Japanese Fish Species 18: Scabbard Fish-Tachiuo-太刀魚

Scabbard Fish or “Tachiuo” is a summer fish very popular in Japan in spite of its great length.
Tachiuo in Japanese, 太刀魚, means “Great Sword Fish”, not the scabbard!
The Suruga Bay being warmer than the rest of Japan, we have scabbard fish in the dead of winter.
Like other fish it owns other names: Tachi (not in Hokkaido, where the word means ” Cod sperm sacs”!), Shirada and Tachinouo.
It is mainly caught off Wakayama, Ehime and Oita Prefectures.
In Shizuoka it is both caught by line or net.
In 1999, 37,000 tonnes were caught in the whole of Japan, but it fell to 23,000 tonnes in 2000.
It is also imported from Korea and China, although the fish is slightly different from the Japanese variety. More than half of imported fish are eaten west of Kansai.

Scabbard Fish Sashimi Plate

Tachiuo is both popular raw and cooked.
Raw, it is usually served with ponzu instead of soy suce and topped with momijioroshi/grated daikon mixed with chili pepper.

Raw, it is of course popular as sushi nigiri,

cut into fine strips and served as gunkan.

As sashimi I personally prefer it “aburi” (slightly grilled/seared) with a dash of ponzu and some momijioroshi (grated daikon with chili pepper), or with some finely cut vegetables.

The same applies for sushi nigiri as I like my scabbard fish a little grilled first.

Making incisions into the fish before grilling it will make for another prsentation!

It does not have to be complicated to be yummy!

In the Kansai/western Japan region it is very popular in oshizushi/pressed sushi thanks to its flat and long shape.

How about a combination of both raw and aburi style sushi nigiri?

How about an Italian-style sushi nigiri?

As for the cooked scabbard fish, grilling is the most commoon way here in Japan where it is served as simple and healthy food at many meals.

Sauteed with colourful vegetables (okra) it makes for great presentation in spite of the simplicity of the dish!

Deep-frying is also very popular especially with its bones when it is very fresh. Such deep-fried bones make for one vital source of calcium for the Japanese.

Fried scabbard fish salad.

Cooked, it is a very versatile fish and easy to prepare!

Grilled with lemon!

Cooked with chili peppers and miso paste, it makes for an intriguing sweet and hot combination!


Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

2 thoughts on “Japanese Fish Species 18: Scabbard Fish-Tachiuo-太刀魚”

  1. Another great post, thank you.

    Do you take all of your own pictures and prepare the foods?

    I’ve seen Okra at the shops but have no idea what it tastes like, how would you describe it?


    1. I take most of them (some are pretty old!) and borrow the rest from friends!
      I usually don’t prepare the fish on the photos but eat them in restaurants!
      Okra, actually originating from Africa, are found in Asain markets.
      Their taste is soft, reminiscent of cucumber when raw and artichoke when cooked.
      Bear in mind that raw, they are sticky, which some people don’t like.
      If raw, they are best appreciated in very thin slices seasoned with pnzu or vinaigrette. The Missus also serves them mixed with seaweed and sprouts with a rice vinegar based vinaigrette.
      She cooks them by first steaming them and later marinating them in ponzu and rice vinegar based stocksoup!


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