fresh-caught locally, arrive at Nijiya stores. The kinki, among white fish is exceptionally fatty and juicy, and its intense sweetness is delicious. It is perfect for nabe (one-pot dish) during the cold months.
The kinki is a bottom fish found at depths that range between 200 and 500 meters. It primarily feeds on shrimp, in which a color pigment called astaxanthin is found and is said to provide the red color in the fish. Astaxanthin has this natural pigment and with properties similar to those of βcarotene, is considered to be nature’s most powerful antioxidant.
The kinki is believed to be most delicious during the winter season. When simmered, the IP A and DHA contained in the fish are released and absorbed into the broth. Cooking it with ingredients that contain a lot of dietary fiber, such as wakame (brown seaweed) and gobo (burdock), make the dish nutritious and seal in the umarni (a pleasant savoriness).
How to Cook Kinki
Simmered Kinki Recipe (Channel Rockfish)
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 2 kinki fillets
- 1 package of hon-shimeji mushrooms
- 6 green beans
- Small amount of finely cut strips of ginger
- 2 Tbsp. mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
- 100ml sake
- 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1.4 oz. sugar
- 200ml water
- Combine all the seasoning ingredients and the ginger in a pot and boil until the alcohol.
- Add the kinki to the pot, and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes with a drop lid (or a sheet of aluminum foil) placed directly on the ingredients.
- Remove the drop lid, add the hon-shimeji mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes, while pouring the broth over the ingredients.
- Quickly cook the green beans in the remaining broth. Arrange the fish and the hon-shimeji mushrooms nicely on a plate, and garnish with the beans.