Horse Mackerel "Kabayaki" Rice Bowl

Kabayaki most commonly refers to how unagi (freshwater eel) is prepared and served with a distinctive, teriyaki-like sauce. You can imitate the dish at home using horse mackerel!

Horse Mackerel "Kabayaki" Rice Bowl
Photographed by Shin Ebisu

Recipe by
Setsuko Sugimoto




Rice & Noodles



Excludes time needed to let the horse mackerel rest, and time needed to marinate.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 fillets horse mackerel (about 200 g)
  • [Marinade]

    • 3 tbsp water
    • 2 tbsp sake
    • 1 1/2 tbsp mirin
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 1 umeboshi (pitted and shredded)
  • 260 g cooked rice (hot)
  • 10 g ginger
  • 1/4 pack kaiware sprouts
  • Kizaminori (shredded nori), as needed
  • White sesame seeds, as needed
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil



Remove the tiny bones in the dark red bloodline. Cut small slits in the skin, about 1 cm apart. Sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and set aside for about 10 minutes.


Mix the [Marinade] ingredients in a tray or shallow pan. Pat the fish fillets dry and marinate both sides for about 5 minutes each.


Scoring the skin before marinating the fillets helps absorb the flavor and prevents the skin from shrinking during cooking.


Pat the fillets dry and dust with flour. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook both sides to a golden brown.


Remove any excess oil from the frying pan and pour in the [Marinade]. Bring to a gentle boil and keep scooping the sauce over the fillets with a spoon until the sauce has a glossy feel.


Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and thoroughly coat the fillets.


Peel the ginger and cut into thin shreds. Rinse, drain and mix into the cooked rice. Place the rice in individual donburi rice bowls.


Cut off and discard the root ends of the kaiware sprouts. Cut into easy-to-eat lengths and sprinkle over the rice. Top with the fish fillets and drizzle with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with kizaminori and white sesame seeds.