Hamachi: What kind of fish is it? And how do you cook it?

From frying, grilling to cooking it in the oven

Hamachi is a mackerel-like fish and is an affordable alternative to tuna. It’s perfect to use for sushi or sashimi, but is also very tasty when grilled or fried.

This fish is very popular in Japan and America and it’s gaining popularity in Europe. But what kind of fish is Hamachi? And how do you cook it? You can read all about it in this article.

Hamachi Sashimi
Hamachi Sashimi

Chapter 1

What kind of fish is Hamachi?

Hamachi is also known as Yellowtail Kingfish or Yellowfin Mackerel because of its distinctive yellow tail fin. The fish has an elongated, compressed body and very small, smooth scales. The body tapers posteriorly and broadens into a large forked caudal fin. Hamachi is a powerful swimmer who mainly lives in open water.

The hamachi has a special story. In Japan, this fish is also called the ‘fish of fortune’.


As it grows, the Hamachi keeps getting a different name. For example, a newborn fish is called ‘mojako’, fish smaller than 40 cm are called ‘tsubasu’ or ‘yazu’, between 60 and 80 cm they are called ‘mejiro’ and if the fish is larger than 80 cm then it’s called ‘buri’.

Because the name keeps changing during growth, Hamachi is also called a ‘shusse-uo’ or a ‘promotional fish’, as if it’s constantly being promoted and thus getting a new title. For this reason, the fish is also often eaten on New Year’s Eve. It’s said to bring happiness and prosperity for the one who eats it.

Hamachi is a carnivore and usually preys on smaller fish, squid and shellfish. The hamachi can grow up to 2.5 meters in length and weigh up to 70 kg. But it is generally caught when it weighs between 10 and 15 kg and is up to 1 meter long.

Chapter 2

Where does the fish come from?

Hamachi is found in subtropical waters and has spread over the three main oceans of the world: the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. They occur in depths from 3 to 825 meters below the surface of the water. This fish is mainly found around Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and Chile.

Hamachi fillets
Hamachi fillets

Hamachi is grown in more and more places. The young fish intended for breeding do not come from the wild, but are bred in cages in the sea. Management and feed used differ greatly between Asian countries and farms. Industrial feed is used at some farms, but feed from locally caught small fish, “trash fish” is also used.

Care and feed differ greatly between Asian countries and farms. Industrial feed is used at some farms, but feed from locally caught small fish (trash fish) is also used.

Chapter 3

How does Hamachi taste?

Hamachi has a firm texture and a sublime, smooth taste. This exclusive fish is a great alternative to tuna or swordfish.

The meat of wild hamachi is pink and can vary in color due to the fish’s different fat content. Cultured hamachi is often light colored because it contains a lot of fat. The high fats give the fish a buttery texture. Hamachi fillets may have a dark muscle line along the edge.

Chapter 4

Is hamachi healthy?

Hamachi is rich in healthy omega-3 fats, vitamins B3 and B12 and selenium. Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that protect us against cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin B3 is important for the energy supply of the body and the production of fatty acids. Vitamin

B12 is necessary for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen in your blood. In addition, vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Selenium acts as an antioxidant. It’s in the liver and protects red blood cells and cells from damage. Furthermore, selenium makes heavy metals that can sometimes end up in our food less toxic. Selenium is also important for proper thyroid function.

Chapter 5

Which wine goes with it?

Hamachi is often used as sashimi and this goes very well with, for example, a dry Chenin Blanc or a Sauvignon Blanc. A simple Auxerrois or a fresh Pinot Blanc with not too much acidity also combine well with this fish.

Chapter 6

How to cook hamachi?

Hamachi can be eaten as sashimi, when grilled, roasted or fried. It’s important that you don’t heat the fish too much when you are going to cook it, because otherwise it will become very dry.

Count on 180 grams of fish per person for a small portion and 260 grams per person for a large portion. For sushi or sashimi as a main course, 150 grams of fish per person is sufficient.

Below you will find instructions for cleaning and filleting the fish yourself.

Cleaning Hamachi

  • Remove the scales from both sides with the blunt side of a knife.
  • Trim the dorsal, lateral, and caudal fins with heavy-duty kitchen scissors.
  • Cut open the belly of the fish from tail fin to head and pull out the organs.
  • Cut off any remaining pieces of the organs with a knife.
  • Rinse the fish inside and out well with cold running water.

Filleting Hamachi

  • Choose a good sharp knife to fillet the fish with.
  • Clean the fish under running water and pat it dry with kitchen paper.
  • Place the fish on a cutting board and cut just behind the gills with your knife.
  • Hold the fish by the head. Make an incision along the skin on the front of the fish, on one side of the dorsal fin.
  • Then insert the tip of the knife and begin to cut along the bones towards the tail. Use the spine to guide your knife.
  • Lift the filleted fish side and gently cut loose what is still attached.
  • Turn the fish over and fillet the other side.
  • Excess bones can be removed with tweezers or a knife.

Frying it in a pan

If you want to fry hamachi, do it at a medium temperature.

  1. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.
  2. Fry the fish for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Season it with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce the heat and fry the fish for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side.
  5. Remove the fish from the pan and let it rest under aluminum foil.

Grilling on the barbecue

If you want to barbecue Hamachi, make sure the barbecue is very hot.

  1. Cut the hamachi fillet into 4 equal pieces
  2. Rub the fish with a marinade of your choice.
  3. Store the fish in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
  4. Heat the barbecue to 200 °C.
  5. Grill the fish alternately for about 2 minutes.
  6. Coat the fish with the remaining marinade.

In the oven

If you want to cook hamachi in the oven, do this at a medium temperature.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  2. Make 3 diagonal cuts in the skin of the hamachi with a sharp knife.
  3. Place the fish in a baking dish.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil and salt on it.
  5. Cook the fish for about 25 minutes. This depends on the size of the fish.

Chapter 7

Recipe: Sashimi Hamachi

Sashimi van Hamachi
Geen beoordelingen

Hamachi Sashimi

Tasty hamachi sashimi with homemade sesame seed cookies.
Prep time10 minutes
Cooking time15 minutes
Servings: 4 persons
Author: Cultiviz


  • 400 grams hamachi fillet fresh fish and skin removed if desired
  • 15 cl ponzu sauce
  • ¼ radish
  • ¼ cucumber
  • 4 white tip radishes
  • dash sushi vinegar
  • 2 stems spring onion cut into thin rings
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds roasted
  • 8 crispy sesame sesame seed cookies recipe
  • pepper freshly ground
  • salt


  • Peel the radish and slice it into slices using a mandolin. Cut out rounds in different sizes and marinate briefly in the sushi vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cut the cucumber into thin slices and roll them tightly. Also marinate lightly in the sushi vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  • Wash the radishes and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Place in a bowl of ice water so they become nice and crispy.
  • Place the hamachi on the cutting board and cut diagonally into thin slices with a razor-sharp, long knife. To do this, use your entire knife to cut through the fish from tip to back in one smooth motion.
  • Place the slices tightly on the plate, overlapping them, and drizzle the ponzu sauce over them. Pour the rest of the sauce into a bowl to serve as a dipping sauce.
  • Drain the vegetables and arrange them nicely on and around the fish. Finish the dish with some spring onions and roasted sesame seeds and place the crispy cookies between the fish. Serve immediately.

Chapter 8

All recipes

Looking for more inspiration? Then see below more recipes with hamachi. Or check our fish recipes for even more inspiration.

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