Simmered Sea Bream Ara (parts of fish left after filleting)

Sea bream is considered as an auspicious ingredient because it's called "tai" in Japanese and the word "medetai" (the word used for an auspicious event) includes "tai".

Simmered Sea Bream Ara (parts of fish left after filleting)
Photographed by Masaya Suzuki

Recipe by
Yoshihiro Murata






Calorie count is for full recipe


  • 1 sea bream head (cut in half)
  • 1 gobo burdock root
  • 6 snow peas
  • [A]

    • 3 tbsp dashi
    • 1/4 tsp usukuchi soy sauce
    • A pinch of salt
  • Yuzu peel (thinly shredded), as needed
  • Salt



Immerse the sea bream head in a pot full of boiling water, then rinse immediately in ice water to remove the dark red parts and scales.


Scrub off the dirt from the gobo. Scrape away the skin with a knife. If thick, cut lengthwise in half. Cut into easy-to-eat lengths.


Remove the strings from the snow peas. Blanch in boiling water with a pinch of salt, and immediately plunge in ice water. Bring [A] to a boil and immediately turn off the heat and allow to cool. Drain the snow peas and marinate in [A] for 30 minutes.


Place the cleaned sea bream head and gobo in a pot. Add sake and water. Cover with a wooden drop lid and place over high heat. Cooking in sake helps remove the fishy smell, if any. The gobo also helps to mask the smell.


When it comes to a boil, remove the surface scum and reduce the heat to medium. After simmering for 7-8 minutes, add the sugar and continue simmering for 3-4 minutes to allow the sweetness to seep into the foods. Add the soy sauce and simmer for 3-4 more minutes. Add the tamari soy sauce or, if unavailable, regular soy sauce.


When there is only a small amount of liquid left, remove the drop lid and add the mirin. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until lustrous, while continuing to spoon some of the liquid over the fish head.


Plate up and garnish with the drained snow peas and yuzu peel.


Ara (the parts of the fish left over after it's been fileted) are cheap and delicious! This will really help you out if you're a homemaker.