Japanese Fused Italian! Pickled Mackerel Pike Spaghetti Recipe

This article introduces a spaghetti recipe which uses pickled mackerel pike (also known as Pacific saury) as its main ingredient. Japanese fused Italian is worth a try!

Japanese-Italian fusion is getting popular not only in Japan but abroad as well. Spaghetti with Mentaiko (seasoned cod roe), Shoyu (soy sauce), and/or other Japanese traditional seasonings are becoming a regular part of the Japanese diet (sorry Italian people! lol)

Now, I will share my original recipe of pickled mackerel pike spaghetti for all you East-West enthusiasts!

Ingredients (Serving One)

  • 1 Pickled mackerel in salted rice bran (please refer how to pickle mackerel pike at the end of this article)

  • Spaghetti as you want

  • 2-3 Tbsp of Olive oil

  • 1 clove of Garlic

  • 1 Bird’s eye chilli

  • 1 Tbsp Soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp Sake

  • ⅔ Tsp Yuzu Citrus Pepper

  • Green onion to taste

  • Green perilla to taste

  • Seaweed to taste

Let’s Cook!

First, let’s get the pickled mackerel pike cleaned!

The pike is all covered in rice bran...

It looks like it is covered with soy flour...well close, but it is actually rice bran!

Rinse the fish lightly, and say good-bye to the rice bran! If you couldn’t get rid of all, it’s fine...don’t be too picky ;)

Grill the fish on the frying pan! I needed to cut it half due to the size of my pan, but if your pan is big enough to grill it, you can grill it whole.

If necessary, spread some oil before grilling.

Once it gets greasy, wipe or blot the grease with a paper towel.

When the fish skin gets crispy on the outside and cooked inside, remove it from the pan.

Crumble the pike and remove bones. Be careful! The big bone can hurt. Now, start boiling water to cook the spaghetti.

While the water is heating up, let’s finely chop the condiments.

I got green onions, green perilla, and seaweed. I love having them around!

The seasonings are sake, soy sauce, and Yuzu citrus pepper. Pickled marckerel pike is salty, so I only include a small amount of soy sauce for this recipe. Oh, and don’t forget the garlic and bird’s eye chilli!

Mix the sake, soy sauce, and Yuzu citrus pepper together.

Finely chop the green onion and the green perilla should be sliced into fine strips. Put both in the water, then pat dry.

Peel and crush the garlic, and wash the bird’s eye chilli and remove its seeds.

When the water is at a rolling boil, start cooking the spaghetti.

Put some oil in the pan, fry the garlic and bird’s eye chilli on low heat. When they become brown like the picture above, remove both.

Fry the crumbled fish in the pan on medium heat.

The grease from the fish and garlic and chilli oil mix pretty well...

Put a small amount of boiled water (which you used to cook the spaghetti) in the pan.

Mix well and it will emulsify in the pan….then your pasta sauce is ready!

Set the heat very low and wait for the spaghetti to be ready...

When the spaghetti is ready, drain well and mix the spaghetti and fish at high heat.

Almost done…!!

When it is all mixed well, add the seasoning.


And mix them all again...once it’s mixed well, it becomes shiny.


Mmm...it smells….wonderful...

Add the condiments to the spaghetti...

Now add the seaweed, green onion, and green perilla...

(ノ・ω・`) Mission accomplished!!

I used grape seed oil instead of olive oil, but it shouldn’t make a difference as long as you don’t use an oil with a strong smell/taste.

Use a good amount of oil! Oil will contain a garlic smell and seal the essence of the fish in it during the cooking process.

If your mackerel pike is too salty, reduce the soy sauce portion.

How To Make Pickled Mackerel Pike In Salted Rice Bran

Get mackerel pikes as much as you want, roasted rice bran, and salt.

First you need fresh mackerel pikes...their heads need to be cut off and they should be gutted before you start. Rinse and wipe them with a paper towel.

Massage the inside and outside of the fish with salt. Wait 10 minutes or so until liquid comes out of the fish...and wipe the liquid and salt with a paper towel.

This is roasted rice bran and salt. This roasted rice bran shouldn’t have salt in it and it should resemble a fine powder.

You need about 100g of roasted rice bran for 2 mackerel pikes.

And mix 30g of salt...don’t have to be picky, though.

If you add more salt, it can last longer, but of course it gets salty.

If you plan eating in 2-3 days, then you don’t need as much salt.

Put the mixture in a plastic bag, then add the fish.

Don’t forget to put the bran inside of the fish!

Remove as much air as you can and seal!

Put it in the fridge for 2-3 days to let it rest.

Once you pickle the fish in this way, the fish will start getting firm and have a unique taste/smell almost like it is smoked or cured. Of course you can eat it as it is or eat it with spaghetti just like above… Just give it a try!

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Written by kussy

I have worked in Tokyo for more than ten years. I live in Shanghai from the summer of 2015.