April 12, 2012

Japanify: Maguro Zukedon

by Yoko Kumano

Tekka don

My partner Washi recently got a job as a salaryman. This may not seem that odd until you consider the fact that he is living in Berkeley, California and to qualify as a salaryman, you are usually employed by a Japanese corporation. I will miss his face behind the bar at Ippuku. And I will always look back on his bike-to-work days with fond memories. Although he will still be working with Japanese alcoholic beverages, the change in work culture will certainly be drastic.

One of the changes includes his lunch. He used to eat at home, but will now eat at various Japanese restaurants peppered around the area. From hayashi rice to niku-miso udon, there seems to be a bottomless pit of lunch options in Japanese cooking. And after hearing that he’s been eating katsu-curry and kara-age ramen for lunch, I started to foresee a really oily future ahead. Kara-age and ramen in one bowl?! I doubt that that type of lunch draws from a diverse set of nutrients.

So I suggested he should choose some less oily options. For inspiration and reiteration that less oily doesn’t mean less delicious, I demonstrated a classic lunch option that won’t leave your digestive parts feeling like an oil slick…

Maguro Zuke-don!

Serves 2

1/2 lb sashimi grade maguro cubed
2 avocados cubed
4 leaves shiso (optional)

2 raw egg yolks
2.5 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
2 cloves of grated garlic


1. Combine ingredients for marinade in a small bowl. Mix well.

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I use the “Vegetarian Hens” Japanese eggs from my local Japanese market.

2. In a large bowl place cubed maguro and avocado.

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Slab of maguro

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3. Pour marinade over maguro and avocado.

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Mix well with hands

4. You can eat right away or let the magura and avocado marinate in the sauce for up to a day in the fridge. I left it for about 30 minutes and it already had a lot of flavor.

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Notice the ice cream cups in the background. I will eat ice cream on cones even at home until I die, no matter what my age.

5. Serve over a fresh steamed bowl of rice. Garnish with shiso (optional).

Tekka don

Proof that less oily doesn’t mean less awesome.

Congratulations on your new job, Washi! Choose wisely and eat well.


  • Kayoko
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Love seeing all this raw egg action! Awesome recipe!

  • Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm


  • yoko
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Raw eggs are my new favorite ingredient! So much flavor, so little preparation. Wen, you should make it! It’s so easy.

  • seri
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Oh man, that looks delicious! I’ll add the ingredients to our shopping list for next week. The shiso you use looks fresher/healthier than the ones we get at bb. Is yours from tfm? The ones I’m growing at home aren’t looking too hot.

  • seri
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    also, congrats to Washi on his new job!!!

  • yoko
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Yeah, I think I take back the “(optional)” for shiso. It’s actually quite important to have this element since it adds another dimension. I buy mine from Tokyo Fish Market. I’m sorry to hear about your shiso. They tend to be kind of fussy if they are not in the right spot.

  • zen
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Mixing the rice with sushi vinegar and putting some grated yamaimo will even enhance the flavor! I highly recommend this. Yoko, this looks gorgeous!! :-D

  • yoko
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Zen! I heard you are stuck in Japan. I hope you can get back soon. Thanks for checking out my post. Wowow! Yes, sushi rice would be ideal and adding yamaimo to the mix would be heavenly. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Zen
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Yup, I’m stuck in Japan. I am so stupid that I didn’t take care of my visa. But maybe it was meant to be like this-nantene… I have been moving around non stop. I wen to tohoku area two day ago. It was horrific to see the tsunami affected area. I will see you guys ver soon probably in next two weeks or so. Jaa matanee!

  • Anders
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 2:22 am

    I WILL make this ASAP. Oh, magura soo expensive…

    Yoko – do you have any extra shiso seeds lying around? Can’t find them here in Denmark and the ones you gave me that I have left are not working anymore (can that be true though – do seeds have an expiration date?)

  • Yoko
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Zen- excited to hear about your travels to Tohoku and eagerly await your return.

    Anders- I don’t have extra shiso seeds lying around but I know a lady who sells them here. We should visit her when you visit California. She has a company called Kitazawa Seed. How much does maguro cost in cph?

  • Posted April 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    this looks so good! is it easy to find sashimi grade magura? i’ve never had raw fish at home before.

  • yoko
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Saaara! Yeah, you can find sashimi grade maguro at a Japanese market. Also, if you have a good fish monger nearby, you can ask them if they have any or where you can go.

  • Anders
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    @Yoko: I’m not sure whether you can actually find grade A sashimi grade tuna in Copenhagen. Despite the fact we’re an island nation with lots of fish hanging out in the surrounding seas(!)
    But a normal piece of tuna like pictured above would set you back around $21-25. Is that normal price for normal tuna in the US too?

    Yes, lets visit that seed place. My balcony needs to be seeded real good.

  • yoko
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    For that piece, I paid $9 ($18/lb). It wasn’t the best kind of tuna that was available that day. It was the local wild option. But the stuff imported from Japan was almost double that ($35/lb). For zuke though, you don’t need to get the best stuff since you’ll be dicing and marinating anyway.

  • Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:00 am

    washi-san wasuretta. tsugokatta.

  • Jeremy
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:20 am

    When I am with him on sales, I will convince him to eat healthy food cos i am these days. :) He is a great salaryman.

  • yoko
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Hello Jeremy,
    Great to hear that you will be supervising his lunch choices! Thanks for reading.

  • Victoria
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve really been enjoying your blog. I’m American, but I’ve visited Japan many times. My parents lived in Tokyo for 6+ years back in the 90’s. I too live in Berkeley, though on the other side from Monterey Fish Market and the Tokyo Fish Market. I make do with the Berkeley Bowl. I’ve been meaning to try Ippuku for ages — thanks for the reminder.

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