Gomaburi (ごまぶり) translates to "sesame yellowtail," and variations of this dish can be found around my home island of Kyushu, Japan. Buri is commonly known in the U.S. as "hamachi," but the Japanese Amberjack is known by various names that reflect its age. The young fry are called Inada, which become Hamachi as they mature. But it's not until they're fully mature that they become Buri.
The unctuous "hamachi" you get at sushi restaurants outside of Japan is Amberjack in this fully matured state. In this hamachi recipe, the buri is cured in a sweet and savory soy sauce, brine redolent of nutty sesame oil, and a warm zing of freshly grated ginger. To serve it, it's finished with an ample dose of ground sesame seeds and chopped scallions, juxtaposing the rich fish with a contrast of nutty and fresh tastes.
In Kyushu, fish dishes are often prepared with a sweet soy sauce, but it's possible to make a similar flavor profile using a combination of regular Japanese soy sauce and sugar with a splash of mirin. The latter lends a rich caramel flavor and umami without overwhelming boozy notes. If you're avoiding alcohol, you can increase the amount of sugar by half a teaspoon to replace the mirin.
While sashimi-grade Buri/Hamachi is the star here, don't let availability stop you from enjoying this dish. Both tuna and salmon make excellent substitutes. Whatever fish you use, just make sure it's been handled in a way so it's safe to eat raw.
This dish makes for a delicious appetizer on its own, but it can also be served over a bowl of piping hot rice.
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