Sake-steamed Alfonsino

Like many recipes using wine or brandy, sake is often used for Japanese cooking. It takes away the fishy smell and adds a nice flavor.

Sake-steamed Alfonsino
Photographed by Masashi Kuma

Recipe by
Yoshihiro Murata




Beans & Tofu



Calorie count is per serving
Excludes time spent salting the alfonsino

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 pieces alfonsino (head or fillets)
  • 1/4 block kinugoshi-tofu (100 g)

    Soft, silken tofu with a high moisture content. Can be eaten raw. You can also use momen-tofu.

  • 1/3 bunch komatsuna Japanese mustard greens

    Leaf vegetable originating in Tokyo. Contains plenty of carotene and vitamin C. Versatile vegetable used for aemono, stir-fry, hot pot, and in soup.

  • 1 sheet kombu kelp (5 cm x 5 cm)
  • 1/4 yuzu citrus's worth yuzu citrus peel (cut into thin strips)

    A common citrus fruit in Japan. The peel is rough, thick, and has many oil glands. When you peel the skin, it gives off a strong fragrance. Used for flavoring.

  • [Simmering broth (1:1:15)]

    • 10 ml usukuchi soy sauce (2 tsp)

      Popular soy-sauce originating in Kansai region. Light-colored, yet salty. Good for keeping the natural taste and color of the ingredients.

    • 10 ml mirin (2 tsp)

      Sake made with alcohol and rice malt, mixed into glutinous rice, then fermented. In Japan, it is used to add luster and to sweeten ingredients.

    • 150 ml dashi

      Japanese soup stock. Made with a lot of different ingredients, most commonly kombu kelp and bonito (skipjack tuna) flakes.

  • Salt
  • Sake



Sprinkle the alfonsino with an amount of salt equal to 1% of its weight, and let rest for at least an hour to season.


Briefly dip the salted alfonsino in boiling water. When the surface turns whitish, immediately transfer the alfonsino to ice water and remove any blood or other unwanted bits, then pat dry. Cut the tofu in half. Cut the komatsuna Japanese mustard greens into pieces 5 cm long.


Place the kombu kelp in a microwave-safe container, then place the alfonsino and tofu on top and sprinkle with 4 tbsp of sake. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave at 600 W for 3-4 min. Add the komatsuna Japanese mustard greens and microwave for an additional 3-4 min. Transfer the contents of the container to a serving dish, except for the kombu kelp and liquid.


In a pot, combine the ingredients for the [simmering broth] with the liquid left in the microwave-safe container (strained to remove any solids), and heat. When it is warmed, pour over the contents of the serving dish and garnish with yuzu citrus peel.


The liquid in the bottom of the microwave-safe container contains a lot of the rich flavor of the alfonsino, so adding it to the simmering broth is a great way to take advantage of all of its flavor.


Simmering Broth:
Good for more than just simmering. In this case, the ingredients are proportioned to make it delicious when poured over other ingredients as a soup.