Salmon Don (Marinated Raw Salmon on Rice) Recipe

by katerina on June 1, 2011

Many years ago, when I lived in Victoria we used to frequent this Japanese retaurant called Zen sushi (or Sen Zushi). The soup had fish heads in it, the slabs of fish were so long they appeared to swim right off the nigiri, and they had this salmon donburi. The salmon don was unlike anything I had seen before or have found since. It’s been 7 years and I still think about it.

Donburi or don translates to rice bowl, and usually a salmon don means pieces of fish on rice. Instead, in their version the raw salmon had been tossed with a salty and fresh dressing which I have been wanting to replicate every since.

Unfortunately, the restaurant no longer exists so I can’t send you there, but instead why not be adventurous and try making this at home? If you are have trouble finding sashimi grade fish try your local japanese market, you should be able to find it frozen. RIP Sen Zushi.

Print Recipe

Salmon Don

(4 servings)

1/4 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions + more for garnish
1 teaspoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
200grams sashimi grade sockeye salmon
3 cups cookedsushi rice (with seasoning)

Prepare and defrost the salmon as you would for sushi. (What I do is to defrost the sashimi-grade fish the morning of the night I plan to use it. ) Make, cool and season the sushi rice. (Jaden did a great job of this over at Steamy Kitchen so I won't repeat myself.)

Slice the green onions as thinly as humanly possible, if your knife isn't sharp you are going to macerate the raw fish so I advise sharpening your knife. Toss one tablespoon of the green onions with the ginger, mirin and rice wine vinegar. You can do this ahead of time.

Now, right before you are ready to eat prepare the salmon. (Directly before I am about to use the salmon I remove it from it's wrapper, give it a quick rinse and pat it dry with paper towels. I also trim off any bits of the fish that have obvious sinew or bloodline in them.) Slice it into very thin bite sized pieces. Toss in a small bowl with just enough sauce to well coat the fish.

Prepare each bowl by filling it with sushi rice. Divide the salmon equally among the bowls. With your remaining green onions, also toss them in the sauce and top each bowl with a tablespoon of dressed green onions. Serve immediately.

Calories(approximate per serving): 300

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel June 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

If you’re still craving sashimi don in Victoria, Daidoco makes fantastic ones and for under $10.


katerina June 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

Rachel – good to know! What makes their Don particularly good?


Belinda @zomppa June 1, 2011 at 10:28 am

I love this! So perfect on hot days, especially.


katerina June 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

Belinda – totally, as long as you keep the fish on ice.


L June 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm

So how did this compare to Sen’s version?


katerina June 3, 2011 at 8:39 am

L – it was about 95% of the way there. the sauce wasn’t thick enough but the flavours were bang on.


Marquita June 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

Is this the same marinade that is used over a longer period of time to make restaurant-style sushi?


katerina June 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

Marquita – I am not sure? Are you talking about a specific kind of maki or maybe nigiri? Most nigiri just has a bit of wasabi between the raw fish and the rice. This is similar to a sauce sometimes added to saba nigiri?


Sasha (Global Table Adventure) June 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Mmm looks so pretty. And mirin makes everything taste wonderful. Nice recipe.


katerina June 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

Sasha – yes I love mirin too. I don’t use it nearly enough.


Lev November 6, 2011 at 1:51 am

Great recipe for a great diner! Love it!
Thx a lot!


Emi Reiner April 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

I love simple rice dishes such as this. Thanks for posting it.


katerina April 6, 2012 at 9:50 am

Glad to hear it Lev & Emi


Kazikozo September 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

This is how ancient Japanese ate. Just 1 bowl of rice and the okazu (entree). Here in Hawaii, we’ve gone past that and eat 2-3 bowls each per meal. My mom is from Japan and she till this day eats in the old style.


katerina September 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Thats awesome to hear Kazikozo! I love it when I am more authentic then I think I am ;)


Noddy September 29, 2013 at 12:34 am

Wow I was thinking of this very recipe made by Kokichi Ijichi himself when I was googling salmon don marinade. A secret family recipe.
When I worked there I had this at the end of every shift. Loved it.

Although I am certain there was soy sauce in the marinade?


katerina September 29, 2013 at 2:00 am

I just replicated based on taste, so if you have a better version I am thrilled to hear more!


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