Japanese Style Glazed Salmon

You should come see our kitchen. Actually, maybe you shouldn’t because we’d probably kidnap you to hover over the sink and wash a ton of dishes.

As of the last two months we’ve been working on client shoots and recipe testing for personal projects that all involve enough food to feed a football team. Almost everyday we’ve sent out emergency messages to brothers, friends and dojo folks to come eat. Our messages are often blunt, like , ” Don’t eat lunch or dinner anywhere today. You gotta come here eat all this food, NOW, while it’s still hot and take home any leftovers to friends. Aren’t you hungry? You are hungry, right?”

With so much recipe developing and testing going on, it’s nice to cook and eat something that wasn’t on the shot list. So many times when we are cooking for a shoot we just don’t feel like eating it. Even though the dishes are delicious and of rock star quality, were fun to make, others swoon over them, and at any other time we wouldn’t hesitate in diving in. We’ve heard of that happening often, where at the end of a long shift at the restaurant, cooks will head out to fast food, sushi or anywhere to eat other than their own restaurant.

Rather than heading out, we satisfied our craving for something glazed with salmon from some left over ingredients. And we were hankering for something healthy, something with fish, with lots of flavor and something green.

Post holiday season will do that to you, make you want to eat something fresh and healthy to kick start the positive vibes for the new year. This salmon glazed with a delicious Japanese style marinade really hit the spot. And it was so simple to make.

The tender flakes of the salmon, delicately glazed with this Japanese inspired glaze, all on top of a bed of shredded cabbage was the perfect fuel to our long days of cooking and shooting.

Best of all, yes, it is healthy and it feels so great to feast off some fish rather than that platter of chocolate fudge that’s staring back at us from the corner of the kitchen. Dessert?


More healthy recipes to enjoy:

Salad Recipes

Fresh Spring Roll Recipes

Vegetable Recipes

Japanese-style Glazed Pan Seared Salmon

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 15 min

Quick and delicious salmon doesn't get much easier. Adjust cooking times according to the thickness of the the salmon. The glaze works great on other dishes as well (broccoli, eggplant, pork, etc...). Serve with shredded cabbage, rice, cooked whole grains (farro would rock with it), or anything else you might like to eat alongside the salmon.


  • four 6 oz Salmon fillets
  • Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • fresh cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Grape Seed Oil (or other neutral, high flashpoint oil)

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Sake
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh grated Ginger


  1. Combine glaze ingredients in a bowl and stir until brown sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Rinse and pat dry salmon fillets. Place salmon fillets in glaze and marinate for a few minutes, and then flip over and marinate for a couple more minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large saute-pan over high heat. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper (remember glaze will have a bit of saltiness from soy sauce as well). Sear salmon in hot pan, turning once, until browned but barely cooked through, about 3 minutes each side.
  4. While salmon cooks, place glaze in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Vigorously simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Plate salmon and brush or pour glaze over salmon.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Crystals

    I just tried! So so so delicious!!! Will definitely try this for many many times… Thx for sharing such a great recipe!

  2. Bernice

    Thank you for this recipe! I needed a change from the usual pan fry! It was fast, easy, and delicious! I’ll definitely be making this one again. I think I didn’t reduce the glaze enough, but will be sure to do that next time. Perfect on white rice! Thanks, again.

  3. Mertyce

    YUM!! This recipe was fantastic. It’s the best salmon I’ve ever eaten. I’ve never pan seared salmon before, but given the below-zero temps I was too wimpy to grill. It was so easy. I did not have fresh ginger so substituted 1 tsp of ground ginger. Not sure that was enough, but was afraid too much ground ginger would ruin it. Anyway, I’ll make this again soon. Thank you!

  4. Sharon

    Yummy! Salmon is one of my favourite dishes to cook. Will definitely try this recipe out next week!
    – Sharon (theworldwider.net)

  5. Kris

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe! I have actually tried it out twice, taste and everything else was just perfect. However, there was one thing I couldn’t get and that is getting the glaze to be really thick like in your picture. Even after cooling down, the glaze didnt get a tad thicker. Did you add cornstarch in the glaze?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      No, we just cooked it down a bit. Our cooktop does have some heat to it, so it might cook down quicker than others. To thicken, just simmer it down until it reaches your preferred consistency. So glad you loved the flavors.

  6. Chito Banayad

    About the Salad under the Salmon, how to prepare it?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Like mentioned in the headnote, you can make it however you like. See the conversation in the comments with Maggie to read some suggestions.

