Korean Marinated Salmon Sashimi – 연어장 (Yeoneojang)

Korean marinated salmon sashimi or ‘yeoneojang‘ is a refreshing and delicious dish made with raw salmon that has been cured in a rich and savory soy marinade.

It’s a popular meal that is commonly known as ‘rice thief’ or ‘bap doduk’ [밥도둑] in Korea. ‘Rice thief’ is a Korean phrase used to describe a dish that is so flavorful, it’ll compel you to eat more rice than you normally do. And this salmon dish will do just that!

This dish is similar to the Japanese-style Salmon Sashimi Rice Bowl however, the preparation and marinade of this recipe is what makes it distinctly Korean.

Why you’ll love this recipe

This Korean marinated salmon sashimi is a treat for people who truly enjoy seafood. So if you’re a sashimi lover and have a big appetite for all things fresh and incredibly flavorful, this dish is for you!

Succulent pieces of raw salmon are soaked in a delightful blend of soy sauce, mirin, water, sugar, aromatics, and spices which results in a perfectly balanced combination of savory and sweet flavors. The natural butteriness of the salmon just melts in your mouth with an explosion of flavor in every bite.

The best part of this recipe is the ease of preparation and convenience. This recipe can be made up to two days in advance, making it ideal for those days when you want an easy yet nourishing meal without spending hours in the kitchen.

How do I prepare Marinated Salmon Sashimi?

Step 1: Prepare the marinade

In a pot, combine soy sauce, mirin, water, sugar, onion, scallions, garlic cloves, ginger, black peppercorns, and dried chili pepper. Heat over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the bonito flakes then turn off the heat. Allow the bonito flakes to steep for at least 10 minutes. Strain well, making sure to press out any excess liquid from the strained ingredients.

Set this aside to cool completely.

Step 2: Prepare the salmon

Slice the sashimi-grade salmon at an angle into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Cutting it angled will provide more surface area and allow the marinade to penetrate deeper.

Transfer the sliced salmon to a deep glass container or dish. Top with thinly sliced onions and chopped peppers.

Step 3: Combine the ingredients

Once the marinade has completely cooled, pour it over the salmon, making sure it is completely submerged. Top with lemon slices that cover with a lid or plastic wrap.

Step 4: Marinate the salmon

Place the salmon into the fridge for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. The longer it marinates, the more flavorful the salmon will be however, I find that 24 hours is perfect for me.

Step 5: Assemble

Remove the salmon from the fridge and it’s ready to serve! The salmon can be served on a plate or it can be served on top of a bowl of rice.

Step 6: Garnish & enjoy

If serving in a rice bowl, add your garnishes which is optional. I like mine with egg yolk, sesame seeds, and some microgreens! Enjoy 🙂

Marinated Salmon Sashimi Ingredients & Substitutions

Sashimi-grade salmon: Since this is a raw dish, it’s important to use high-quality sashimi-grade salmon for this recipe. I typically get it from H Mart or at my local Japanese market.

Onion: onions are used in two ways in this dish. The first way is used as a topping on the salmon.

Red chili pepper & Green chili pepper: the purpose of using two different colors is primarily for color. The peppers don’t add any significant heat or spiciness. Both chili peppers can be found at H Mart however you can also use jalapeno, serrano, or any type of pepper you like

Lemon: the acidity and zestiness of the lemon brighten up the dish. While no juice is added, the lemon slices themselves add a subtle lemony taste to the salmon.

Rice: as this is a ‘rice thief’ type of dish, having cooked rice prepared is crucial. I recommend making short-grain or medium grain-rice for this.

Marinade

Soy sauce: since this is a soy-based marinade you want to use a high-quality and tasty soy sauce. I recommend using a Korean brand of soy sauce like Sempio.

Mirin: the mirin adds a subtle sweetness to the marinade. It also helps to remove any unpleasant odors from the dish. Mirin can be substituted with sake or dry sherry.

Water: water is added to dilute the savoriness of the soy sauce. The ratio between water and soy sauce is perfect for me however, you can adjust this based on your preferences. For example, if you prefer a marinade that is less salty, you can add more water.

Sugar: sugar is essential in the marinade as it helps to balance out the saltiness in the dish.

Onion: this is the second way that onion is used in this dish. the onion helps to develop the flavors of the marinade.

Scallion: the scallion adds a subtle onion flavor to the marinade, which can also be substituted with more onion. If substituting, add 1/4 more onion.

Garlic: garlic is a staple in Korean cooking and this recipe is no exception. The garlic adds a beautiful aroma and flavor to the marinade – do not skip this!

Ginger: only a small amount of ginger is needed for this dish. It adds a touch of spiciness and a little goes a long way.

Whole black peppercorns: the black peppercorns help to deepen the marinade. It adds a subtle hint of floral notes.

Dried chili pepper: a little spice is always nice and this dried chili pepper also helps to deepen the flavors of the marinade. This can be substituted with Thai chili peppers, jalapeno, or serrano peppers.

Bonito flakes (katsuobushi): bonito flakes are added for a deeper umami flavor. This can be substituted with dried kelp or dried shiitake mushrooms however, the marinade will taste slightly different (but still delicious!).

Garnish

Garnishes are completely optional, but a great addition if you wanted to elevate the dish!

Egg yolks: the addition of egg yolks creates a creamy and luscious sauce that complements the rice and salmon together. Remember to always source the highest quality eggs when consuming them raw!

