Unagi Don (freshwater eel)


Sushi fans will recognize this as one of the more popular ingredients on a sushi menu. Unagi, or freshwater eel, is a mild, fatty fish commonly sold in the States boneless, fully cooked (usually charcoal grilled) and frozen. When prepared for sushi the unagi is briefly grilled or broiled to crisp the skin up and served on top of sushi rice or in special hand rolls. Another popular way (my favorite way) to serve it is on top of a bowl of seasoned sushi rice, called “unagi don”

Because the eel is sold fully cooked, preparing an unagi feast is simple. For each diner prepare about a cup or two of sushi rice that has been seasoned with sugar, salt and rice wine vinegar. An easy recipe for sushi rice can be found on this link at About.com. Top each bowl of rice with filets of unagi that have been broiled just long enough to crisp the skin lightly. The traditional sauce served with eel is a sweet sauce called kabayaki. If your store carries the frozen eel, they will also sell kabayaki sauce. The sauce can also be easily made from scratch with the recipe below and is also an outstanding glaze for grilled or broiled salmon. Glaze the tops of the eel filets with the sauce and garnish with sesame seeds or chopped green onions. A side salad of sliced cucumbers marinated in sugar and rice wine is a perfect companion for the rich eel.

Kabayaki Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/4 cup sugar

Pour all ingredients in a pan and then stir to combine. Place the pan on low heat and simmer over medium low heat until the mixture slightly thickens, about 5 minutes..

Remove from the heat and cool the mixture. Store the sauce in the refrigerator or let cool to room temperature before serving.

    • marcus
    • July 6th, 2012

    where in vegas did you find the unagi?

    • I buy my unagi at the Greenland Market in the Koreatown Plaza on Spring Mountain at Rainbow. It is in the frozen fish aisle. The brand they carry is very good. It’s precooked and all you need to do is broil it to prepare it.

  1. Beautiful Japanese dish…my favourite!

    • Terri
    • May 5th, 2010

    Mmmmm! Looks familiar! 🙂

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