Simmered Flounder

Normally, the rule in Japanese cuisine is to serve a whole fish with the head pointing left, but flounder is always placed pointing to the right.

Simmered Flounder
Photographed by Hideo Sawai

Recipe by
Yoshiharu Doi






Ingredients (Serves 1-2)

  • 1 flounder (180-200 g)
  • [Simmering liquid]

    • 150 ml water
    • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sake
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp mirin



Clean and prepare the fish. Score the top side of the fish with a diagonal slit to speed up the cooking process and prevent the flesh from crumbling when the skin shrinks.


Using the tip of a knife, scrape off the scales and slime from both sides of the fish, especially around the face and fins. Turn over and make an incision along the pectoral fin. Turn right side up and scrape out the guts. Thoroughly wash the fish, either in a bowl of lightly salted water or under running water. Pat dry.


Put the ingredients for the [simmering liquid] into a 21 cm pot and place over medium heat. When the sugar has melted, lower the fish into the hot liquid and sear the surface.


Sear the surface to trap the umami flavor inside. White-fleshed fish will not produce much scum during simmering.


Cover with a dampened drop lid (15 cm diameter) and simmer for 7-8 minutes.


Make sure the liquid is simmering vigorously around the drop lid.


Remove the drop lid and continue simmering until the liquid has been reduced and thickened to about 1/3.


Simmering after removing the drop lid will cause the fish oil and water to emulsify, resulting in a thick sauce.