Tsukiji Market Notes

Japanese ingredients, techniques, & methods gleaned from spending endless hours reading/watching about Tsukiji Market.

This is going to be more of a living document as I experiment, consolidate notes and learn more. If this kind of thing turns you on, you might want to bookmark this page.

Love, Jimi


  • Commonly sold as Perilla or Sesame leaf at Asian markets
  • Combination to try: shiso, sansho, yuzu
  • Is excellent when laid over Hamachi, Kanpachi, and Aji Nigiri, ask your Itamae for a few leaves to experiment with while you eat.


  • AKA Yakinori – yes the “green paper” stuff that holds your sushi roll.
  • Only get Japanese-sourced, expect to pay for it.
    • Yes, it’s worth it.
    • No, don’t ask me how much I’ve spent figuring this out.
    • Okay, the Koreans do a pretty good job, but see Side Note below for what really shines.

Application to Italian cooking

  • Dissolve shredded nori in water, strain, and add cream to dissolved nori
  • Add saute Garlic, onion, etc
  • Use for pasta sauce

Side Note

Koreans have a product called Gim, it’s a seasoned (salt, oil) version that comes in small squares (and is flakier), and I cannot recommend it enough for every Asian rice bowl you eat. It’s amazeballs.


Broad flat seaweed used in Dashi (below)

  • Rishiri grade has lightest flavor
  • High in Glutamic Acid
  • White dusty stuff is good, brush off excess/loose stuff before steeping

Dashi 01

  1. 2 six inch sections of Kombu – soak for Two hours min. (or overnight) in 6C of water 
  2. Then bring to simmer 56c (no hard-boil)
  3. Add Shot of cold water
  4. Then katsuobushi (aka bonito), allow to sink completely (about 1min)
  5. Strain to new container

Dashi 02

In addition to Dashi 01…

  1. Add ~1T soy sauce
  2. Add ~1 sake-cup of sake

Dashi 03

As above, but substitute Katsuobushi with a dried…

  1. Niboshi (very small fish)
  2. Mackerel
  3. Sardine
  4. Surume

Dashi 04

Takahashi Dashi – in addition to Kombu

  1. Magurobushi or
    1. 50/50 Katsuobushi & Magurobushi



  • Surume – dried squid
  • Chewed as jerky
  • Used in stock and soup
  • Excellent flavor for sushi rice
For Noodles & Pasta
  1. Toast surume, Lightly Golden 
  2. Simmer in water to make stock
  3. Strain and cook noodles/pasta in stock
  4. Slice surume thin and toss



  • Best Season – summer
  • Simmer with daikon to soften meat further
    • After you’ve beaten the ever-loving shit out of it on a rock, or do as the Japanese do – dedicate a clothes washing machine for it and set it on a Heavy cycle–I am not making this up.
    • Junior Itamae get the “honor” of having to hand-massage this hentai-fodder for nearly an hour, it’s like pounding/kneading dough-made of pure muscle. And it looks like the opposite of fun.
  • Most store bought ‘sashimi grade’ is pre-softened and cooked – go that route.
  • As sashimi: commonly dipped in black pepper or sansho (it is seriously good dipped in shoyu and then in sansho)

Hamo eel

  • Best Season – Summer/July
  • Chances of getting outside Japan – lol, next to zero (sad-face.jpg)

Sakura Ebi

  • Very small sweet shrimp, may be able to find dried
    • Amaebi – similar in flavor, often at a sushi bar as nigiri
  • Serve with fresh ginger and rice cooked in kombu-dashi


Masaba: Japanese Mackerel
Aji: Horse Mackerel

  • Grilled with rice
  • Shabu-shabu
  • Slow-Cooked with miso
  • Aji is seasonally available at some sushi houses, request it. It’s a treat.

Pickled Saba

Source: http://www.nhk.or.jp/dwc/recipes/detail/90.html

  1. Coat in salt
  2. Set skin side down for 1hr @ room temp
  3. Rinse in water and drain for 3min
  4. Marinate in 200ml rice vinegar & water, 2tsp sugar, 1tsp soy, 2 piece kombu, then fillets on top
  5. Cover with plastic
  6. 15min, flip
  7. 15min, Remove and drain
  8. Remove skin
  9. Score and slice on bias
  10. Marinate ‘eel-belly-cut’ cucumber in water and salt


Small black clam ~2cm (~ 1 inch)

  • Goes well simmered in miso soup
  • Possible substitute – Asari clam
  • Also simmered with sake and salt and starch for a broth
  • Or with puree meat and add butter to the above preparation


Spiny Lobster

  • Soak raw meat in ice water and sake
    • Yes this works for North American Lobster as well


Japanese “peppercorn” (more accurately a blossom, related to Szechuan pepper, same metallic numbing effect, but milder)

  • Can be eaten Raw when Green
  • Dried green without black seeds are best
  • Oil is also available
  • Use in soy and mirin sauce
  • Found at Hmart, next to Nonami Togarashi (and other common rice & udon seasonings)

Zuwai gani

Snow Crab

  • Look for lots of bumps, pinkish shell = meat is better quality.
  • Chances of finding this raw outside the North Pacific are <0.
    • But steaming with sake works
  • Often eaten at celebrations (esp. New Years)


Lotus Root

  • Whiter inside the holes = fresher
  • Heavy for weight is also good


  1. Boiled/simmered in dashi with tamari soy for about 4hrs
  2. Soak in water
  3. Marinate in rice vinegar

Musk melon

Cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.

  • $200/each (at lower end, lol, srsly)
  • Lol, gl finding (or even affording) that
  • Look for J recipes that may accomodate USDM versions?



  1. Peel and cut 1” triangles
  2. Pan fry until soft
  3. Top with fried white miso (mixed with mashed corn)
  4. Garnish with dried sansho


Various Pickled Vegetables (Ref: Italian giardiniera)

  • Cucumber
  • Seaweed
  • Carrots
  • Daikon
  • Renkon
  • Konjacu (tuber root, often processed)
  • Hearty Greens, etc.


  • Don’t mix batter thoroughly
  • Fry in sesame oil
  • Floats & should weigh less when done


More research needed…


  1. When boiling spinach boil stems first for 30sec, then fully immerse the rest, then cook another 30sec
  2. Remove and blanch in cold water
  3. Serve as bunches, dress with dashi & soy mix, then top with katsuobushi (try katsuo fumi furikake)


Japanese Radish, can use Korean or Chinese as subs

  • Closer to top of stem is sweet, progressively more bitter towards the bottom.
  • Simmer with tough meat to soften, also removes gamey smell.
    • Similar to western technique of “packing” tough meat in minced onion for several hours.

“Sasaki’s Daikon”

01 Night Before

  1. Simmer 1” thick daikon in water for 20min, then set aside overnight
  2. Soak kombu overnight in water

02 Day of Service

  1. Half hour kombu simmer
  2. Heat kombu 56c then remove
  3. Add twice as much katsuo as normal
  4. Strain katsuo after all has sunk to bottom
  5. Simmer 1” thick daikon in some dashi with soy, salt and sugar

Other preparation (sleet soup)

  1. Add to a dashi…
  2. Grated fresh daikon
  3. Mushroom powder mixed with warm water
  4. Serve over pre-simmered daikon topped with mandarin zest

[ To Be Continued… ]

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