Koshotai 胡椒鯛

Koshōtai 胡椒鯛 (Crescent Sweetlips, Plectorhinchus cinctus) is just one of over two hundred fish names that include the word “tai”, which all refer to types of sea bream. From the dorsal fin area to the tail of the fish there are black specks that look like pepper, which is koshō in Japanese.

Koshōtai is available from spring, but reaches its peak in early summer.

As sashimi, it is lovely white flesh that has a delicately sweet taste with a hint of shellfish and a firm bite. Somewhat similar in taste to madai 真鯛 (red sea bream, Pagros major).

Koshōtai is delicious prepared as shio-yaki (grilled with salt) or as nitsuke (simmered in soy sauce, sake, mirin and ginger). Due to its firm white flesh it also makes a very delicious ushiojiru 潮汁, a light fish broth, as well as nikogori 煮こごり, jellied fish, which is made using all of the fish, with the skin and bones forming a natural gelatin.