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unagi


torakris
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I love unagi, especially kabayaki style, basically the only way they prepare it in Japan.

Most people buy it already cooked (grilled and sauced), this is great stuff but of course it never tastes as good as when you eat it fresh.

I saw on a japanese TV show a while ago the best way to prepare the pre-cooked product.

Take a long piece of foil and grease it with a little flavorless oil) then place the unagi on the foil and sprinkled with a little sake, wrap the foil tighltly and place it in a frypan, cover it and turn the heat to medium and "steam" for a couple minutes until completely warmed.

Much, much better then the microwave or boiling methods.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I've had it without the brown sauce, with a clear sauce.

But forgot what it was called.

You mean shiro-yaki (white grilled)

Here is a picture of both:

http://www.unagi-kawakami.co.jp/

The shiro-yaki version is good with wasbijoyu (wasabi and soy sauce), or soy and giner, or even ponzu.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I like pairing unagi with mussels for a nice balance of fat/sweetness with mineral-profiles.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I've had good luck heating up pre-cooked kabayaki by putting the whole thing (either thawed or frozen -- right out of the freezer) on a foil-covered baking sheet and putting it under the broiler until the top gets slightly crispy-looking. I've tried putting it in a 350 deg. oven the same way, but prefer the broiler method (much better texture).

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Actually, once I tried to make kabayaki on my own with humorous results. I was visiting Japan a couple of years ago after having moved back to San Francisco, and picked up a great cookbook called Washoku no Kihon Gijutsu with all kinds of illustrations of how to prepare seafood. I flipped through and was inspired by the unagi section -- could I make fresh kabayaki in SF, and abandon the cryopacked frozen stuff? A quick trip to Kappabashi made me the proud owner of a meuchi (metal stake for basically nailing the eel to your cutting board) and long metal kushi rods for grilling.

Back in SF, I got my hands on a fresh eel from Chinatown and set about skinning and filleting it (stubborn to skin, not bad cleaning/filleting). Made the sauce for it, and then discovered the reason that most people don't make kabayaki at home: THE SMOKE! As I should have realized, unagi is a really oily fish (okay, eel), and grilling it in the kitchen resulted in smoke filling the entire house and setting off *all* of my smoke alarms. After pausing cooking to deactivate all of the alarms and calm my alarmed Japanese cat, I finished cooking the kabayaki and tried it -- really, not bad! But I'll never do it inside again!

I checked out The Barbeque Bible, and it suggests wrapping two bricks in foil and placing them on an outside charcoal grill -- thus imitating the yaki-dai that suspend the skewers over the coals without letting the food touch any grates. Maybe it's time to try that out! :smile:

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Wow what a brave, brave person you are!

making your own kabayaki? the eels are too much like snakes to me that the thought of killing and gutting it terrifies me. I am lucky though that since i live in Japan I can get great kabayaki anywhere, I guess when you are desperate......................

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Ah, I should clarify -- I didn't have to kill it, the fishmonger took care of that for me. I just skinned, cleaned & filleted it. I looked at it as part of a larger cooking project I have: every week, buy an ingredient I've never worked with before, and make it tasty. A challenge every week!

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I had Terrine of Foie Gras and Unagi served with Grapes pickled in Verjus a Roasted Chanterelle and Eggplant Salad and Jurancon Sauce as a first course to a lovely dinner several months ago. Possibly one of the best versions of Unagi I've ever tasted :wub:

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  • 2 months later...

meibutsu can probably be translated as famous local foods, every area of Japan has a couple dishes that they are famous for.

hitsumabushi is one of the dishes Nagoya is famous for, it is an eel and rice dish but it has a very strict way of eating it.

Here are some pictures:

http://www.maruuo.co.jp/hitsumabushi.htm

(you need to scroll down just a bit)

first you are served a large bowl of rice topped with slices of eel on a tray with various condiments, hot tea, pickles and usually a soup and then in the corner of the tray is an empty bowl with a rice paddle in it.

There are 3 steps to eating the eel:

1. You place 1/3 of the rice and eel into the empty bowl and eat it.

2. You place another 1/3 of the eel and rice into the bowl and then you top it with the condiments (this can vary but something like scallions, shiso, nori, etc) and then you eat it.

3. You place the final 1/3 of the rice and eel in the bowl add a little wasabi and then pour the hot tea over it and eat it as ochazuke.

Now you are done! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

This year the doyo no ushi no hi (the day of the ox) falls on the 27th of July, this is the day that is condsidered to be the hottest day of the summer and is traditionally celebrated by eating eel which is full of nutrients to help fight the heat of summer.

some more info from about.com:

Unagi is a delicacy in Japan. A traditional eel dish is called kabayaki (grilled eel), and is usually served over a bed of rice. People often sprinkle sansho (a powdered aromatic Japanese pepper) over it. Although eel is rather costly, it has been very popular and people enjoy eating it very much.

