“This is a recipe for which you need to gather the ingredients and prepare the koji in advance (Keita says you need to work two weeks ahead but Japanese stores sell it ready-made). However, it’s worth it for the beautiful simple flavours that work so well with fresh fish. Moromi is a mildly salty, chunky miso paste that has grains of rice and barley through it. Many people love it as a condiment on rice or bread and it’s great as a dip with raw cucumber. Pick up some thin skewers for fish at your Japanese emporium. Threading them gently through the fish holds the fish in place as it cooks and enables it to be turned over easily – it looks like something out of Wolverine, with spikes through the delicate fish. The result is exceptional though – just pure fresh fish and the flame.” Maeve O’Meara, Food Safari Fire






Skill level

Average: 4.9 (8 votes)


  • 4 john dory fillets, approximately 480 g (1 lb 1 oz)


Salt koji

  • 200 g (7 oz) dried rice koji
  • 80 g (2¾ oz) good quality sea salt
  • 400 ml (13½ fl oz) water


Smoky green chilli moromi

  • 1 long green chilli
  • 2 tbsp moromi miso

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need to begin this recipe 2 weeks ahead.

Marinating time 6 hours

Combine the salt koji ingredients in a bowl and mix until the salt dissolves.

Place in an airtight container and store at room temperature – 18–24°C (64–75°F) – for 2 weeks, stirring at least once a day.

Combine the fish and the salt koji (10% of the weight of the fish). Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours.

To make the smoky green chilli moromi, roast the chilli over charcoal for 30 seconds (or in a hot frying pan) to bring the aroma out. Remove the seeds and slice thinly. Stir in the moromi and set aside.

Remove the fish from the marinade and wipe with paper towel to remove any excess.

Pierce the fish skin with a skewer to remove any air pockets.

Thread 5 metal skewers through each fillet and bring the skewers all together on one side to make it easy to pick up (and turn).

To start, cook skin-side down over a hot charcoal grill for about 5 minutes until the skin is golden. Turn and cook for another 5 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Make sure you turn the skewers gently a couple of times to prevent them from sticking to the fish.

Remove from the heat onto a serving plate and gently twist to remove the skewers, taking care not to break the flesh. Serve with the smoky green chilli moromi.



• This makes more salt koji than you need for this recipe but it can be stored for 2–3 weeks in the refrigerator.


Recipe from Food Safari Fire by Maeve O'Meara (Hardie Grant, hbk, $55).  Photography by Kaily Koutsogiannis.


Food Safari Fire starts Thursday 7 January 2016 at 8pm on SBS. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.