June 17, 2011

simple Wa-fu style oven-grilled salmon with chives

Wa-fu, Japanese Style. it fascinates me because i love Japanese food but i was never taught how to cook it correctly. sure, i lived in Japan and was brought up, as i ve mentioned in earlier posts, by my grandparents. however, our house was so tiny, and the kitchen barely big enough to hold one person (me having inherited my Belgian ancestors genes - me... big, meant that it was nigh on impossible to share cooking duties with my grandmother). well, you might think that an excuse, but cooking did always fascinate me, and i was always trying to make something up and thinking up new combinations for a simple cookie recipe.

i m guessing that i was also more into western style cookery due to the fact that i did go to an international school and home economics was often about making western style recipes with the odd exception of perhaps something Chinese.

it wasn t for lack of interest but i only came to realize how simple and yet complex Japanese cooking can be these past 15 years or so. it was so easy to just visit my aunt, who s an amazing cook, and eat her food instead of making it myself. and preparing the food, following the seasons, making use of those familiar and, at the same time, strange ingredients was, to be honest, a lot of bother.

i should ve known better. i should ve learnt.

so i try out recipes now. i know what things should taste and look like, which is an advantage, it s just about getting to grips with techniques.

however, there is one recipe that always, always works. because it s simple and only uses 3 ingredients: salmon, soy-sauce, and chives. lots and lots of chives.



1 salmon-steak per person
soy-sauce (i used the all-round Kikkoman brand)
1 small handful of chives per person, finely chopped


1. pre-heat the oven to maximum (+/- 250°C)
2. line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and put in the oven to heat up
2. marinate the salmon steak(s) in the soy-sauce for between 1-2 hours.
3. place the steaks on the baking sheet and place in the highest section of the oven to cook for about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the steaks
4. naturally, if you have an overhead grill/salamander, this will work well too
5. serve with the chopped chives, with some plainly cooked rice and a simple sweet-pickled cucumber salad on the side.

for the cucumber salad: finely slice a cucumber, sprinkle on some salt and leave to remove excess liquid for about half an hour. drain the liquid from the cucumber and mix with 2 tablespoons of rice-vinegar, 1 tablespoon of mirin (Japanese sweet cooking sake), 1 tablespoon of lightly ground roasted sesame-seeds, 1 teaspoon of shoyu and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.

incredibly simple yet amazingly flavorful...

i cannot escape the fact that i will have to learn more now. about Japanese cooking i mean. yes, and someday real Thai cooking, and real Chinese cooking... oh, don t remind me, i know i m repeating myself. thank heavens for all those fellow international food bloggers!


  1. that's a lot of chives there!! must be an interesting texture as well as the flavours too! im like you too, i'm not too good with asian cooking even tho i was born in taiwan...i tend to gravitate towards western food! need to buy some good jap/chinese cookbooks!

  2. This looks delish...! I adore Japanese food and I do agree with you that Japanese cuisine is so simple but also complex at the same time!