Editor’s note: The theme of Gohan Lab is to help people make simple, tasty “gohan” (meals).

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Salt-cured salmon that is easily available throughout the year will be simmered with turnips that will become even tastier in the coming season.

Salmon that initially may taste salty will turn out just right when simmered. It is a good match for the soup rich in the umami of ingredients.

In the preparation stage, the turnip and carrot are cut unpeeled.

“The tasty part beneath the skin will be used in full,” says Katsuhiko Yoshida, who oversaw the cooking aspect of the recipe.

Turnips falling apart in the pot is a concern, but he says: “The skin prevents this from happening. It serves a dual purpose.”

By parboiling, the turnip absorbs the seasonings more easily and the time it needs to cook fall in line with that of the carrot.

After adding the turnip leaves and green onion, finish off over high heat. This is because the turnip root tends to fall apart when cooked slowly on low heat.

Dishes where salted fish are simmered with green vegetables are popular in Chinese cuisine. This recipe works also well with salted cod.

Salted salmon, processed in salt water, should be refrigerated

Salt-curing salmon is a method that has been used since olden times to improve its shelf life.

According to the Japan Fisheries Association, which represents the fishing industry, salmon used to be prepared by filling the gutted abdominal cavity with salt or covering them in salt.

In recent years, the flesh is immersed in salt water after being filleted or injected with salt water.

Salted salmon is classified into “amakuchi” (sweet type) and “karakuchi” (salty type) according to the difference in salinity concentration.

Although there is no clear-cut standard, the salinity of the sweet type is generally between 2 and 3 percent, while the salty type is above 5 percent.

Those in between are sometimes called “chukara” (medium-salty type).

“Although they could be stored at room temperature in the old days, those processed in recent methods must be refrigerated,” said a representative of the association.


(Supervised by Katsuhiko Yoshida in the cooking aspect and Midori Kasai in the cookery science aspect)

* Ingredients (Serves two)

2 slices “amakuchi” salted salmon (shio-zake) (70 grams per slice), 2 turnips (with leaves), 1/2 carrot, 1/2 green onion (naganegi), 1 tsp sugar, 2 Tbsp sake, 1/2 tsp salt, bit of white pepper, mixture of 1 tsp katakuriko starch and 2 tsp water, 1 tsp sesame oil

About 285 kcal and 2.8 grams salt per portion

1. Finely chop turnip leaves, quarter turnip unpeeled. Cut carrot with skin into thin semicircular slices. Slice green onion at an angle. Cut salted salmon in about four equal parts to bite size pieces.

2. Bring water to a boil in pot, parboil turnip for about 3 minutes (PHOTO A) and drain.

3. Pour 1 Tbsp oil in frying pan, place over low heat and lay salmon. Turn and cook to harden surface.

4. When both sides have colored (PHOTO B), pour 300 ml water and add carrot. When water comes to a boil, add turnip, sugar, sake, salt and white pepper.

After simmering for about 2 minutes, add green onion and turnip leaves and cook for another 3 minutes over high heat (PHOTO C).

5. To thicken liquid, add katakuriko starch mixed with water after the heat is turned off to prevent clotting. Turn on heat again and bring to a quick boil. Turn off heat and pour sesame oil in circular motion.

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Katsuhiko Yoshida is the owner chef of Jeeten, a restaurant in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Uehara district offering Chinese home cooking.

Midori Kasai is a professor at Ochanomizu University and chairwoman of the Japan Society of Cookery Science.


Rice bowl dish with salted salmon and turnip fused with egg

After Step 5, keep the pot on low heat and carefully pour in small portions an egg that has been mixed well. Make sure the egg goes around the entire pot, and simmer for about a minute.

Serve rice in a bowl and cover with content of pot. Top with chili pepper powder or “mitsuba” leaves if preferred.


Although the walls that surround the cells of vegetables allow the components of seasonings to permeate, the cell membrane inside is semipermeable and does not let most components other than water pass.

When the cell membrane denatures through heat and other causes, it loses this function. Parboiling is effective in letting the seasoning components through.

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From The Asahi Shimbun’s Gohan Lab column