In the traditional lunar calendar, the 18 days before the beginning of each season is called "doyo". The first day of doyo in midsummer and midwinter is called "ushi no hi." It is the day of the ox, as in the 12 signs of the Japanese zodiac. In the old days, the zodiac cycle was also used to tell time and directions. It is customary to eat eel on the day of the ox in summer (doyo no ushi no hi, sometime in late July). This is because eel is nutritious and rich in vitamin A, and provides strength and vitality to fight against the extremely hot and humid summer of Japan.

So get to your nearest Asian grocery and pick up some eel today! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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my kids are watching a children's tv show right now and they are showing some summer dishes for kids to make and they are rolling up unagi in rice paper rolls.....

.......with tomatoes and edamame.......

....hhhmmmm.............

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 10 months later...

I bought some burdock a couple of days ago, figuring to braise it with carrots. Then I remembered, I have eel in my freezer -- a package I bought from a Korean supermarket, microwave & serve. There's this dish I used to love at a local Japanese restaurant that involved burdock, eel, a delicate broth and scrambled egg. Does anyone know what this is and have an approximate recipe?

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I can't tell exactly from the pictures. I googled the ingredients, and I think what I had was called "yanagawa-nabe". Is that what this is? If so, would you be so kind as to translate a rough idea of the recipe? It seems fairly easy and I can guess ingredient quantities (and clearly the egg goes in at the last minute) but I need to know how the other stuff works. Is the broth something like dashi? Or just water that has absorbed all the flavors?

Edited to add, it looks like this:

GyunikuYanagawaNabe.jpg

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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What about the recipe:

(I wonder if you can get mitsuba and sansyo.)

Ingredients:

120 g grilled eel

2 tbsp sake (1 tbsp = 15 cc)

2 pcs burdock

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 pack mitsuba (kind of green leaves)

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 eggs

Sansyo

2 cups dashi soup (1 cup = 200 cc)

2 tbsp mirin

How to make:

1. Cut eel to 1.5-cm widths.

2. Whittle burdock, soak in water, boil quickly, and drain.

3. Cut mitsuba to 2- to 3-cm lengths.

4. Break eggs and beat gently 2 or 3 times.

5. Pour dashi soup in the pot, add mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce. Add burdock and simmer until tender.

6. Pour eggs.

7. Sprinkle mitsuba.

5. When the eggs are half done, turn off the heat, put the lid on. Finish with afterheat.

6. Sprinkle sansyo.

***

Based on this website:

http://www.shokuiku.co.jp/reshipi/reshipi2/res0031.html

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Yeah, I can't get either sansyo or mituba here. Might try to think about what I might use instead. I know there are versions of this dish without those two ingredients, and with shitake mushrooms, so maybe I will try to adapt it a little. The recipe really helps, thanks so much!

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Yanagawa nabe is wonderful! :biggrin:

Just a quick note on Hiroyuki's recipe, he forgot to say when to add the eel.

You want to simmer the gobo until tender, then lay the pieces of eel in the pan and simmer for just a minute then add the eggs.

This really a simply dish.

Depending on where you live mitsuba could be hard to come buy, but if your pack of frozen eel comes from Japan there may be a pack inside of tare (sauce) and sansho included. Sansho should also be in most Japanese/Asian stores.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I too prefer the kabayaki style but when you need to feed a family of 5 on a tight budget, dishes like yanagawa nabe and unagi-gohan are life savers when you have a craving for eel! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Mmmmmmm......kabayaki.......

I also love Unagi Pies, the palmier-like cookies from Hamamatsu. Eel powder and garlic are listed as ingredients, although you can't taste any of it; it's just a bizarre gimmick to sell the unagi-shaped cookies as a Hamamatsu souvenir (the region being a major eel-farming centre).

I used to inhale Unagi Pies when I lived near Hamamatsu as a kid. Unfortuantely, they're a local specialty so they're not widely available elsewhere in Japan, and they're not exported. :sad: However, I am currently the happy owner of a box of these cookies, thanks to my parents who just returned from a Japan trip. :smile:

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  • 4 weeks later...

In another thread, origamicrane wrote:

hi there

while we at it is there a link on how to fillet eel unagi?

as i got one in the fridge and plann to use it in a bbq but don't want the kids to have trouble with the bones.

thnaks

***

Links first, some comments later (when I have more time):

http://www.geocities.co.jp/WallStreet/2654...pa/shokunin.htm

http://www.ikiuo.net/cook/unagi/#t

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thanks for that.

i can't read japanese but from the pictures i can tell you

1. pin it to a board.

2. slice down the bottom and gut it

3. make a cut to the neck

4. use a pair of pliers or knife to severe the spine and pull it out?

5. trim the fins off

is this correct? :)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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