Hamachi Crudo

This simple Hamachi Crudo appetizer dresses buttery yellowtail in a bright soy and yuzu dressing before it’s finished with serrano peppers and lemon zest. Similar to sashimi, this Japanese delicacy is sure to impress at dinner parties.

Vibrant and rich flavors are put right on display in this Hamachi Crudo recipe. It’s a simple Japanese appetizer made from raw yellowtail fish, soy sauce, yuzu juice, and an array of colorful and spicy garnishes. Every bite is delicate, yet bursting with lively flavors!

Just like Poke Bowls, raw hamachi (A.K.A. Japanese yellowfish or amberjack) is put right on display in this colorful appetizer. The seasonings and garnishes really make every bite special, so feel free to get creative with your own additions! Sprinkle spicy peppers, fresh microgreens, or sliced watermelon radishes on top to really bring this Japanese recipe up a notch. 

Still skeptical of eating raw fish? Don’t be! All sushi and sashimi-grade fish is frozen before it’s sold to kill any bacteria.

What is hamachi crudo?

Hamachi crudo is a delicate Japanese appetizer made from raw yellowtail or amberjack fish. Similar to sashimi, the fish is sliced thin and dressed in citrus juice and soy sauce. For an elegant presentation and a little more flavor, the plate is garnished with colorful, thinly sliced vegetables, spicy peppers, flaky salt, and sesame seeds or seasonings.

Crudo vs. sashimi

Japanese sashimi and crudo (meaning “raw”) are very similar. Both are appetizers served with thinly sliced raw sushi-grade fish that’s been drizzled with soy sauce or ponzu sauce and sometimes wasabi. You can serve both sashimi and crudo recipes with yellowtail, amberjack, tuna, bass, or salmon.

The main difference between the two is usually found in the presentation. According to the Dana Point Fishing Company, sashimi recipes make the fish the star of the show whereas crudo puts more of an effort into the presentation and garnishes.

Hamachi crudo arranged on grey plate topped with lemon slices and serrano peppers.

What do you need to make hamachi crudo?

  • HamachiHamachi is Japanese for amberjack or yellowtail fish. The fish is kept raw and sliced thinly, just like sashimi. Ask your fishmonger for sashimi or sushi-grade fish when out shopping.
  • Yuzu juice – This Japanese citrus juice is slightly less tart than lemon or lime juice with notes of orange and tangerine. You should be able to find it in grocery stores near the soy sauce, in Asian markets, or you can buy it online. 
  • Soy sauce – If you can, use white soy sauce (shiro) instead of regular soy sauce. It’s much milder in flavor and won’t overwhelm this delicate raw fish appetizer.
  • Lemon zest – Used to dress the fish. Feel free to replace this with any kind of citrus zest instead.
  • Serrano pepper – If a serrano is too spicy for you, use jalapeno or omit the pepper entirely.
  • Garnish – The plate will need some color, which is where the garnish comes in! I used sesame seeds, raw red onion, and cilantro. Green onion, microgreens, radishes, or cucumber would also be delicious and fresh.

How to make hamachi crudo

Place the yellowtail in the freezer while you arrange the rest of the plate. This will make the fish easier to slice.

Thinly slice the yellowtail and arrange it on your serving plate.

Drizzle the fish with yuzu juice and soy sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of lemon zest, serrano peppers, and sea salt. Garnish the plate with sesame seeds, red onions, and cilantro if you like, then serve and enjoy!

Tips and substitutions

  • Can’t find yuzu juice? Replace it with Meyer lemon juice or a bit of lime juice and orange juice combined.
  • Slice the serranos and red onion into evenly sliced pieces for easy eating and a nice presentation.
  • Dress the hamachi in a homemade ponzu sauce instead if you want.
  • To make the appetizer a bit more substantial, add a smear of avocado or pea puree to the plate before adding the fish.
Arranged Hamachi crudo on grey speckled plate.

Serving suggestions:

Yellowtail sashimi is best served as an appetizer before the meal and is perfect for getting your dinner guests excited for what’s to come. Follow it up with a vibrant menu:

Wine pairings for hamachi:

  • Yellowtail is best served with sweet and citrusy white wines, like a dry Chenin Blanc.
  • For tradition’s sake, swap the wine for Sake instead!

If you loved this hamachi recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

More seafood recipes:

More appetizers to try:

Read all about what hamachi is here.

Hamachi crudo arranged on grey plate topped with lemon slices and serrano peppers.

Hamachi Crudo

This simple Hamachi Crudo appetizer dresses buttery yellowtail in a bright soy and yuzu dressing before it’s finished with serrano peppers and lemon zest. Similar to sashimi, this Japanese delicacy is sure to impress at dinner parties.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 4 ounces sushi-grade yellowtail
  • 2 Tablespoons yuzu juice (or lemon juice)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ½ serrano pepper (thinly sliced (optional))
  • Flaky sea salt

To garnish:


  • Place yellowtail in freezer for 15-30 minutes. This makes it easier to slice thinly.
  • Thinly slice and arrange on a plate.
  • Drizzle with yuzu juice and soy sauce, then sprinkle with lemon zest, serrano and sea salt. Garnish, if desired, with sesame seeds, red onion and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!




Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

10 thoughts on “Hamachi Crudo”

  1. 5 stars
    This is FANTASTIC! I can’t rave about it enough. Every time I make it I marvel at how flavorful and gorgeous it is. Thank you so much!

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this recipe and it was amazing. I can’t believe such few ingredients can produce this explosion of flavors. Highly recommend finding white soy sauce as the author mentions. It’s relatively expensive (~$20) and can be tricky to find, but this made all the difference in my opinion.

  3. Hi Erin,
    I am planning on making this as an appetizer during a beach weekend. To avoid having to bring or procure the marinade ingredients, could I mix the yuzu/soy a day or two before without messing with the flavor?

  4. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe! I didn’t have yuzu juice so I used yuzu paste and just mixed it in with the tamari (subbed for soy sauce) before pouring on top and it worked great. I also didn’t have a Serrano so I sprinkled some hot chili oil on top instead. Definitely going to bookmark and make it again and again.

    • Hi Toni – I was able to find it at Whole Foods in the freezer section. I would check out the freezer section of a quality local market 🙂
      Or, you can order it online! This is the brand I used: Shop Here.


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