Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mirin and Ponzu

I eat fish for dinner everyday.  Sometimes I eat fish for lunch too.  Actually I wouldn't rule out breakfast either - I did have salmon and oatmeal for breakfast today and yesterday.  Hahaha.  I know it sounds weird.  But my nutritionist introduced me to oatmeal and canned tuna mixed together for breakfast and I thought it sounded gross at first, but decided that I like tuna, and I like oatmeal, so why not try them together.  Hey, don't knock it till you try it right??  It's actually pretty good.  She puts lemon juice and splenda in it too but I don't need that.  It's the perfect nutritional combination to have for breakfast because it's got all the healthy carb and fiber from the oatmeal, and protein and omega 3 from tuna.  It's great for a post work out meal.  Anyway, I feel like the anti-inflammation properties of omega 3 in fish really help me stay lean.  If I skip fish for even one day I immediately feel bloated.  But I do need more fish recipes since for the last year I've been grilling it on the George Foreman with some lemon pepper sprinkled on both sides.  Well must admit, it gets boring.  I'm actually surprised I haven't gone crazy yet.

I read some pretty good fish recipes on Fitness magazine's website.  They had like 40 different fish recipes.  But I had to veto 95% of them because they required either too much oil or salt, or both.  I figured the other ones could work with modification.  It turns out, most of the recipes I picked out contained this ingredient called Mirin.  It's Japanese cooking saki.  I had never heard of it before, but I like saki.  Apparently Mirin is a sweet saki, and it is great as a substitute for vinegar or white wine, and great for glazing as well.  So I got it at the store today.

I also got some ponzu sauce.  I had never used it before either, but I've had it at my favorite sushi restaurant and remember it being good.  It's soy sauce with citrus flavor.  The one I got is lemon flavor.  But it also comes in lime.  The citrus makes the color of the soy sauce a lot lighter than regular soy sauce.

Supposedly ponzu is great for fish as well because the flavor covers the "fishy" taste, while bringing out the natural sweetness of the fish.  It still has a high sodium content though, at 400mg a tablespoon.  So I have to use it sparingly, otherwise I will blow up like a fish!

Well tonight I mixed mirin and ponzu together with some crushed garlic, and brushed the mixture on the fish, and broiled it.  Very very simple and it turned out to be really good!  The taste is light with a faint sweetness - I didn't use too much of either sauce.  But they both complimented the fish instead of overpowering it.  I think I overcooked the fish a little though because the mirin and ponzu mixture started to glaze a little bit on top and sides of the fish.  It was still good though.  If I had bought some fresh herbs or something, I think it would have been even better!  I will have to do more research later and figure out different ways to incorporate these ingredients to my dinners! 


  1. Hi! Great info! I, too, am stuck in the fish-with-lemon-pepper-on-the-Foreman-RUT! I am definitely going to look for Mirin. My son just arrived in Japan over the weekend, so I will ask him about it, too. I love, love fish and eat it just about everyday...I can't wait to try these :) Thanks!

    Oh! and I am also going to try the oatmeal/tuna for breakfast...I think it's a great idea.

  2. Try steel cut oats instead of oatmeal. It takes much longer to cook (usually we have a ready batch made good for a few days and just heat up what we need). I would think that would be a nicer match with your fish for breakfast :-) it has a nuttier, whole wheat taste that seems to go well with food - like eating brown rice. I find that I don't eat as much since it seems a lot heavier than oatmeal and I am full a lot longer. My husband says it has much more fiber content too.

  3. Anju, I agree, steel cut oats are delish!

  4. I like steel cut oats too, but you are right they take so long to cook! Definitely taste better than quick oats though. I also like quinoa as a substitute - have you guys tried that? I get mine from Trader Joe's. Barley is great too.

    Holli, that is so funny that you cook your fish the same way as me! I like lemon pepper and the Foreman is great, but seriously, one needs variety! I also think it's pretty great that you think the oatmeal/tuna combo sounds good! Most people look at me like I'm a crazy person and tell me my breakfast is the most disgusting thing in the world. Lol. Well if you are going to try it, I would recommend the solid white albacore 3 oz can of tuna. I'm not a fan of chunk light tuna because I think it's too fishy, so I don't mind paying extra for solid white albacore. But if you like chunk light then go for it! I mix 1/4 cup of oatmeal with the tuna. The whole meal is under 250 calories and fuels you up! Great to kick start your day! I eat 5 little meals a day so I keep each meal's caloric content low. I have oatmeal/tuna a few days a week, and I have 1/4 cup oatmeal and 4 hard boiled egg whites (or 1/2 cup of liquid egg whites) the rest of the days. Please let me know what you think of it after you try it out!

  5. Holli, check out this recipe:

    It calls for mirin, and sounds really good. I think I'm going to have to try it out as well but cut the soy sauce down. I will most likely substitute salmon with some kind of white fish too.

    Btw, that's great your son went to Japan! I would love to go there too, it would be like heaven being able to eat fish everywhere I go! And play with cool gadgets. Hehe.

  6. Not sure if this matters to you, but something to keep in mind- As white albacore is an "older" fish (gets whiter as it gets older due to loss of body fat; also results in loss of strong fishy flavor), it has more time to accrue mercury compared with Chunk Light.

    For protein and omega-3s I have put a tbsp of peanut or almond butter (protein) in my oatmeal, plus some flaxseed (omega3s + fiber). I have never tried the tuna/oatmeal combo, may have to work up the courage to try it!

    I will have to check out the recipes you found on the fitness website. I find in most recipes I make, I don't use the salt it calls for. I just skip it. I think most recipes overuse salt, because many people are so used to it (I can't tell you how much salt my dad adds to his food, yuck). The only exception is baking: I leave the salt in, but usually it's only 1/4 tsp or so for a loaf of bread or batch of muffins, etc.

  7. I should probably worry about mercury more since I eat so much fish. But I really just can't stand chunk light!

    I think you should try the tuna/oatmeal combo too! What's the worst thing that could happen?? Hehehe... just think about it this way, protein from animal products is always better than plants and nuts since you are getting complete protein...

    I definitely agree about the salt - mayo clinic's website has some great recipes based on your preference, i.e. low salt, low fat, low cal, low carb, high protein, etc. etc.

    The fish recipes on the Fitness website I was going through are these ones, I'd say mostly pretty healthy:

  8. Thanks for the recipe, I'm going to give that a try, too. Tomorrow's breakfast will be tuna/oatmeal, I will let you know how I like it.

    My son is very lucky to be in Japan and I can't wait to hear about all the foods that he gets to try. He loves fish and sushi and is pretty adventurous so it will be interesting to hear his stories.

  9. Wow, I admire you for eating fish everyday. I wish I could force myself to do that but it takes me hours even to get through a couple of fish sticks! As for tuna and salmon...oh boy. I've tried it all but I guess it is a developed taste. :(

  10. Holli - Love it!! Please update.

    Melissa - I used to HATE fish and all kinds of seafood including shrimp for most of my life!!! Then I made myself eat it b/c of all the health benefits and now I love it! I guess it's an acquired taste for me. So yeah, my advice is to force feed yourself lol... I just think of a thin waistline and washboard stomach and that's enough motivation for me.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...