Misoyaki Butterfish

Misoyaki Butterfish

October: National Seafood Month

It is ironic that Islander grew up by the beach but does not like a lot of fish (although she loves shrimp, crabs and lobsters). One of the rare fish dishes that she likes is misoyaki butterfish, a popular food among locals in Hawaii. The recipe is influenced by the Japanese immigrants, who marinated butterfish in sake, mirin, sugar and miso paste (soybean paste). If butterfish is not available, it is fine to substitute with cod fillets.

Our friend Pat S., who is part Japanese from Hawaii, first served misoyaki butterfish to a reluctant and picky Islander. But after tasting this mild fish dish with a great glaze, she can now add it to her limited list of favorite seafood recipes.

Create some converts and let finicky friends try a fantastic fish dish during National Seafood Month by making misoyaki butterfish.


(From Pat and Phyllis S.)

  • 1/3 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/3 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 cup miso (soybean paste), white
  • 3-4 thin cod fillets
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil


Prepare the marinade by combining the sake and mirin in a saucepan. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Reduce the heat and add the sugar and miso. Stir well and cook until pale. Remove from the stovetop and cool completely.

Misoyaki Butterfish

In a shallow dish, pour the marinade. Add the fish fillets and coat on both sides. Transfer the fish and marinade to a large zipper top plastic bag and seal well. Refrigerate for at least two days (48-72 hours). Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-low heat. Remove the fish from the container, letting the excess marinade drip back into the bag. Place the fish in the skillet and fry for 3-4 minutes until the coating is caramelized. Turn over and finish frying the fish. Do not burn or overcook the fish or it will not be tender and flaky. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

Misoyaki Butterfish


  • Mahalo to Aunty Liz for giving us some miso from her restaurant! Also, thanks to our friend Lisa L. for the fish platter.
  • Find a few more fish recipes by searching our blog.