Horse Mackerel Tartare

Horse Mackerel Tartare

For people who want to try dresssing a fish on their own. Why not challenge yourself and make this dish with chopped horse mackerel?


Horse mackerel (aji)
Green onion or scallion
about 10 cm
a small amount
Shiso leaves
2-3 leaves


1. Choose fish that have shiny skin and clear eyes, with firm bellies and a bouncy texture.
2. Scrape a kitchen knife across the skin from tail to head to remove the scales.
3. Horse mackerel has a hard spiny part as shown in the photo.
4. Cut this off spiny part from the tail end using sawing motion. It's pretty stiff so it's surprisingy easy to remove.
5. Remove the gills by putting the tip of your knife against it, pressing down on the cutting board and pulling it off.
6. Take the guts out. If you are using the fish whole, place the head of the fish on the right side and take the guts out from the side facing up. Fish served whole with their heads on are always arranged with the head facing to the left, so if you take the guts out from the side that will be facing down, it will look nicer, right?
7. There is blood around the area where the knife is pointing too (along the backbone). When you are washing out the fish, it's important to rinse this part out properly!
8. For sashimi or tataki or other recipes where you don't need the head, you can simply take the guts out with the head at the same time.
9. Here I took care of one fish using the Step 6 method, and one with the Step 8 method.
10. Let's fillet the fish. Start by inserting the knife on the back edge of the fish, and cut all the way to the bone!
11. Cut from the belly side to the bone in the same way.
12. The blade is facing up in the photo. After performing Steps 10 and 11, cut through the fish from tail end as shown here.
13. The fish is filleted.
14. Wash your cutting board frequently, especially from this point on. If you are making sashimi, if your cutting board is left unwashed the fish will smell fishy!
15. Slice off the bones on the back edge.
16. Take out any small bones with fish bone tweezers.
17. Feel along the fish with your fingers to detect the bones, and take them out completely!
18. Peel off the skin. You can take it off easily with your hands.
19. Holding the body with your index and middle fingers, peel the skin off from the head end aiming towards the tail end.
20. Oops, some of the flesh is stuck to the skin. These things happen!
21. The fish is now skinned. Work quickly so that the fish doesn't become lukewarm and soft!
22. Since tataki is chopped, there's no need to keep the fillets intact. You can just cut all the bones instead of tweezing them out if you like.
23. Make sashimi with the de-boned fillets from Step 16.
24. If you use the easier Step 22 method, chop the fish up roughly to make tataki.
25. Finely chop the green onion, ginger and shiso leaves.
26. Mix the Step 24 and 25 ingredients together, and chop them lightly.
27. This is horse mackerel sashimi. Enjoy with ginger soy sauce.
28. This is chopped horse mackerel tartare (aji no tataki). Garnish with some very finely shredded ginger to taste.

Story Behind this Recipe

I thought that if you could dress and serve a whole fish using everyday ingredients, everyone would give it a try.