Shio(koji)zake Salmon and Onsen Egg Rice Bowl

I was obsessed with eating shiozake salmon during my time in Japan. Every morning, my breakfast consisted of shiozake salmon, an onsen egg, rice, and a bowl of miso soup. This recipe is an homage to that, minus the miso(which is going into a different recipe). For those unfamiliar with the term, shiozake literally translates from Japanese to salt and sake, which are the two ingredients used to marinate these salmon filets, resulting in salmon that is flavorful, firm-textured, juicy, and crispy-skinned! In the case for this recipe, the salmon is prepared in the shiozake fashion, but I also used koji, which is a kind of bacteria, in the marinade. Koji is usually used to ferment soybeans into miso paste, and it adds a really pleasant umami to whatever it is that you are cooking with it. By adding koji to the marinade for the salmon, the salmon becomes even juicier and more flavorful. This shiozake is being served with with a soft, slow-cooked onsen egg, furikake, kaiware(daikon) sprouts, fluffy rice, and one of my personal favorite sauces, a guajillo-tomato ponzu, to make a delicious breakfast that will 90% take me back to breakfasts in Japan!

So things to note for this recipe. For the marinade, you want to go in with a 3% ratio of the marinade to the weight of the salmon. I highly recommend doing this or else the fish will run the risk of eating too salty. Now for some more terminology, an onsen egg refers to an egg that is gently and slowly cooked in warm water. An onsen specifically is a type of Japanese hot spring, and in this context, you could usually find onsen that sells bags with eggs in them, and you could cook the eggs in the hot springs, and enjoy them after a bath! What makes an onsen egg so special, to me anyways, is the super soft texture of the white, making it an even more delicate cousin to a poached egg or a soft-boiled egg, where the whites are more firmly set. I would say that this is the most technical part of the recipe, though no shame in it not being perfect, since eggs of any kind compliment salmon gorgeously. For the sauce, I went with my guajillo-tomato ponzu sauce, which honestly is delicious with any fish or red meat, since one of my favorite things I made in 2022 were these salmon onigiri with that exact same sauce, so it just made sense to bring it back for this recipe! I topped my bowl with furikake for pops of additional salt and umami, and kaiware sprouts for freshness.

Makes enough for 4:
For the rice:
3/4 cups white rice, rinsed thoroughly
1 1/2 cups water
a pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients in a pot and transfer to a rice cooker. Cook to the instructions of your rice cooker. Mine took roughly 30 minutes to cook through my rice.

For the filets:
10g cooking sake
5g liquid shio koji
salmon filets, scaled and de-boned.

In a bowl, mix the sake and shio koji together. Be sure to portion out the filets, cutting them into 2-inch thick slices diagonally. This will allow for more surface area of the salmon flesh to touch the marinade! Marinate the salmon, measuring out the weight of the marinade, to roughly 3% the weight of the filets(I used grams as a reference), in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for 2 hours. Then place the salmon filets, skin side up, onto a lined sheet tray and broil for 6-8 minutes. Optionally, you can sear the salmon in a nonstick pan, skin side down, until the skin is crisped.

For the onsen eggs:
4 cups water, in 4 parts
4 eggs, kept refrigerated
a pinch of salt(omit if trying to be salt-conscious)

In a pot, bring 3 cups of the water to a boil first. Once the water comes up to a boil, add in the remaining water, turn the heat down to low, and add in your eggs. Let the eggs cook in the water for 15 minutes, make sure to keep the water below boiling point(200 degrees F, or literally when the water is boiling). Turn off the heat entirely if need be! You want the water to be at about 170 degrees F for the duration of the cooking time.

For the guajillo-tomato ponzu:
2 dried guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp dried dates or 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp yuzu juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato paste

Toast the chili husks over a low flame for 10 seconds on each side. Transfer to a blender and puree with the other ingredients. Store in an airtight container until time to use.

To garnish:
Kaiware(daikon/radish) sprouts

Start with a bowlful of rice, then garnish with the onsen egg, the salmon filet, the ponzu, and your additional garnishes on top.

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