Black sesame seeds: the sesame seeds add texture and nuttiness to the dish. I prefer black sesame seeds because the nuttiness is more robust however, white sesame seeds are a great alternative. Just make sure they’re toasted as it’s more flavorful than raw untoasted sesame seeds.

Cooking Tips for Marinated Salmon Sashimi

  • It’s important to use fresh, high-quality sashimi-grade salmon for this recipe. Be sure to source the salmon from a reputable vendor. I typically get sashimi-grade salmon at H Mart or my local Japanese market.
  • The salmon should be cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces. If it’s too thin, it can get too salty and if it’s too thick, it can take longer for the marinade to soak into the salmon.
  • When prepping the salmon, slice it at a 45-degree angle to give it more surface area. This will allow the marinade to penetrate better.
  • The salmon should be marinated for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. However, 24 hours is the sweet spot for me. Just remember that the longer the salmon marinates, the saltier it will be.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can marinated salmon be eaten raw?

Yes, absolutely! So as long as the salmon is sashimi-grade and is properly prepared, it is considered safe to consume. The marinade will cure the salmon, which also helps to preserve it.

How long should you marinate sashimi?

The salmon should marinate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. It’s recommended to marinate for at least 6 hours so it allows the marinade to properly season and cure the salmon. I don’t recommend marinating for more than 2 days as it can get excessively salty.

Can you use frozen salmon?

While fresh salmon is preferred for the optimal taste and texture, frozen salmon can also be used as long as it’s labeled sashimi or sushi grade. Be sure to thaw the frozen salmon completely before slicing and marinating.

What if I don’t like raw fish? Can I cook the salmon?

This dish is meant to be served raw and cold, however, if you really wanted to, you can certainly cook the salmon! Keep in mind that the texture and overall flavors will be different however, it will still be flavorful and delicious. In a pan, add a splash of neutral oil and quickly sear them on each side to your desired doneness. Since these are 1/2-inch thick pieces, they’ll cook quickly so keep your eye on them!

Can you use other types of seafood?

Of course! This marinade would also work with other sashimi or sushi-grade seafood like tuna, scallops, abalone, shrimp, and even crab!

How do you store leftover marinated salmon sashimi?

Any leftover marinated salmon sashimi should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. After 2 days, the salmon should not be eaten raw. However, the salmon can be cooked in a pan to minimize waste.

Looking for more easy and delicious Korean-inspired recipes?

  • Korean Pork Bone Soup (Gamja Tang) – This is another ‘rice thief’ dish that’s hearty and comforting! It’s made with tender fall-off-the-bone meat, and an assortment of vegetables served in a spicy flavorful soup. Perfect with a bowl of rice!
  • Korean Boiled Pork Belly (Bossam) – Succulent pork belly is cooked low and slow, resulting in a flavorful, tender, melt-in-your-mouth bite!
  • Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae – This stew is packed with bold flavors – from the tangy kimchi to the juicy tender pork to the soft silky tofu. The spiciness from the gochugaru oil packs a punch, which is perfect for spicy food lovers!
  • Korean Seafood Pancake – This crispy and savory seafood pancake is PACKED with scallions and seafood. It’s soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside giving it a magical textural experience. Perfect as an appetizer or main dish!
  • Spicy Whelk Noodles (Golbaengi Muchim) – Here’s another recipe for seafood lovers! It’s a spicy, light, and refreshing cold noodle dish served with whelks. The whelks are briny, sweet, and a bit chewy so they go perfectly with the crisp and crunchy veggies and tender noodles!

Korean Marinated Salmon Sashimi

Servings 2 people
Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 oz sashimi grade salmon
  • 1/4 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 red chili pepper sliced
  • 1 green chili pepper sliced
  • 1/2 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked rice

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin or cooking wine
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 scallion chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 dried chili pepper optional
  • 1/2 cup unpacked bonito flakes also called katsuobushi

Garnish

  • egg yolks
  • sesame seeds

Instructions

  • For the marinade, combine soy sauce, mirin, water, sugar, onion, scallion, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, and dried chili pepper into a pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, toss in the bonito flakes and mix well. Turn off the heat then allow the marinade to steep for at least 10 minutes. Strain then set aside to cool completely.
  • While the marinade is cooling down, prep the salmon. Slice the salmon at an angle into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Transfer to a deep plate or glass container.
  • Top the salmon with thinly sliced onions, red chili pepper, and green chili pepper. Pour the cooled marinade over the salmon. Place the lemon slices in one layer on top, making sure that it is submerged in the marinade.
  • Transfer to the fridge and allow the salmon to marinate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. Keep in mind that the longer it sits in the marinade, the saltier the salmon will be.
  • To serve, place the rice into a serving bowl. Allow the rice to come to room temperature so the heat from the rice doesn't cook the salmon. Once the rice has cooled, arrange the marinated salmon on top. Garnish with an egg yolk and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. It’s important to use fresh, high-quality sashimi-grade salmon for this recipe. Be sure to source the salmon from a reputable vendor. I typically get sashimi-grade salmon at H Mart or my local Japanese market.
  2. The salmon should be cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces. If it’s too thin, it can get too salty and if it’s too thick, it can take longer for the marinade to soak into the salmon.
  3. When prepping the salmon, slice it at a 45-degree angle to give it more surface area. This will allow the marinade to penetrate better.
  4. The salmon should be marinated for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. However, 24 hours is the sweet spot for me. Just remember that the longer the salmon marinates, the saltier it will be.
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Korean

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