Nobu’s Miso Glazed Cod, Cha Soba (Bonus Nasu Dengaku Recipe)

When Nobu first opened up in Melbourne (this was quite a few years ago), we wasted no time to check it out as I kept hearing people waxing lyrical over the Miso Black Cod. It’s Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature dish and also said to be Robert De Niro’s (he’s one of the owners of Nobu) favourite. For me it was love at first sight. The fish was presented simply with a ginger stem.

Nobu's Miso Black Cod
Nobu’s Miso Black Cod. Picture taken in 2008.

Errr…. I have actually gotten better in taking pictures it seems. Or should I just blame the lighting? I think I will. No amount of contrast adjusting will save this photo… 

Well back to the fish. I couldn’t believe how soft it was. It literally melted in my mouth. I just love the subtle miso flavour that’s both umami and distinctly sweet. I got the Nobu’s Cookbook recently at the Big Bad Wolf’s book sales and lo and behold, this recipe was used as the cover! It’s actually pretty simple. White miso (Shiro Miso), a sweet miso was used in this recipe along with mirin, sake, and a little sugar. The trick is to use super fresh fish and marinate it for 2 days and there you have it, a 5-star dish right out of your kitchen.

I found an unfinished pack of Cha Soba and thought it will go well with the fish. As for the vegetables, I’ve used some choy sum, simply blanched. I used regular cod though, which is not as superior as the texture of black cod (butterfish/sablefish) but it’s still quite soft and buttery.

Will impress any fish eating guest.
Will impress any fish eating guest. Frank is the exception.

Miso Cod with Cha Soba and Choy Sum

1 Cod fillet. You can also use Halibut or Salmon. Around 125g.

Saikyo Miso
50ml Sake
50ml Mirin
70g Caster Sugar
150g White Miso Paste (Shiro Miso)

For Garnish
Cha Soba
Spring onions
Blanched Choy Sum

Cha Soba dipping sauce
Either the bottled variety or a mixture of equal part soy, dashi stock, water.

About 2 days ahead, make the Saikyo miso: in a heavy based saucepan, bring the sake and mirin to boil, and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the sugar until it has dissolved, then slowly mix in the miso paste, a little at a time. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so as not to let the mixture burn, for 8-10 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps, allow to cool and then chill until quite cold.

Place the fish in a container, and pour a good splash of the Saikyo miso over the fillet. Leave to marinate for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.

When you want to cook the fish, preheat the grill or the oven to 200 C. Place the fillet in the grill pan or on a non-stick baking sheet and cook under the grill or preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden on the outside. (I have actually seared the fish on a pan before sending it into the oven, so I took the fish out 2 minutes earlier).

Meanwhile, cook the Cha Soba until al dente and rinse with water. Bring the temperature right down in an ice bath. Alternatively you can also serve it warm.

Place on the serving dish and dress the plate with a little extra Saikyo miso and garnish with the noodles and vegetables. Pour the Soba dipping sauce over the noodles (just 2 tablespoons will do)

Perfectly golden brown
Perfectly golden brown

You’ll find that if you marinate for 2 days, the miso flavours have fully permeated through the whole fillet, the tell-tale sign is the lovely even golden brown hue. When you cook the fish perfectly, the flesh will remain tender and juicy. There’s no need for elaborate side dishes because you want to enjoy the clean flavours. Nobu suggested using blanched baby zucchini (impossible to find here) or vine ripened cherry tomatoes (again uncommon), but you can use any ‘clean tasting’ vegetables. I heard music in my head when I devoured this. Like classical with harp, although some classic rock n roll might work too. It’s a winner!

My attempt at twirling the noodles. Could be neater.
My attempt at twirling the noodles. Could be a little neater.

No, the cats didn’t get a share. It was too good.

There will be plenty of leftover Saikyo Miso. You can store it in the fridge for 1 week. I used it to make Nasu Dengaku (Miso Glazed Eggplant), my favourite way of eating eggplants. The sweet and savoury flavours works superbly well with the silky smooth eggplant.

Miso Glazed Eggplant.
The miso paste, slightly caremelised, is just heavenly.

Nasu Dengaku

1 Medium Eggplant sliced in half, make criss-cross cut on the flesh, this makes it cook faster and absorb the flavours better
3-4 tablespoons of Saikyo Miso
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degree. Drizzle a little olive oil over the eggplant and bake for 30 minutes or until soft, turning once.

Smear the Saikyo Miso on the flesh side. You want to cover the surfaces completely. The return to oven, change the setting to broil (top heat only) and cook until the miso paste starts to bubbles and darken. Sprinkle some chopped spring onions on top if you like and serve hot! Perfect with rice.

So, do you think I can have a go inviting Robert De Niro over for lunch? We could have a sit-down *cues Godfather’s theme song*. At least I know how to cook his favourite dish!


28 thoughts on “Nobu’s Miso Glazed Cod, Cha Soba (Bonus Nasu Dengaku Recipe)

Add yours

  1. Hi Kelly,
    Photography is the art of light. Looking at the shadow where it is located, the light source is actually oppose to the angle where you capture the fish. You may not able to get a good picture out of it. Since you did not use flash, may be you can took the picture where the light source is behind/beside you. The overall picture will look better.

    btw, good sharing.on Miso Cod with Cha Soba and Choy Sum…. got delivery to Penang or not :p

  2. the fish looks awesomely, ravishingly prepared. this is one of those occasions when i can imagine how it must taste, all sweet-savory and succulent, and it’ll haunt me for the next few hours till dinnertime 😀

  3. Wow, looks so utterly delicious! Definitely looks like a dish that I can find from a restaurant! Now, why didn’t I notice this book at the BBW sales!!
    And when Robert de Niro comes to lunch, let me know, I’ll self-invite myself over! 🙂

  4. But that slice of cod in the first pic actually looks so enticing…maybe even more so than the rest. Slurpssss!!!! Sometimes, there is beauty in our imperfections… Wink! Wink! LOL!!!!

  5. Aarrgh! I didn’t see the Nobu book at the sale! We did ome away with like 4 Jamie’s and 1 Nigella amongst other books.. all up I bought 27 books.. can’t believe I brought all but 2 back to Melbs!

    1. Of the 27, how many of them are cookbooks? I didn’t see the Nobu cookbook during my first visit, but there are plenty of them on the last day! I also managed to get Maze by Gordon Ramsay and Ezard’s cookbook all on my second visit.

  6. A guest poster made this for my blog back in ’09 and people went nuts for it! I’ve had the Miso Cod t Nobu it is all ‘THAT’ and more! Your version looks amazing!

  7. oo I had it at Nobu in New York… it was just as you said… superb! didnt realize it was this easy to make…. gotta go buy Cod since I have miso all the time in my fridge!

    at last, I didnt see any Nobu books at the BBW sale… must have sold out.. love to get my hands on his books…

    1. Strangely enough I only found the book on my second visit which was actually the last day. And there were quite a few of them too! Make sure you try to source the black cod as it’s definitely more superior than the regular cod. Not sure what it’s called locally, but it’s either butterfish or sablefish. The cod I use was regular and the texture is similar to halibut. Still nice but could be nicer!

  8. Hahaha yes you should – *imagines the interesting atmosphere with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino at the dining table*

  9. Oh wow..both ingredients are my favorite. To save time preparing my dinner, normally I will just steam the fish. As for the eggplant, I will pan fried it and top with some sambal belacan.

    1. The fish itself doesn’t take long to cook, I’m using the remaining Saikyo miso to marinate a piece of Salmon for my lunch tomorrow. 🙂 sambal is nice with eggplant!

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