Black cod with miso

I first ate black cod at Nobu’s in the company of a really good chef. I had not tasted fish quite as delicate and delicious as this. How can anyone create such perfection?

My chef friend, clearly put out by the lofty pedastal on which I had placed Nobu, suggested that actually everyone can cook this. He dragged me from the restaurant to a Japanese market, bought four ingredients and took me home. He prepared the marinade that night and cooked the fish for breakfast.

He was right. Everyone can.


  • ½ cup mirin rice wine
  • ½ cup sake
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups white miso paste
  • 4 black cod fillets (aprox 2 - 3 lbs)


  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking tray


  1. Heat a saucepan and pour in the mirin and sake. Bring it to a rapid boil and let it bubble for a minute or so to burn off some of the alcohol.
  2. Stir in the miso paste and then add the sugar. Continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Make sure your cod fillets are completely dry. Pat the fish with paper towels to draw out the moisture.
  4. Place the cod in a dish and pour over the marinade. Turn the fish over making sure they are completely covered in the sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before cooking. Overnight is even better.
  5. Heat the broiler or grill.
  6. Remove the cod and let any excess marinade drip off the fish. Grill the skinless side first for about 3 minutes. Turn and baste the skin with some of the reserved marinade. Grill for a further 3 minutes, or until the skin is blackened and the center of the fish is opaque. Don’t over-cook under any circumstance. If you have a fussy guest who insists on it leathery, fry them an egg.

What you should know

Angela fancied black cod for dinner and didn’t want to wait for hours to follow this recipe. She rubbed white miso paste straight on to a couple of fillets, grilled the skinless side, turned the fish and then poured on a sweet soy dressing to the skin before completing the grilling. It was really good. She served it with sticky rice and a simple salad. Perfect!

Re: Black cod with miso

The sweet soy dressing is merely Manis Kecap, an Indonesian sweet soy sauce available in most Asian supermarkets. It is a good staple to have in your cupboard because it adds both sweet and savory flavour to any dish. The consistency is thick like molasses. It is probably most useful for lo mein dishes.

Re: Black cod with miso

Had I known it was that simple, I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to do the washing up.

Re: Black cod with miso

This was fabulous. I made it for the first time tonight (see the picture above) and thoroughly enjoyed this black cod with miso.

I too lacked the patience to let the cod marinate. I simply prepared the marinade as directed, poured it over the fish (sill warm from the saucepan) and sent the pan into the broiler. Instead of the flavor infusing the fish, the marinade formed a glaze on the top which was really, really nice. The rich buttery cod flavor was a delicious contrast to the sweet miso glaze on top.

Re: Black cod with miso

Also, note that extra sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for about one month — if it lasts that long.

Re: Black cod with miso

This was really delicious. I marinated the cod before we left Saturday morning and had a delicious meal, made in a hurry, when we returned that night. It was so much cheaper and better than if we had gone out for a fancy dinner.

Thank you.

Re: Black cod with miso

Today I did the same. I let the cod marinate all day. But with one exception. I bought the wrong miso paste and only after I got home from the store did I realize my error. I was too lazy to go out and buy more. The red miso seemed to be a stronger flavor, so I used less (1 ½ cups). And it turned out divine!

This recipe is great. Thank you

Re: Black cod with miso

Our dinner plans changed at the last minute and the cod marinated for two days instead of one. It was still delicious. The miso sauce infused the fish with depth and my worries about bad fish were unfounded.

Re: Black cod with miso