  7. Sarah

    This recipe was delicious! Thank you for sharing a simple and satisfying one. I didn’t have sake so I substituted mirin for it and it tasted great. I will add though that I mistakenly had the frying pan on high heat instead of medium, burning the skin since the marinade had sugar in it. Just a note! It’s been awhile since I’ve cooked fish and a sweet marinade. Look forward to making this again soon :)

  8. Maggie

    I’ve never pan-seared Salmon (have always felt more comfortable broiling it), do you remove the skin on the bottom? Also, if I’m trying to make it slightly healthier, what would reducing the amount of brown sugar do to the glazing process? Would you poo-poo switching to Low-Sodium Soy Sauce? Trying this tomorrow night and am really looking forward to it!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We’ve done it with the skin on and without and both ways work well (we cook ours on a well seasoned cast iron and don’t have any problems w sticking – individual pans may vary ;). ) Reducing the brown sugar should be fine and use which ever soy sauce you like. Some change for diet, others because they prefer the flavor. Doesn’t matter, make it your own. Hope you love it.

      1. Maggie

        And do you prep the shredded cabbage in any way?

        1. White on Rice Couple

          You can if you like. If you want to add a dressing, you can use the glaze, or maybe a touch of sesame oil, soy sauce and a little sugar. However you’d like to eat it alongside the salmon.

  9. Lauren

    This looks absolutely delicious! I just ate dinner but already I’m suddenly hungry and craving this! Definitely going to try this soon – and I love the photography!

  10. Jane @ Sparkle&Stir

    I am making this sauce yet AGAIN- it is so flavorful and perfect for salmon or rice bowls with chicken. The hubby has requested it over and over!

  11. Jenny @The Finished Plate

    This was a great recipe! The only thing I didn’t have on hand was the sake but it still came out just fine!

  12. Peggy

    This sounds like such an easy weeknight meal! Definitely something I could get on board with on a day like today =)

    1. Judy

      Is there a substitute for Sake?

      1. White on Rice Couple

        The best substitute would probably be dry vermouth. After that maybe a dry white wine. Any sub is going to change the flavor, but these are most likely the closest options.

        1. Judy

          Thanks. It was delicious. And I’ll get Sake for the next time to compare.

  13. Karen

    I may have to try this salmon recipe. It looks fairly simple, not time consuming, and sounds good!
    On the subject of your excess food “problem”, I recently heard a radio interview with a lady who started an organization called Food Runners (www.foodrunners.org) here in the San Francisco Bay Area which picks up excess prepared food from caterers, restaurants, etc. and delivers it to neighborhood programs which feed the hungry. Is there anything like this in SoCal?

  14. Kankana

    Loving the simplicity of the dish and salmon is my anytime fav!

  15. Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking

    What a beautiful healthy recipe! If I lived closer, I would gladly take any extra shoot food off your hands!

  16. Colette @ JFF!

    Simply tasty…

  17. Richard

    Looks amazing! I’m always looking for new inspiration for salmon, and this got my mouth watering.

  18. Bev @ Bev Cooks

    THIS is what I’d like to shovel into my head right about now.

  19. Shut Up & Cook | The Attainable Gourmet

    I popped by my Aunt’s house on Friday, post one client meeting and before bookclub since she was hosting a family dinner and my cousin had just returned home from Ghana. She was making the most spectacular salmon I have seen in a while, which looked a lot like this recipe. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, so am eager to put it into action with your recipe. Thanks!

  20. karen

    I’m moving near you so you can ALWAYS call me to eat your food. I might even wash a couple of dishes before I leave. LOVE salmon! Will try this recipe tonight.

  21. jeremy M

    I’m pretty content where I live, but I suddenly find myself filled with regret that I don’t live in your neighborhood. #willdodishesforfood

    #andconversation 😉

  22. Chris

    Knock Knock….That’s me, I’m knocking at your door. I live in Costa Mesa and am always hungry. Glad to help you out whenever you have another cooking over abundence issue !!

  23. Abbe@This is How I Cook

    Great glaze and what good brain food to start the new year off with!

  24. Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen

    This looks simple and incredible. I love preparing salmon with a teriyaki marinade made with brown sugar’, honey, ginger, garlic, and a melody of other spices. :)

  25. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    Salmon is a staple in my kitchen, coming from Scotland I grew up with some of the best salmon in the world. My kids also love it which is a huge bonus and a teriyaki style glaze is their favorite way to eat it!

  26. Gilbert

    I use a similar teriyaki glaze recipe and I love it! It tastes so much better than ready-made sauces too. :)

  27. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I want to drink that glaze! I love glaze (both sweet, savory, dips, spreads, condiment queen in general) but that one with the brown sugar, ginger, and rice vinegar just makes it!

    And I have no desire to eat the cookies, brownies and cake after I’m done shooting it many times! But talk to me at midnight…I change my tune in time for a midnight snack :)

  28. Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen

    The salmon looks beautiful. I love the photograph showing off the flakes of salmon. January is definitely the time of year I crave healthier food too. But who can say no to some chocolate fudge? Especially after a healthy dinner!

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