Happy glaze: Neil Perry's Japanese spice seafood recipes

Neil Perry
Miso-glazed squid.
Miso-glazed squid. 


1kg fresh squid

1/2 cup red miso

Prawn ball and shiitake hot pot.
Prawn ball and shiitake hot pot. 

2 tbsp sake

2 tbsp mirin

2 tsp sansho pepper

1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves

1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and lightly crushed

1 lemon, quartered


Serves 4

To prepare the squid, pull out the tentacles, and remove the attached guts. Remove the wings and place these pieces aside. Cut the squid tubes open lengthways and remove the bone. Clean each tube and cut into 4 large pieces.

To make the marinade, mix together the miso, sake, mirin and sansho in a bowl.

Pour half the marinade into a bowl large enough to accommodate all the squid pieces. Reserve remaining marinade. Add the squid pieces to the bowl, toss well and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Preheat a grill to medium hot. Brush and oil the grate well.

Grill the squid pieces for a minute on one side, turn, and brush with the reserved marinade. Turn and brush every minute for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the squid.

Remove the squid and place on 4 plates. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and seeds and serve with a lemon quarter.


1/4 Chinese cabbage, sliced

200g fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

1/4 tsp shichimi togarashi spice mix

prawn balls

600g green king prawn meat, chopped

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 tbsp sake

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp chilli flakes


4 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin

1/2 tsp salt

Serves 4

To make the prawn balls, place the prawn, ginger, sake, salt and chilli flakes in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Remove and place in a bowl.

For the broth, combine the stock, soy, mirin and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Place the cabbage in a large hot pot or Dutch oven. Add the mushrooms. Pour in the broth and place the pot over medium to high heat. As the broth starts to come to a boil, use a tablespoon to form rough balls of prawn paste (about 1/2 tablespoon each). Slide balls into the broth and repeat until all the prawn mixture is in the pot.

Simmer gently until the prawn balls float to the surface, about 5-7 minutes.

Sprinkle with coriander and shichimi togarashi. Serve.


• The unique Japanese seasonings used in these two recipes are worth tracking down - try any good Asian grocer.

• Sansho pepper is a relation to Sichuan pepper.

• It's slightly numbing, with an earthy lemon tang.

• Shichimi togarashi is a blend of seven spices that can jazz up any dish.

• It's main ingredients are chilli, sansho, orange peel, black and white sesame, ginger and nori.

• The marinade works well with seafood and poultry. It makes for a tasty barbecue.


Kizakura Yamahai sake, from Kyoto, Japan ($20), is delicate in flavour and texture with a subtle sweetness. The light body of this rice wine will match the weight and texture of the squid, and the flavour highlights the unique umami taste of the marinade. Best served chilled.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Dominic Smith.